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Who can guard Texas guard Isaiah Taylor? How about Andrew Wiggins?
Sometimes the best way to reach a decision as to how to guard a player who presents a particularly different matchup lies in trying to put yourself in the head of the player in question.
Ask yourself: If I’m Texas freshman point guard Isaiah Taylor, who’s the last guy on the Kansas basketball team I want to see crouched in front of me, charged with keeping me out of the paint?
Not Naadir Tharpe. Not Frank Mason. Not Conner Frankamp. Not even Wayne Selden.
If I’m Taylor, who scored 23 points in UT’s 81-69 victory against KU in Austin, the last guy I’d want to be guarded by at the start of the game is Andrew Wiggins. Long enough and quick enough to frustrate Taylor, Wiggins just might be the most equipped of all KU’s players to defend him.
Self is more likely to open the game with Tharpe taking his second shot at slowing down Taylor. It’s a good litmus test for Tharpe, to see if taking pride in the rematch can motivate him to play better defense. But even a motivated Tharpe might not have the physical tools to avoid landing on the wrong side of the mismatch.
A 44-37 advantage on the boards also played a big part in Texas winning the first game. Don’t be surprised if Texas coach Rick Barnes tries to win the battle of the boards again by shifting Jonathan Holmes to small forward at times and playing center Cameron Ridley and backup Prince Ibeh together. Ridley and Ibeh combined for 40 minutes and eight blocked shots in the game in Austin.