Archive for November, 2014

UConn warmly greets the Texas Longhorns

Posted by    |    November 30th, 2014 at 10:25 pm

That Jon Holmes dagger is now all the more sweet.

A kind welcome to UCONN #hookem

A video posted by Andy Reese (@areese48) on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:15am PST

Shooting from the Corner: UConn

Posted by    |    November 30th, 2014 at 7:30 pm

JOHNNY BASKETBALL

J’ONIONS who?

Jonathan Holmesdagger 3 was the difference in a 55-54 Texas Longhorns win over the Connecticut Huskies. Leave it to Holmes to be the guy that breaks the Curse of the Black Uniforms. Actually, it pretty much had to be him because the rest of the team forgot they could score points in the 2nd half. Credit due to UConn for their defensive effort, but a more active Texas team shoots better than 27% from the floor in the final 20 minutes. Anyway, let’s get down to it.

Positives:

Winning in Hostile Territory

This is an intangible aspect of the game, but it’s very important for a team that’s still in the bottom 1/3rd of D1 in experience. Texas could’ve packed it in; they gave up an 11-3 run, went down 51-45 to the defending national champs in their house & only had ~6 minutes left to go, but they continued to battle. Texas closed the game out on a 10-3 run(including 4 straight free throws made by Turner & Yancy) and took out a team that’s likely to make some noise in March. These are the things that get a team bumped up a seed come tourney selection time.

Demarcus Holland

The national media should be talking about Holland like they did Aaron Craft because he’s every bit as good as Craft defensively. While Barnes chose to put Felix on Ryan Boatright for most of the game(more on this in a bit), Holland was assigned a dorm room inside Boatright’s jersey and within a matter of seconds Holland had lit some incense & lined the inside of Boatright’s #11 with Pink Floyd posters. Boatright will be smelling Holland’s breath in his dreams tonight. And can we talk about his drives to the bucket? Holland went 5-6 in the 1st half and his shots averaged 18 inches from the bucket. Holland is nearing elite status in transition; all the runs to the basket that were out of control last year are much more under control this year, and it shows in his stats. Holland has gone from a terror for Texas fans to a terror for opponents and it’s hard to overstate how significant a part of the team he’s become. If there were a basketball version of the Gaskamp, Holland would be running away with the award right now.

Javan Felix’s defense

It raised a lot of eyebrows when Barnes announced Javan would be guarding Boatright today, and with good reason. Felix’s defensive weaknesses are exacerbated by speedy guards, and Boatright is about as quick as they come. But it has to be said – and I feel compelled to give him some credit because he’s getting mentioned later in a much less positive light – that for the 1st half Felix did a solid job on making Boatright uncomfortable. He went 4-10 in the 1st half, but most of those shots were high difficulty shots. If you can make Boatright’s game shooting off-balance 3s, you’ve done your job. Kevin Ollie made some good halftime adjustments that got Boatright into the paint again, but Felix exceeded my expectations on the defensive end.

Kendall Yancy

Yancy had an uneven game and he had some stupefying mental breakdowns when he drove into the paint, but I want to give him credit for a couple of things. 1) He took the open 3s when they were there. They aren’t always going to go down(and they didn’t today), but he needs to keep taking those because they’ll be there for him on a regular basis in this offense. The more he does that, the sooner they’ll start to fall, and the sooner he supplants Javan on the perimeter. 2) He was 4-5 from the line, including 2 huge FTs in Texas’ final run. Yancy’s game this year reminds me at times of Holland’s game last year. If he can follow the same arc, it bodes well for Texas’ future.

Oh, that Holmes guy

JOHNNY BASKETBALL!!!

— Myles Turner (@Original_Turner) November 30, 2014

I knew it was good @J_Holmes10 lol pic.twitter.com/GkYtaBSmAW

Connor Lammert (@ANDtwenty1) November 30, 2014

He does it again!!! Jonny Basketball hits the game winner. Great team win!   #hookem #hesfromsanantoniotoo #roadkill

— Connor Lammert (@ANDtwenty1) November 30, 2014

Enough said.


Curses Broken this season: 2

First, Texas wins at their own personal house of horrors(MSG) not once but twice, and now Texas won while wearing black uniforms. If they get an inbounds pass in against Arizona in under 4 seconds, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. It’s like Rick Barnes is on a personal mission to exorcise all his demons in one year. WATCH YOUR BACK, MCCLELLAN.

Negatives:

Texas let UConn control the tempo

This was a Big 10 football game on the basketball court due in no small part to UConn’s blatant attempts to take the air out of the ball. They were perfectly content to let 25 seconds run off the clock every possession and Texas was unable to force a faster pace. Some of this is due to Texas’ defensive nature – they don’t force a lot of turnovers because they’d rather block your shot into the 4th row or swat it to a teammate – but 8 turnovers by UConn isn’t going to give Texas enough opportunities to run. UConn missed a lot of shots, but they also got a fair number of offensive rebounds. Again, not a recipe for running. Texas is a team that’s built to run, as Mike Finger pointed out.

People think Texas' size means they want to play slow. Wrong. That depth is so much more effective in an up-tempo game.

— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 30, 2014

But they didn’t run, and it nearly cost them.

Javan Felix

Maybe the biggest consequence of losing Zay is that Javan is falling back into his old habits of trying to wear Superman’s cape when it’s clearly not his size. Every time he tries to break down an opponent on an iso play that only he realizes is going on makes me cringe. Javan, you’re not the only guy on this team that can make a shot any more; you went 2-8 from 3 and on the season only Damarcus Croaker & Jordan Barnett are worse from behind the arc. Drive to the bucket & get a foul, a layup, or pass to an open man. You don’t have to do it all, and frankly you can’t do it all.

