Rick Barnes' Longhorns have dominated play in their own building, sporting a flawless 9-0 mark this season. The team has been especially good at home outside of Big 12 action, winning 27 straight non-conference games in Austin dating back to 2007. Texas is 12-2 overall this season and brings a six-game win streak into this game after destroying Arkansas on Tuesday, 79-46.
Jim Calhoun's Huskies have also been impressive at home, with an 8-0 record thus far. However, the road hasn't been as kind, with the only two true road games resulting in losses, including Tuesday's 73-70 setback at nationally- ranked Notre Dame. While Texas has yet to start Big 12 play, UConn is already in an early Big East hole at 1-2.
This is the seventh time these two teams have met on the hardwood. UConn holds a 4-2 series advantage, thanks to a 88-74 victory in Storrs last season.
The Huskies aren't exactly lighting the world on fire in terms of field-goal percentage at just .437, but the team is still putting up a hefty 76.5 ppg. It has a lot to do with the play of All-American candidate Kemba Walker. A scoring machine, Walker leads the nation at 26.1 ppg. What makes him special is the fact that he is much more than a scorer, leading the team in assists (51) and steals (31) as well, while ranking third in rebounds (5.2 rpg). Walker does get some help from forward Alex Oriakhi (10.5 ppg, 8.4 rpg), who balances things out with his play up front. The Huskies struggled to get into an offensive rhythm against Notre Dame, converting just 37.5 percent from the floor, a number greatly affected by a 2-of-14 showing from three-point range. Walker once again led the way with 24 points. Oriakhi finished with 15, but the two got little offensive support from the rest of the team.
While UConn is driven by its guard play and more specifically, Walker, Texas relies on a potent frontcourt, highlighted by sophomore star Jordan Hamilton. The 6-7 youngster continues to get better and better and comes into this game averaging 19.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. It certainly helps to have two other high-caliber performers up front in 6-8 freshman Tristan Thompson (12.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and 6-6 senior Gary Johnson (11.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg). Sporting a +16.6 scoring margin and a +8.1 rebounding margin, it is easy to understand how Texas has gotten off to such a fast start. The Longhorns simply dominated Arkansas in just about every facet of the game, as they cruised in a lopsided affair this week. UT hit nine three-pointers, forced 23 Arkansas turnovers and held the Razorbacks to just 34.7 percent shooting. Hamilton led four Longhorns in double figures with 16 points. Thompson added 14, while Johnson and Jai Lucas chipped in with 13 apiece.