Texas-Texas Tech Preview

Less than six weeks ago, Texas was named the nation’s No. 1 team

for the first time in school history. The fall from the top spot

has been fast and unexpected for the 15th-ranked Longhorns.

Texas looks to get back on track Saturday in Lubbock, where it

will meet Texas Tech for the second time in less than a month.

The Longhorns (20-6, 6-5 Big 12) had their best start in 77

years at 17-0 and were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school

history Jan. 11. Texas, though, has since lost six of nine and

dropped into a sixth-place tie in the conference following

Wednesday’s 82-77 loss at Missouri.

“It’s tough,” senior forward Damion James said. “We shouldn’t

be in this position. But we’re not going to hold our heads down.

We’re going to fight.”

Yet with five games left before the Big 12 tournament, James and

the Longhorns don’t have much time to regroup.

One of the three wins, though, was a 95-83 home victory Jan. 27

against the Red Raiders (16-9, 4-7). James had a season-best 28

points with 13 rebounds in that contest, setting the Big 12 record

with his 48th double-double.

James, who is averaging a team-high 17.8 points and a

conference-best 10.8 rebounds, is expected to set the school record

with his 135th consecutive game played Saturday. Texas Tech coach

Pat Knight would likely wish the Big 12’s all-time leading

rebounder would take a day off after watching his team struggle

against big men in the last two games.

After Texas A&M center Bryan David totaled 13 points and 16

rebounds in a 67-65 win over the Red Raiders last Saturday, Baylor

forward Ekpe Udoh had 13 points, 11 boards and nine blocks in

Tuesday’s 88-70 victory against Texas Tech.

“We did a really bad job just driving in there thinking we were

going to put one up over (Udoh) him, because you just can’t do

that,” Knight said.

If facing James and the nation’s third highest-scoring team

isn’t enough of a challenge, the Red Raiders could be without one

of their top offensive threats in John Roberson, who left Tuesday’s

game late in the second half with sore ribs after running into a

television cameraman. The sophomore guard had X-rays Wednesday and

they revealed no fracture, according to the school’s official Web

site.

Roberson hit a season-high five 3s and scored 27 points in last

month’s loss to the then-No. 6 Longhorns.

If Roberson can’t go, that will put additional pressure on Red

Raiders forward Mike Singletary, who is averaging team highs with

15.3 points and 6.6 rebounds. He had 10 and seven, respectively,

off the bench in Texas’ last visit to United Spirit Arena – a 71-49

Longhorns victory on Jan. 17, 2009.

Texas Tech has dropped four straight to ranked teams this season

but has won two in a row and seven of 10 at home against Top 25

opponents.

The Longhorns, who make their fifth consecutive visit to Lubbock

as a ranked team, have won 26 of 30 between the teams since they

joined the Big 12 and lead the all-time series 71-53.