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Texas takes on UT-RGV in Gregory Gym (3pm tip, LHN) #Texas #takes #UTRGV #Gregory #Gym #3pm #tip #LHN #englishheadline


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Today, Texas takes on UT-RGV in Gregory Gym as part of the Leon Black Classic.

UT-Rio Grande Valley, the artist formerly known as UT-Pan American, is a program that has struggled mightily, having not ever made an NCAA Tournament in its 50-year history in Division-1. Since 2003, they have had just one winning season, and last year, they went 8-23, giving up an average of 78.6 points per game.

Their head coach, Matt Figger, went to Edinburg because of UT-RGV’s former coach, Lew Hill. Hill passed away due to COVID-19 in 2021, leaving a gaping hole in the program. They have yet to bounce back from his tragic loss, but Figger is doing what he can to build the program back from scratch.

Texas comes in with the seventh-ranked defense in country, allowing just 52.5 points on the season due to their athleticism and no-middle scheme. Funneling offensive players to the sidelines and base lines is really effective against dribble-penetration offenses that try to score at the rim, which is what UT-RGV tries to do.

So far this year, the Vaqueros are 4-2, with wins over:

• Southwestern Adventist, 115–33

• St. Francis Illinois, 77–51

• Western Illinois, 77–76

• Northern Arizona, 91-79

They have two losses:

• Kansas State, 93–59

• A&M Corpus Christi, 97–75

Here is their starting lineup:

Texas comes into this matchup fresh off of a beatdown of Northern Arizona, a game which they led 50-22 at the break but had a less-than-stellar second-half, where they shot just 1/12 from deep and had several turnovers. It was a bit concerning, but UT-RGV will not be the team that exposes these flaws like Creighton could next week.

Keys to the game:

• Shut down Justin Johnson.

Justin Johnson is easily the best player for the Vaqueros, so in order to win the game convincingly, Texas needs to throw different looks at the star guard. Averaging 19 points per game, he is the engine that drives their offense, which averages 82.5 points, good for 45th in the nation. As their primary scorer, Texas should guard him initially with Tyrese Hunter before switching on the ball screen.

• Force them to shoot from the outside.

The Vaqueros don’t shoot many three-pointers at only 15.8 per game, ranking them 349th in the country in attempts. Their percentage from deep isn’t great either at 34.7%. They are much more comfortable scoring at the rim, so packing the paint and forcing outside shots should be the goal for Texas today. They are far more athletic than UT-RGV is, so defensively, smothering the offense shouldn’t be that much of an ask.

• Shoot the three well.

Texas is the most hot-and-cold team from deep in college basketball it seems, either hitting 39% like they did against Gonzaga, or hitting below 20%. On average, they shoot just 29%, which has them in the bottom 50 teams in NCAA basketball. They hit an average of about seven per game, which will work to beat UT-RGV, but won’t work against more solid competition. If nothing else, this is an opportunity to work out some of the kinks with the deep shooting game before they play Creighton at the Moody Center next Thursday.

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