until Texas vs Kansas

Tuesday, November 23


Texas 84 Chaminade 62

This was my first look at the Horns this year, and I obviously haven't seen some of the new guys live yet, but here's what I got from that first game:

I thought it was a solid win, about what I expected, and doubly pleasing because I bet on us to cover the 18.5 point spread. I thought it was a typical beat-up-the-smaller-team kind of win, which is fine. There were a few areas where we really stunk, though.

I was hugely disappointed in our inability to get the ball inside and do anything with it. We didn't work hard for position, and when we did, there was absolutely no entry pass to speak of. Klotz and Buckman were clearly being ordered to get something started inside, but they weren't getting the ball in good position and the passes were too slow to get there, resulting in awkward attempts to "establish the inside game." Teaching half-court offense is clearly not Rick's specialty.

Given that first point, it's going to be imperative that Gibson develop quickly. He looked a little tentative to me: not sure when to drive, when to shoot, and when to pass. My guess is he's got great instincts and will be better as he relaxes and trusts himself. And that is one area where Rick does excel—getting players to trust themselves and play their game.

Kenton Paulino is clearly the most improved player in the last 35 years. Where did that sweet stroke come from? Wow. I had no idea he had it in him. Nice relaxed stroke with great form. A real bonus if he's not just fluking.

Once Gibson becomes more of a confident floor-general, this team has lots of potential. We have enough size inside and plenty of perimeter shooters to keep the defense honest. Taylor, Paulino, Gibson, and Harris can all stroke it, while Aldridge, Buckman and Klotz give us legitimate strength in the paint.

I guess I like moving P.J. to the wing, provided that he doesn't spend too much time dribbling around the perimeter. During the last five minutes of the game he finally played like himself, getting to the hole and taking advantage of smaller and less quick defenders. He's still our best weapon and I hope Rick gets the most out of him.

Iowa looked good in spanking Louisville, but this is a team we should beat. I expect our defensive intensity to be stronger in this game, but I suspect we’re going to struggle on offense a bit. I’m sure Rick will try to get the inside game going, but from the looks of the Chaminade game, we’ve still got a ways to go before that aspect of our offense is going to click. I’ll be looking for a reasonably low-scoring game and think we’ll pull it out with a strong second half. I’ll go with Texas 79-74.


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