This weekend, the new Cowboy Stadium will hold its first College Basketball game. And boy is it a big time game. The 10th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels take on the 2nd ranked Texas Longhorns. This is one of the biggest games yet in this already very entertaining, but young season.
The Longhorns are extremely talented and deep. This is the best team that Coach Rich Barnes has had in his time with the Longhorns. Not to mention this is basically a home game for the Longhorns. The Longhorns play a great physical brand of man to man defense, not to mention they are scoring 85 points a game. All 5 starters in this extremely balanced attack average double digits. The star is Damion James, who not only can score, but he pulls in a very solid 10 boards a game.
This Longhorns team has looked outstanding in this young season, but there is a lot of unknown qualities in that they have not played a team of the caliber of a Roy Williams North Carolina team. Also, Barnes will have to make sure his team does not start looking ahead to the big time matchup with Tom Izzo and the Spartans on Tuesday. This should not be a problem, but we will really find out a lot about this Longhorns team over the next 5 days as they play both of last year’s Finals participants.
The Tar Heels are not nearly as good as last year. It would be quite difficult to be as strong as last year’s outstanding Tar Heel’s squad. They are very young, and as usual pretty talented. UNC has looked vulnerable in both of their big time games against Syracuse and UK, who are both 2 of the top teams in the country. UNC is finally appearing to gel a little, and the coaching mastery of Roy Williams is taking effect.
Deon Thompson and Ed Davis continue to get better every game. These two players look to have NBA potential. Not to mention, the return of Marcus Ginyard and his senior leadership will really help this team down the stretch. Guys like Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansborough are sorely missed and the Tar Heels really do not have their typical stellar guard play that we are accustomed to seeing. This is the Tar Heels last big game for a while until they delve into ACC play with Virginia Tech and then Clemson on January 13th.
On paper, Texas should win this “home” game. But for some reason, my gut is pointing towards a Tar Heels victory. Roy Williams is a great big game coach. The ACC has stellar teams every year. The Big 12 is always overrated in hoops year in and year out. They are consistently a solid conference, but outside of Kansas, how many of the Big 12 teams ever show up in March?
So on paper, Texas should win this game in a close matchup. They have guards in Avery Johnson and Damion James that should man handle the Tar Heel guards. But I am picking the Tar Heels to win a very close game. Cowboy Stadium, welcome to big time College Basketball.
Enjoy the great slate of College Basketball games this weekend.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.