November 4, 2008

After scrimmage with Davidson, UT now faces Gonzaga

Last season, in front of 16,000 empty seats at the Erwin Center in early November, Texas and Davidson went at it in a scrimmage. D.J. Augustin vs. Stephen Curry. Two of the nation's best guards.

Augustin would ultimately average 19.2 points per game and be named All-American as well as the Cousy Award winner as the nation's best point guard. Curry would average 25.9 points per game and is a preseason All-American this season.

Who knew that both teams would ultimately reach the Elite Eight a few months later in the NCAA Tournament? Needless to say the competition was fierce.

That day in Austin last year is why Rick Barnes and the Longhorns lined up against Davidson, preseason ranked No. 20, last Saturday in Austin for a closed scrimmage. It's also the reason Texas will line up this Saturday in Denver at a neutral facility for another closed scrimmage against No. 10 Gonzaga.

Under NCAA rules, teams can now take part in up to two closed scrimmages against other Division I schools or play open-to-the-public exhibition games against schools outside of Division I. Barnes tried it both ways last season, and he has made up his mind.

After playing an exhibition game against NAIA school Xavier (La.) last season in front of a half-empty Erwin Center against inferior competition, Barnes lined up his team against Davidson.

Barnes said the scrimmage with Davidson was the best thing he'd ever done to prepare his team for a season. For the scrimmages, the NCAA allows teams to have four hours of court time. So Texas has divided up its scrimmages with two hours in the morning, lunch, film and another hour and a half on the court in the afternoon.

This season, Barnes felt like he could get more out of the closed scrimmages than the exhibition games because he could line up against two quality opponents. While Texas fans aren't getting any preseason looks at their team, the season will start soon enough - Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. vs. Stetson.

After battling Curry, son of former NBA star Del Curry, last weekend, UT goes up against a Gonzaga team Saturday that returns its top three scorers - junior guard Matt Bouldin (6-5, 214), senior guard Jeremy Pargo (6-2, 219) and sophomore forward Austin Daye (6-10, 190).

The Bulldogs, coached by Mark Few, are preseason ranked No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 11 by the coaches.


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