Rice (5-6) at Texas (10-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 30, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Erwin Center (16,734) -- Austin, Texas. Television: Longhorn Network. Home Record: Rice 3-2, Texas 7-1. Away Record: Rice 2-2, Texas 2-0. Neutral Record: Rice 0-2, Texas 1-1. Conference Record: Rice 0-0, Texas 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 135-58.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Longhorns will be matched up against the Rice Owls on Monday afternoon in a Lone Star State showdown from the Erwin Center in Austin.
Rice lost to another team from the state of Texas when it last played, dropping a 54-52 decision against Houston on Dec. 21. The loss ended a short, two-game win streak for the Owls, who are just 5-6 overall. Rice still has to battle Harvard before it gets into its Conference USA schedule.
Texas also had a winning streak come to an end in its last bout, falling in a 92-78 final at home to No. 5 Michigan State. The Longhorns had won six straight before the setback and are now 10-2 overall as they prepare for their Big 12 opener on Saturday against rival Oklahoma.
The Longhorns have won eight straight against the Owls, including a 57-41 triumph last season. Texas leads the all-time series by an 135-58 margin.
A 46-45 lead with just under three minutes to play would not hold up for Rice against Houston, as the Owls missed five field goal attempts down the stretch. Rice did outscored the Cougars, 30-6, from beyond the arc, but shot just 30.5 percent overall.
Austin Ramljak scored 15 points as the only player to reach double figures for the Owls in the loss. Normally Ramljak (13.6 ppg) is joined in double figures by Sean Obi (12.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and Max Guercy (11.5 ppg, 4.3 apg). Obio had nine points and seven rebounds against Houston, but turned the ball over three times and hit just 3-of-9 shots from the floor. Guercy was even worse, scoring just eight points on a 3-of-12 shooting performance. Rice desperately needs Obio and Guercy to get back on track, as it is only scoring 69.4 ppg and shooting 42.1 percent from the floor.
Texas had a 26-8 scoring advantage off turnovers against Michigan Sate, but connected on just 39.3 percent of its shots overall to fall short in the upset bid. Cameron Ridley tallied 17 points and nine rebounds, both team-highs, for the 'Horns.
In all, four players scored in double figures against Michigan Sate, keeping up the trend of balanced scoring from the Longhorns. Jonathan Holmes (12.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is the top scorer on the roster, but there are four other members of the team putting up at least 10 ppg. Ridley (10.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg) teams with Holmes up front, where the Longhorns are at their best. Demarcus Holland (11.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is a strong rebounder from his spot in the UT backcourt, and Isaiah Taylor (12.4 ppg, 3.8 apg) and Javan Felix (10.9 ppg, 3.1 apg) can score as well as set up their teammates.
Sporting such a balanced attack should be a real benefit once again for the Longhorns, who should bounce back and propel themselves into league play with a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 77, Rice 68
12/30 10:52:36 ET