Before No. 6 Kansas tips off against No. 25 Texas at 3 p.m. at the Erwin Center, here’s our usual pregame list of five things to know about Kansas and Texas:
•1. The battle in the paint: We’ve gone over the most intriguing inside matchup
to watch: Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid vs. Texas sophomore Cameron Ridley. Listed at 285 pounds, Ridley is one of the few players in the conference that might be able to bother Embiid with his sheer size. But let’s look a little deeper at the Longhorns’ interior defense. Texas ranks 35th in the nation in two-point field-goal defense, allowing opponents to his 43.6 percent inside the arc. Kansas, meanwhile, is shooting 57 percent inside the three-point line. To beat KU, the Longhorns probably need to keep Kansas well under 50 percent shooting inside the three-point line.
•2. The series:
Kansas leads the overall series 22-7, but Texas is just 5-6 in Austin. The series actually started here in Texas, when the Longhorns defeated Kansas and coach Phog Allen 36-34 on Dec. 13, 1938.
•3. Success in the Big 12:
Kansas and Texas have the best two overall records in Big 12 play since 1998-99 — Rick Barnes’ first season as the Longhorns coach. KU is 208-43 (83 percent), while Texas is 172-79 (69 percent).
•4. Kansas’ efficiency:
How good has KU’s offense been in Big 12 play? The Jayhawks are shooting a league-best 54.4 percent in seven games, and they are also leading the conference in three-point shooting (41.7 percent) during the same stretch. Only two teams in the conference are shooting even 45 percent from the field: Texas (45.6 percent) and Iowa State (45.1 percent).
•5. Can Andrew Wiggins continue to shoot this well?
After some inconsistent outside shooting in November and December, Wiggins is shooting 46.2 percent (12 of 26) from three in seven Big 12 games. More confidence? More comfort? Just a temporary hot streak? We’re not sure, but it could be bad news for the Big 12.
As Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said after Kansas’ 92-81 victory on Wednesday, “With that athleticism, that length and that speed, the kid’s got it all,” Hoiberg said. “When he’s knocking down shots … not too many better.”