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The Texas Longhorns are traveling to Tennessee for a matchup between two of the top ten-ranked teams in the country. This matchup acts as the beginning of an absolute gauntlet in the schedule for Texas, as their next four opponents are all ranked, with three being in the top 10. Texas seems like a team that could be up for the task, though, as their offense has shown the ability to score against anyone this year. They’ve had three losses all year; one was a shootout against Kansas St. that would’ve hit most NBA over. They’ve looked impressive in nearly every game this year, especially on offense. They have either gone toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s best teams or easily handled opponents that have too big a talent disparity to be competitive. The team is led by Marcus Carr, a senior guard who has been scoring in bunches all year long. He gives a team full of talent and energy a real leader and keeps them ready to face anyone. The Longhorns have been undeniably impressive this year, but to prove they are one of the best teams in the country, they need to start overcoming their big challenges. They are 2-2 against ranked opponents thus far, and despite playing all of these teams close, matching that record in their next four would really hurt their ranking.
Tennessee has a different story around them despite boasting the same record as the Longhorns. After dropping a game to a largely underestimated Colorado team in their second game of the season, they locked in and began a run in which they dismantled a stretch of weaker opponents. Their starting five have built up their chemistry, with a group that shares the duties of scoring, rebounding, and defending throughout the whole roster. This group has shown that they are a dominant unit, capable of putting fear into the hearts of any team. They play defense at a high level and dictate their own physical style of play onto opponents. Similar to Texas, the Volunteers have a tough part of their schedule coming up, and getting this win against Texas would allow them to boost their ranking even further and give them wiggle room in the rankings before they attempt to show Alabama that they are the better program in at least one sport.
Both of these teams have played excellent basketball throughout the year, and now they are locked into a matchup that could end up having a direct result on where these teams are seeded come March. Texas has all the pressure on them in this one as the underdog team on the road looking ahead to a series of equally hard matchups. They have the roster to make this a competitive game, but Tennessee is deservedly viewed as the favorite in this one. Their few losses have seemingly come at the expense of their own timely mistakes. Tennessee matches up well with the Longhorns’ strengths, so get the crying McConaughey clip from Interstellar ready because Texas fans should be fearful of a sad outcome.
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