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Hoops Preview: Navy vs. Texas

The Texas basketball season starts Monday as the Horns welcome the Midshipmen of Navy to Austin.
Hoops Preview: NavyDate: Monday, November8Time: 8:00 CentralTelevision: ESPNULocation: UTOpponent Strengths: Tempo. Navy runs a high volume shooting offense looking to push tempo and create a perimeter oriented game (they took almost 200 more three point shots than their opponents last season). Their offense will be facilitated by Houston native (Alief Elsik) OJ Avworo who is one of the better playmakers in the country (8.6 ppg and 5.8 apg). OJ’s ball control and discipline make him a difficult matchup in the open court which is an area that they will try to exploit.Navy’s best player is Junior guard Jordan Sugars who averaged 15.8 ppg and 8.0 rpg last season. Sugars, at 6-4, will be a tough assignment as he’s a player that can attack the basket or step back and hit from the perimeter (42% 3pfg).Defensively, Navy will look to attack passing angles and create turnovers with their quickness.Opponent Weakness: Rebounding. Navy is small (no player over 6’7”). In 2009-10, Navy was outrebounded by more than 6 rebounds per game. Ball Control. Navy struggled mightily with turnovers last season (50 more turnovers than assists as a team last year).Navy also will be forced to replace their leading scorer, Chris Harris, who went for 21 ppg last season. Texas Keys: OffenseNavy’s preference for pushing the pace should play favorably into our strengths. It will be important for our ball handlers to maintain good spacing and decision making because Navy has the ability to score in bunches and will look to shoot often from the perimeter.Texas’s interior players should hold a decisive advantage in the paint and it will be key to look to exploit the height disparity that we hold over Navy. Look for Texas to try to establish an interior presence early in the game in hopes to create high efficiency looks.Texas should be able to get good looks at the basket on every possession so utilizing patience and vision will be an interesting thing to follow. How do Joseph, Brown and Hamilton do in the half court when the play breaks down? It’s very important that the Longhorns value possessions this season from the get go because we don’t have the overwhelming talent that we had last season.Look for Thompson and Johnson to excel tomorrow as both are tailor made for a high possession, up and down tempo game.Texas Keys: DefenseBarnes has repeated his preference for man to man defense a few times this preseason so look for us to come out in that. The key in man defense against Navy will be awareness because playing at that pace is going to create mismatch situations, defensively that we must execute with intelligence. We can’t afford foul trouble to Thompson or Johnson and their ability to maintain defensive spacing and discipline will be a vital piece of the puzzle this early in the season.On the perimeter, look for heavy pressure from Dogus and Cory in an attempt to create havoc with Avworo. They’re thin behind him and we will have a length and athleticism advantage in the backcourt from the tip. Defensively, Balbay and Joseph is as good as it gets in the country so it should be fun to enforce our will on less talented teams.Keep an eye on Hamilton and Brown. The staff has remarked favorably about both of their defensive progression but keeping defensive composure in game situations is just different. We need for them to be capable defenders this season, both for our team defense and for Coach Barnes’s sanity.The EndgameThis is a matchup that fits our personnel and style just about perfectly.Look for Texas to play into the fast pace willingly. Predition: Texas 84 – Navy 63Projected Starting LineupJosephBalbayHamiltonJohnsonHill