Texas Basketball vs. Gonzaga: 5 bold predictions for top-12 showdown

Drew Timme, Timmy Allen, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Timme, Timmy Allen, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chris Beard, Texas Basketball
Chris Beard, Texas Basketball Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas holds Gonzaga to just 60 points

So much of this game for the Longhorns revolves around this team’s ability to limit the effectiveness of Timme. But Texas must also hold some other key Gonzaga players at bay.

Few and the Bulldogs are relying a lot more on the ability of junior guard/wing Julian Strawther to get to the charity stripe (posting a career-high free-throw attempt rate of 42.9 thus far) to drive the offense this season. Strawther is also converting once he gets to the line, hitting all of his nine attempts from the stripe in the first two games.

Strawther is often getting to the line by drawing contact and getting to the rim on smaller defenders.

Texas should be able to minimize, or completely eliminate, the impact that the size difference has in matching up with Strawther on this game. Beard and the Longhorns have some switchable defenders that can match up well with Strawther, such as Mitchell and senior shooting guard Sir’Jabari Rice.

Moreover, Texas needs to be smart with the basketball on offense, while being very disruptive with its perimeter defense. Gonzaga hasn’t turned the ball over much through the first two games of the season, averaging 16 per game (good for top 70 in the country). Meanwhile, Texas is forcing 20 turnovers per game this season, good for top 50 in the country.

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This will be a good battle in the turnover department for both teams and will play a major role in the outcome of this game. If Texas can win the turnover battle, it will control the pace and limit what Gonzaga can do in the offensive frontcourt.