Texas Tech-Texas Preview
Texas has experienced few challenges during its flawless start in the Big 12. That trend might continue with Texas Tech visiting the Erwin Center on Saturday night.
The third-ranked Longhorns will try to improve to 8-0 in conference play by recording their 15th consecutive home win over the Red Raiders.
Texas (19-3, 7-0) is off to its best start in league play since winning its first nine Southwest Conference games in 1977-78. Even more impressive is that the Longhorns have won those seven contests by a margin of 72.1-53.4.
Four victories have come against ranked opponents, the most recent a 69-49 win over No. 16 Texas A&M on Monday. The Longhorns limited the Aggies to a season-low 30.9 percent shooting and held Khris Middleton, among the top 10 in the conference in scoring, without a point.
The Longhorns are among the nation's best in field-goal percentage defense at 36.4, and they've held teams to 36.0 percent during their season-high seven-game win streak.
Texas has opened league play with seven consecutive double-digit wins for the first time since 1921-22, when they recorded nine such victories in a row.
"We can still get better," guard Dogus Balbay said. "We still make mistakes. We've got to eliminate those. We can always get better on defense."
Texas Tech (11-12, 3-5) certainly wouldn't enjoy facing a Texas team that's improved defensively after falling 83-52 at home to the Longhorns on Jan. 11.
The Red Raiders posted a season low in points in that game and had one starter score in double figures - Robert Lewandowski with 13 points. Leading scorers Mike Singletary (14.2 ppg) and John Roberson (13.4) were held to a combined seven points on 3-of-19 shooting.
Texas star freshman Tristan Thompson scored 20 points in the win, while Jordan Hamilton added 16. Hamilton had 20 points Monday and is third in the Big 12 with 19.0 per game.
Texas Tech struggled against a ranked team again Tuesday, losing 88-66 at home to No. 2 Kansas. The Red Raiders have dropped 12 in a row to Top 25 opponents and have been outscored by an average of 29.0 points in four such matchups this season.
They've allowed ranked teams to shoot 53.8 percent against them while making 40.8 percent of their attempts. Texas Tech shot 37.1 percent against the Jayhawks while allowing them to hit 51.4 percent.
Roberson scored 24 points, one shy of matching his season high, but Singletary was the only other Red Raiders player in double figures with 12 as Texas Tech had its three-game winning streak snapped.
"When you have five guys out there, five guys have to show up and I thought we didn't have five guys show up," coach Pat Knight said. "There were some guys that seemed like they didn't want to be there. They were just dead like zombies, and I thought the effort wasn't very good from that standpoint."
Singletary totaled 72 points during the three-game run, while Roberson has averaged 18.8 in the last six games.
Texas is 28-4 against Texas Tech in Big 12 play and leads the series 73-53.