1311Free Fire Zone: Winning the War on Terrorism One First Down at a Time

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This game will be the biggest game of the season to date.

Texas, ranked 2nd in the nation for much of the early season, went to Duke and got slaughtered by 30 points back in December. A few days later hosting Tennessee, Texas lost at home to the unranked Vols.

What happened?

Texas forward Brad Buckman got hurt early in the first half of the Duke game, and that caused Texas coach Rick Barnes to do some shifting that placed Texas star forward P.J. Tucker back as a guard where he is easy prey.

Tucker is a genuine athletic prodigy. He is a slashing type forward who can drive even where there are not apparent lane to drive through. Tucker is hard to play man to man, but playing zone against him is like building a four land highway to the basket. The man is fearless and hard to stop.

When Barnes made the shift, that essentially left Duke star guard and outside shooting ace J.J. Reddick mismatched. Reddick had a then career high 41 points most from three point range.

The next loss for Texas is hard to understand. Tennessee is a good solid basketball team, in the top three in most statistics in the SEC. But with Buckman out, Texas could not contain the three point game. They allowed the Vols 50 percent from three point range.

With Buckman back, Longhorns front court was in full operation by Jan 2nd against then ranked 5th Memphis.

That solid Texas defense held Memphis to 28 percent from the field and 18 percent from three point range coming away with a solid 69-58 win.

What a difference a Texas forward makes. And Buckman is a great athlete, defined by his presence making everyone else on the Texas squad better.

But now, come the biggest test of the season: Villanova.

Is Texas up to the task?

The AP thinks so since Texas is on a 5 game win streak after a win at Iowa State.

We are not so sure.

Villanova went against then 5th ranked Oklahoma in its fourth game of the season and came away with a solid 85-74 win. The Wildcats did so primarily by Oklahoma turning over the ball 17 times during the game, okay against an average hoops team, five blocked shots and by shooting a stunning 92 percent from the free throw line.

Villanova is 2nd in the Big east in scoring offense, three point shots and percentages. J.J. Reddick demonstrated you can kill Texas from three point range under the right conditions.

Villanova's top four players, Randy Foye Allan Ray, Mike Nardi and Kyle Lowery, all are in double digits in point per game and together shoot almost 46 percent from three point range.

That sort of performance will place a huge strain on Texas' defense. Not only must they keep track of four star players, they have to open the lanes by playing zone to keep three point shot chances down.

We don't envy Texas on Villanova's front court. It will be hairy and it will require a lot of quickness. If Texas does decide to play 'Nova man to man, their forwards will have their hands full trying to play an outside game.

In Texas' favor is that they are third in the Big 12 in three point defense.

We call this game a toss-up and if Texas can stop the outside game of Villanova, Texas could come away with a convincing win.

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