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UCLA v.Texas Basketball Preview: A Battle of Two Football Schools

It is okay for Texas to be a Football School, but why is acceptable for UCLA?

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Jamie Squire

I was talking to a Texas fan and they told me that Barnes should be fired and everyone knows it but hey "Texas is a football school" so who really cares that much about basketball.

Then came the question back "is Ben Howland getting fired?"

I responded something like this: "Yes, he should be. He should have been after last year, along with the AD, but the AD kept him and fired the football coach. Of course what should be a great year is now embarrassing but the AD won't fire Howland. Some think AD is now safe because football did well this season and the AD can take his time and wait on basketball no matter how bad it gets."

Texas fan: "So now you're a football school."

And that sums up this upcoming game: A battle of two basketball teams that are in free-fall and underachieving. A battle of two coaches who are only surviving because their schools are "football schools." So much for rechristening Pauley. So much for the great recruiting class. Can we fire Howland and Guererro and get back to being the home of NCAA Championships?

ESPN has this game on national TV that most wish were a football game instead of a basketball game.

But on to the preview, how bad is Texas basketball? The record is 5-3 with wins over powerhouses like Texas Arlington. The three losses are to D-II Chaminade, USC, and Georgetown. In the common opponent game, Georgetown, Texas was almost shut out in basketball terms scoring just 41 points on 29% shooting. Georgetown's defense was so good Texas only shot 52% from the free throw line.

Did I mention Texas was a bad team? The bigger story for the game may be the fact ESPN is covering it and it is being played in a football stadium. I guess it is appropriate for two football schools. However, there will be a good basketball game played, when UCLA Women play as part of the doubleheader.

Anyways as far as the matchups, keep in mind that:

  • Texas leads the all-time series with UCLA, 3-2, including three straight victories. Last season, Texas overcame an 11-point deficit to defeat the Bruins in Los Angeles, 69-59, on Dec. 3, 2011.
  • During the Rick Barnes era, Texas is 7-3 in games played in the Houston area, including a 2-1 mark at Reliant Stadium.

For those of you who don't remember,UCLA gave up last year against Texas for that comeback. Most of the players are gone from that as is should be the coach.

While Texas is a horrid team, they do play defense:

  • Texas enters Saturday's game holding opponents to an average of 56.8 ppg on 32.0% FG shooting (tops in the nation).

Sheldon McClellan leads Texas in most offense categories but struggles against good major conference teams. He is a combined 13-41 in Texas' three losses. He is all shoot no pass guard.

Jonathan Holmes is the power forward and leading rebounder. He is not a threat outside and only shoots 41% from the field and 40% from the line.

Camreon Riley is the big fella for Texas. With Texas guards doing most of the shooting he does not see the ball much. He has been an effective shotblocker and can really clog up the middle.

Javan Felix is the point guard. While averaging almost six assists a game he is also averaging almost four turnovers and is shooting 29% from the field and 1 for 13 on the year from three.

The last started is Julian Lewis who is second in scoring on the team and the best shooter. However, between Felix and McClellan, it may be hard to get him the ball. Ioannis Papapetrou also sees time and is a typical European big.

So what does this all mean? Texas is out of control bad offensive team but considering UCLA defense that may work out for Texas. UCLA should beat Texas but if they do not, Ben Howland will be fired embarrassed again.