The Tigers enter Tuesday with a record of 0-8. The Tigers, under first year head coach Tony Harvey, have dropped games to UTEP (69-63), Cincinnati (82-51), Northern Iowa (74-67), Marquette (85-68), Mercer (71-68), Bethune Cookman (68-61), Arkansas (80-61) and most recently Washington (88-52).
Texas will take the court coming off of their worst performance of the season in an 81-73 win over Texas State. The Longhorns (8-1) will, without a doubt, bring much more intensity to the game coming off of a disappointing performance over the weekend that was sure to get the full attention of head coach Rick Barnes.
The Longhorns have been riding the terrific performances by A.J. Abrams in the last three games. In the wins over UCLA, Villanova and Texas State, the senior sharpshooter has averaged 29 points knocking down 14 of 25 three-pointers and 25 of 30 free throws.
More impressive than the numbers themselves is the way Abrams has gone about scoring. Abrams hasn't been forcing shots, instead scoring the ball in the flow of the offense and even making the extra pass at times, which makes the senior even tougher to defend. In late game situations, Abrams has been sent to the foul line time and time again and has converted ensuring wins for Texas.
The offensive output combined with his play on the defensive end has combined to make this the best stretch of basketball in his four years at Texas.
Tuesday's tip is set for 7pm central time and will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest in the state of Texas except for Houston and Dallas (NBA).
A Look at the Coaches
Rick Barnes, who is in his eleventh season at Texas, coaches the Longhorns. Barnes has a career record of 457-228, including 255-94 at Texas. Barnes is 16-10 in NCAA Tournament games at Texas.
Tony Harvey is in his first year as a head coach on the collegiate level. The Tigers are winless at 0-8.
A Look at the Numbers
Texas shoots 44.5% from the field, 37.6% from three and 60.6% from the free-throw line.
The Tigers convert 44.4% overall, 32.0% from the three-point line and 51.4% from the foul line.
The Longhorns surrender just 36.0% shooting and own a +5.2 rebound advantage.
The Tigers give up 46.3% defensively and check in with a -6.5 rebounding margin.
The Longhorns are committing 13.7 turnovers per game, while Texas Southern is turning the ball over 18.3 times per contest.
The Longhorn Starters
G Justin Mason 6-2 Jr. (7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists)
G A.J. Abrams 5-10 Sr. (20.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists)
F Damion James 6-7 Jr. (14.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists)
F Connor Atchley 6-11 Sr. (6.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks)
C Dexter Pittman 6-10 Jr. (7.4 points, 3.9 rebounds)
Key reserves include 6-7 sophomore Gary Johnson (9.2 points, 6.9 rebounds), 6-1 freshman Varez Ward (2.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists) and 6-10 sophomore Clint Chapman (1.9 points, 2.4 rebounds) and 6-0 sophomore Dogus Balbay.
The Tiger Starters
G Matthew Miller 6-3 Sr. (11.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists)
G DeAndre Hall 6-6 Jr. (14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists)
F Jacques Jones 6-7 Sr. (8.0 points, 3.4 rebounds)
F Ricky Broyles 6-7 Jr. (6.3 points and 6.5 rebounds)
F Michael Drewy 6-8 Sr. (7.3 points and 5.1 rebounds)
Key reserves are 6-2 senior Sollie Norwood (8.5 points, 1.9 rebounds) and 6-8 freshman Deante Jones (3.5 points, 5.5 rebounds).
Keys to the Game
Throw out offense, defense, rebounding and free throw shooting. Tuesday night will be all about bringing intensity, sense of urgency and hustle to the court coming off of Saturday's flat performance.
The Tigers are a bad team. There is no way around it. The matchups don't matter and the question of if Texas should be able to rebound the ball shouldn't have to be made.
Texas has to return to the ball pressure defense and rotation they have had all season. Saturday, the rotation was non-existent or very limited and late. Texas Southern will turn the ball over and more than any prior opponent if the ball pressure and rotations are crisp.
For Texas Southern, the only shooter they have is Sollie Norwood. The senior has the ability to catch and shoot from anywhere on the court. Texas simply can't rotate off of him.
The Tigers are totally dependent on backcourt scoring from Norwood, Matthew Miller and DeAndre Jones. The trio scores 34.5 points per game and wing Jacques Jones scores eight.
This is another game in which Dexter Pittman will have a complete mismatch if the Tigers play man to man. That means taking care of the ball and giving Pittman and others on the blocks as many chances as possible as the points and rebounds will follow.