until Texas vs Kansas

Thursday, November 3

 

Horns Pound St. Mary's

Basketball is back, and I couldn’t be more excited. March Madness is months away and the actual season will not start for two weeks, but there is an air of excitement in Austin. I have already stated this year’s football team is the best I have ever seen. The club Rick Barnes has assembled for this year may also be the best UT basketball team I have ever seen.

The Horns tipped off the season with a 113-49 pre-season victory over the St. Mary’s Rattlers of San Antonio. The game wasn’t that close. Texas started the game on about a 25-0 run and held the Rattlers scoreless for the first seven plus minutes. While the game was never in doubt, Barnes and the Horns played hard for forty minutes. The stats are telling of how well the Horns played. 57% from the floor. A 44-23 rebounding edge. 25 steals. 22 assists. 26 fast break points. And 54 bench points. Yeah, the Rattlers are a Division II team but the Horns looked good.

Gibson looked NBA quick. Tucker looked like the PJ of old scoring from odd angles and rebounding from all over the court. Aldridge looked like the big time player he was becoming last season and is destined to become this one. LaMarcus has beefed up slightly, but it is tough to notice on such a long frame. He scored with ease in the low post and ran the floor, Scooby Doo style, for easy fast break points. Buckman started solidly as well hitting two threes and pounding the glass. Those are the ones we all know about. I walked away dreaming of the Final Four because of what I saw out of some of the others. Mike Williams has softened his hands. I know that is not saying much but he looks able to contribute valuable frontcourt minutes. Freshman AJ Abrams looked like lightning in a bottle leading the team with five steals and six assists. AJ is small (5’10” 160 lbs) but will be able to spell Gibson at the point. Transfer guards JD Lewis and Craig Winder also looked comfortable. Winder was particularly impressive. He defended on and off the ball well and did all the things that make coaches happy and earn more playing time. Don’t be surprised to see Abrams and Winder earn significant time this season.

Last, the defense was fantastic in both the half court and the full court. 25 steals. That is ridiculous. Texas pressured St. Mary’s constantly in the half court and forced bad shots and turnovers all night long. Texas also experimented in the second half with a full court trap. Barnes had Aldridge at the top of the defense guarding the in-bounds pass and then trapping the first player with the ball in either corner. Aldridge doesn’t have the speed to stay with any guards off the dribble but his length was a huge problem for St. Mary’s. It will be interesting to see how much full court press we see this season.

Barnes is my favorite UT coach by far. He recruits well, develops talent consistently, and excels at the defensive end. If there is a knock on Rick, it has been is development of the offense in the half court. Because this team is so talented and so deep, Barnes may be able to rely more on the fast break than in year’s past and use his defensive prowess to create easy transition buckets. This team is good. Real good. I can’t wait to see Barnes mold them all season long. Hopefully, we can avoid injuries and academic issues and peak in March. This team has a legitimate shot at the national title. Things haven’t looked this promising for the basketball team in a long, long time.
--AW--

Comments:
How many people were at the drum? Do you think we will finally get people to come to our games now that we are picked to be in the final four?
 
Wells, good question. I think the Statesman had the attendance at 3000+. That is probably right. There were only a handful of students there and most of the bottom level season ticket holders skipped this one.

It seems to me that Austinites don't pay attention to basketball until after football bowl season. I doubt the games between now and XMAS break will be well attended. Maybe the students will rally around our call for three major sport national championships.
--AW--
 
Their should be a requirement that season ticket holders have to log on and say if they will be at the game one week in advance. If they dont, then the top level season ticket holders and purchasers should be allowed to take those seats. I hate that the top is fuller than the bottom because people are not going. This is the only reason that Barnes would ever leave UT.
 
Wells, supposedly theyre going to do something like that this year. Since you have to have your ticket scanned at the gate, they know who and who isn't coming to the games.

If you have a spotty attendance record, you will get a friendly reminder from the athletic department telling you we're also good at basketball.
 
Hopefully that means floor seats for me.
Glad to hear the team is looking good. With a true backup point guard, and continued improvement down low, we can go 40 with anyone. 3 TITLES!
Jimmer
 
Wells,
I got my season tickets the other day in the mail. They came with a handy wallet size card with instructions on what to do if you won't be able to attend the game. Basically, you let the universtiy know in advance and they find someone else who will use your tickets. It is a great idea, but not one I see too many fans using. If they are not going to be bothered going to the game, what makes us think they will be bothered to put their tickets up for someone else to use. Our home court advantage is nearly worthless, save a visit from Ok State or Kansas or OU each year. The Drum is dark and largely silent for many, many home games.
--AW--
 
The onus should be on the fan to tell the University what games they will be attending, not which games they won’t. How are we to compete with the top level programs when our recruits see an empty drum compared to what goes on at Duke.
 
does UT play arizona this year? Those always make for good games
 
Hey, it has been getting better. Last year we packed the house a couple of time, all be it for big games. It was really loud for the OK St. game, and there were very few empty seats. I would agree with the comment that until football season is over, no one will attend. Look at Duke's football program. I think Barnes is making believers out of students. One of the major problems is the location of seats. Students have little chance of seeing side court seating, this is obviously an old issue, but look at the rowdiest schools, the ones that have students virtually all around the court. No solution.
Jimmer
 
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