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Hoops Preview: Louisiana Tech

The Longhorns play their second game of the 2010-2011 season Wednesday night at the Erwin Center as they welcome Louisiana Tech to town. Get opponent strengths, weaknesses and the keys to the game from Inside Texas Basketball Coaches Corner moderator Tim Preston.
Hoops Preview: Louisiana TechDate: Wednesday, November10Time: 8:00 CentralTelevision: ESPNULocation: UTOpponent Strengths: It’s hard to get much of a read on what La Tech will bring to the court, tomorrow, because their roster is in the middle of a complete overhaul. Only two regular contributors return for a Bulldog team that welcomes eight newcomers.Look for La Tech to employ a three guard lineup and attempt to attack the lane with dribble drives and offensive rebounding. The Bulldogs will present a decidedly different challenge from Navy both with their length and athleticism.La Tech looks to be led by Senior guard, Deandre Brown, who moves well in transition and can break down defenders off the dribble into the paint. The other main player for the Bulldogs is Junior forward, Olu Ashaolu. Olu is another player that will put the ball on the floor in the halfcourt and can hurt you with his rebounding in space. It’s going to be vital that whomever guards Brown and Ashaolu keeps recognition and takes good angles on ball defense. Boxing out will be at a premium tomorrow.Opponent Weakness: Shooting. Both from the perimeter and from the free throw line. While the onus will be on Texas to keep their responsibility in front of them, this job will be made much easier by the lack of outside proficiency of La Tech.Inexperience. Brown and Ashaolu are legitimate D1 players, but anytime that a team relies on that many new players, there are bound to be growing pains. Don’t be surprised to see Texas force plenty of turnovers against the Bulldogs.Texas Keys: OffenseNavy attempted to combat Texas’s superior talent with different looks (half court traps, 1 – 3 – 1 zone, 2 – 3 matchup zone, full court token pressure and fall back into man). They were right to do it as Texas was left guessing and struggled to find ball movement that led to clean looks. Expecting the same type of composure and dynamic defensive alignments from La Tech is probably unreasonable. Offensively, it’s not much of a question if Texas will have success against the Bulldogs. Instead, the real question is how efficient will Texas be? Athletically, La Tech presents a much more comparable type of athlete to what Texas will see in the Big 12. There has been lots of talk from the staff about ball movement and this will be a chance to show just how well we’ve progressed from last year. It will be important for Jordan and Tristan to continue the positive contributions they provided in the Navy game as there needs to be no doubt, in any one’s mind, that they belong at an elite level. The Longhorns can not afford two steps forward and one step back this season. Very little margin for error.Texas Keys: DefenseAgain, the Bulldogs pose a very different problem for Texas because of their ability to attack from multiple positions. Where Navy was a team that was going to launch a lot of shots from the outside, La Tech will probably attack that same amount in the lane and off the bounce.How will Jordan and Tristan rebound when the spacing becomes congested around the lane? And how do our bigs do off of offensive rebounds or offensive breakdowns against a much more explosive Bulldog team?The chances that Louisiana tech shoots a high percentage from the field is small, but how will we adjust to the drastically different style of play that La Tech plays in contrast to Navy? This is the type of early season matchup that will prepare Texas well for the Saturday – Monday matchups that they’ll see in the Big 12 during conference season. A very underrated part of being an elite collegiate team is having the ability to impose your will on teams that play employ drastically different styles.The EndgameIf we can stay out of foul trouble, this game has the chance to be another blowout. I think this game will fit Joseph and Brown’s games much more stylistically and our guard play should be a big strength tomorrow night.Prediction: Texas 88 – Louisiana Tech 60Projected Starting LineupJosephBalbayHamiltonJohnsonHill