Jordan Hamilton

Mainly just for having a brother that went HAM for a half against Texas. We still love you, buddy.


Cameron Ridley

Alright, I’m officially concerned. I don’t know what’s going on with him, he seems like he’s regressed considerably on the offensive end. Maybe he’s trying to figure out how to fit into things with Turner, Holmes, & crew, maybe he’s got some personal shit going on…I’m at a loss. But this isn’t the same kid from last year, and I’m worried about how he’ll handle the Kentucky bigs. It could be ugly on Friday.

Texas took down the defending national champs on their home court. Their reward is a home game against an overmatched UT satellite school before taking on the team UConn beat for the title & early favorites for this year’s crown: Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Savor this win, because we’re 5 days away from Texas’ biggest test of the year.

Holmes Mushes Huskies With Late Game Winning 3

Posted by    |    November 30th, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Texas basketball moved to 6-0 on a beautifully designed and executed 3 point look from Jonathan Holmes with 2 seconds remaining in the game, sinking an inspired UCONN home effort, 55-54.  The key screen was set by – who else? – Demarcus Holland.  Say what you will about Rick Barnes and his offense, but the cat can draw up an inbounds play. We’ve set up and nailed that corner 3 multiple times for game winners during the Barnes era and every Longhorn fan in the building knew what was coming.

Apparently, UCONN and Kevin Ollie didn’t.

There was a lot of bad (the entire second half offense, pathetic aggression level of our bigs, noxious officiating, turnovers) and good (persistence, team defense, Holmes, Holland, Turner late) in this game, but the Horns showed character with key defensive stops that allowed them to winnow down a 6 point UCONN lead over the last 4 minutes and steal the win in Storrs.

As an aside, UCONN was particularly annoying for their tendency to flop at phantom elbows and shoulders throughout the game and the officiating crew bought every one of them hook, line and sinker.  Even after video review.  It was madness.  How about the next time a flagrant video review shows a Euro soccer flop, the offending flopper is assessed the penalty instead?  NCAA officiating drives me insane.  They’re mentally weak momentum monkeys and succumb to home crowds constantly.  This is why road wins in real environments are so precious.

The veteran members of the Texas front line deserves a good tongue-lashing for their effort but overall defense and rim protection, particularly provided by Myles Turner, was awesome down the stretch.  Our bigs looked far too accustomed to rebounding on length playing against smaller competition rather than establishing good position and driving UCONN’s skinnies into the baseline photographers with a well-placed block out.  I’m looking at you, Cameron Ridley.  I’m looking at you, Prince Ibeh.  Their reaction to UCONN energy and aggression and some strange officiating was borderline moping.  The Huskies repeatedly landed second chance opportunities and just edged us on the boards.

Team defense was extraordinary.  Aside from Boatright and Hamilton prayers (they scored 37 of UCONN’s 54 points on 13 of 34 shooting) the other Huskies were 4 of 22 from the field, with seemingly half of those misses swatted by Myles Turner (5 blocks on the game).  Texas won by a point despite holding UCONN to 30% team shooting.  Haven’t seen that in a while.

Cameron Ridley managed zero rebounds.  Prince Ibeh had one.  So far, Ridley’s early trends suggest a 15 minutes a game role player rather than the hype of a conference elite big man.

Connor Lammert was also somewhat passive on both ends, missing multiple bunnies and also succumbing to aggression from guys 30 pounds lighter.  However, he did a nice job creating some buckets with his passing and hit the boards, at least.

Holmes filled the stat sheet with 13 and 8, doing most of his damage from the perimeter.  Interior offense was non-existent all game.

The guards had their hands full with UCONN’s scorers and generally acquitted themselves very well.  Holland wore Boatright down.  He also showed some nice moves in transition offense.  Felix, Yancy and Holland wilted in the second half running point guard against the Huskies energy and ball pressure, but that’s not surprising.  Yancy went into a shell after a ludicrous Flagrant 1 call, bricking two wide open three point attempts, notched three turnovers overall, but he rallied to bury two late key free throws.  I think this experience benefitted him.  Felix played hard on both ends and had some regrettable 1 on 5 moments, but some of that was a function of the bigs doing almost nothing to pin defenders or set screens.  If you don’t love Holland, you don’t understand sports, much less basketball.

Overall, an excruciating game to watch with a happy result against an opponent that played with a second half fervor rarely seen in a November home stand.  Expect to see it again when we play in Lexington.

We also learned during the broadcast that Zeke Taylor is targeted for a January return.  This team is pretty good and there’s upside yet to be explored.

College Football Open Thread

Posted by    |    November 29th, 2014 at 8:57 am

Alabama-Auburn
Ole Miss-Miss St
Oregon St-Oregon
Florida-Florida State
Michigan-Ohio State
Georgia Tech-Georgia
Minnesota-Wisconsin

Texas Longhorns to spend Thanksgiving 2015 playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis

Posted by    |    November 28th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Horns are Bahamas-bound.

If an evening saunter to DKR on Thanksgiving night doesn’t float your boat, how about a trip to the Bahamas instead? Is that something you might be interested in?

You’re in luck! The Texas Longhorns basketball team have just committed to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis, to be held November 25-27, 2015. The Tournament is held at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Digs must be nice. And the view.

The lineup also includes the Syracuse Orange, Connecticut Huskies, Michigan Wolverines, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Washington Huskies, Charlotte 49ers, and Texas A&M Aggies. Yes, I’m saying there’s a chance we play the Aggies on Thanksgiving again.

And lest ye not forget, it’s a free trip to the Bahamas for all members of the 2015-16 Texas Longhorns roster. Paging Myles Turner. Stay another year and get a free trip to the Bahamas. No brainer, imo.