Orangebloods – Texas takes on UT-RGV at Gregory Gym (3pm tip, LHN)

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

UT-Rio Grande Valley, formerly known as the UT-Pan Americans, is a program that has struggled badly, having never made an NCAA Tournament in its 50-year Division 1 history. Since 2003, they’ve had only one winning season, and last year, they 8-23, giving up an average of 78.6 points per game.

Their head coach, Matt Viger, went to Edinburgh because of UT-RGV’s former head coach, Lou Hill. Hill died of COVID-19 in 2021, leaving a large hole in the program. They haven’t yet managed to recover from his tragic loss, but Viger is doing everything he can to rebuild the program from scratch.

Coming in with the seventh-ranked defense in the country, Texas only allows 52.5 points on the season due to its athleticism and midfield scheme. Directing offensive players to the sidelines and baselines is really effective against dribbling penetration offenses that try to score on the edge, which is what UT-RGV is trying to do.

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

• Southwestern Adventists, 115 – 33

• Street. 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 the starting lineup:

Texas came into this game after defeating Northern Arizona, a game in which they led 50-22 at halftime, but the second half was less than stellar, as they shot only 1/12 deep and pulled off several turnovers. . It was a little unsettling, but UT-RGV won’t be the team exposing those flaws like Creighton next week.

Game keys:

• Shut up Justin Johnson.

Justin Johnson is easily the MVP of the Vaqueros, so in order to convincingly win the game, Texas needs to take a different look at the star guard. Averaging 19 points a game, he’s the engine leading their offense, which averages 82.5 points, good for 45th in the nation. As the primary scorer, Texas must guard him first with Tyrese Hunter before running the ball screen.

• Forcing them to shoot from the outside.

The Vaqueros don’t hit many three-pointers at just 15.8 per game, which ranks them 349th in the country in attempts. Their percentage of depths is also not great at 34.7%. They’re more comfortable scoring on the edge, so today the Texans’ goal should be packing paint and forcing outside shots. They’re much more athletic than the UT-RGV, so defensively, stifling offense shouldn’t be much of a deal.

• The three well shot.

Texas is the hottest and coolest team out of the depths of college basketball it seems, either hitting 39% like they did against Gonzaga, or hitting less than 20%. On average, they only shoot 29%, which puts them in the bottom 50 teams in NCAA basketball. They averaged about seven per game, which will work against UT-RGV, but won’t work against stronger competition. If nothing else, here’s a chance to work out some deep shooting kinks before they play Creighton at the Moody Center next Thursday.

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