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Connecticut Huskies vs. Texas Longhorns Preview: Can the Texas D Stop Kemba Walker?

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Texas has yet another chance to prove their worth with a big nonconference matchup with Connecticut in Austin.  While the Longhorns are coming off six straight wins--including a "semi-away" game against North Carolina and a true road game at Michigan State--the Huskies have lost two of their last three to ranked opponents.  Most people expected UConn to fall from perfection soon after entering Big East play.  That is most people didn’t expect UConn to dominate the beginning of their season like they did. 

While the teams’ paths are clearly headed opposite directions right now, Connecticut is no one to sleep on.  Kemba Walker probably still has the best resume for National Player of the Year, and Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi make very serviceable sidekicks.  If Napier is shooting well, look out.  This is still the team that blitzed right past Wichita State, Michigan State, and Kentucky in three straight games.

I still think Texas has a major advantage though.  They have their own elite playmaker in Jordan Hamilton (who is steadily building a very respectable, albeit quiet, resume for Player of the Year himself), star interior presence in Tristan Thompson, and I think their complementing pieces are much better than the Huskies’.  Don’t underestimate the homecourt advantage either.  This Texas team looks better and better every game (their dismantling of Arkansas was very impressive), and I think their defense will cause major problems for the Huskies.  Even with Jordan Hamilton being a notoriously mediocre defender, according to Ken Pomeroy Texas has the nation’s 7th most efficient defense.  This will be another major test for the Longhorn D, but it’s already stymied Illinois, UNC and Michigan State.