until Texas vs Kansas

Friday, November 26


Texas 95 Tennessee 70

Texas bounced back successfully on Wednesday afternoon in Maui with a runaway 95-70 victory over Tennessee. The victory, albeit early in the season, was especially important for this young team. Barnes was able to motivate the team to do more than show up. They were ready to play when it would have been just as easy to pack it in, go through the motions, and get ready for the long flight back to the mainland.

I was not able to see all of the game: I had a case of the online poker flu, but was impressed by what I saw. Gibson was able to control his turnovers and the flow of the game nicely. Aldridge was much more active than he was against Iowa. This may have some to do with the quality of his opponents on the low block. Texas played more like a team as well with five players in double figures, led by Gibson's 19 points. Klotz also seemed more involved, finishing with a double-double 10 and 11. And wow did the Horns shoot the ball well: 86% from the foul line, following a mediocre performance from the stripe on Tuesday, 55% from the floor, and an eye-popping 48% from behind the extended arc. There are very few teams in the country that will be able to beat us when we shoot that well and put up 95 points.

Big 12 conference games usually end up being contests in which the first to 60 points wins, with physical play and low field goal percentages dominating most games outside of Lawrence. Texas has been, and I predict will be, a team that wins low scoring games. The three ball is such a double edged sword to me. When they fall we roll, and when they clank we look like a lost pick up team hoping divine intervention will allow the next one to touch nothing but net. I fully realize that we can shoot a lower percentage from behind the arc and still score as many as we would shooting 50% from two-point land, but with the strength of our big men, primarily Buckman, Tucker, and Klotz at this point, with Aldridge still developing, we must continue to play inside-out. We can't allow the defense to just sag into the paint and continually jack up threes. I am not saying this is all that we are doing: I thought we did a nice balancing act for the most part in Maui. I am only writing this as a caveat. We will win games in conference and beyond when we play solid defense, dominate the glass, and get balanced scoring both inside and out.

Looking ahead, we have four games in the next two weeks, with three at home. We take on Coppin State on Monday, who is always fun to watch, and travel to New Jersey for a match up with Seton Hall over the weekend. The following week we have intrastate games with North Texas and UT-Arlington before a true test at Wake Forest on ESPN. We should be 7-1 at that point with Wake likely undefeated and still number one in the country. I am already excited.

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