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  1. UNI's Buzzer-Beater sinks Texas in NCAA Fir...

    Lady luck was on the side of the Northern Iowa Panthers tonight as a buzzer-beater ends the Texas Longhorns men's basketball season 75-72.

    Play of the game

    Well, I won't traumatize you again but you know what it is.

    Player of the game

    Isaiah Taylor

    Isaiah Taylor's first half kept Texas in the game to even have a chance in the second half. He wasn't much of the factor in the 2nd half, but he did everything he could to contribute and he did hit a big shot to tie the game. If his collegiate career does end after this game, he went out with a bang.

    Epilogue

    I won't delve too much into the merits or deficiencies of this game, but it was a great one and it just didn't fall the way the Longhorns wanted it to. Northern Iowa is a really good team. They beat North Carolina and Iowa State and they are now riding a 7-game winning streak. It wasn't going to be an easy game and it wasn't for Texas.

    A quick recap of the season - The Longhorns finished the season with the same number of wins as they did last year. However, in last year's NCAA Tournament they were the 11 seed with an 8-10 Big 12 record. This year, they were the 6 seed with a 11-7 Big 12 record. Year one of Shaka Smart at Texas was a success. Smart can coach, and he has a tremendous ability to motivate the team to fight hard and never give up in any game. It just didn't happen against Northern Iowa. Since his Final Four run in 2011, Shaka Smart is 2-5 in the NCAA tournament. Does that mean anything? I don't know but it is something.

    I will break down the season in depth in a few days but the future is bright, at least that is the feeling that Shaka has instilled in Texas fans. He is going to have to make good on this feeling. In time, we'll see if he can do it.

    Stats

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    Game Photos

     

    • Mar 19 2016 07:28 AM
    • by Chris Flanagan
  2. 5 Things the Longhorns must do to advance in th...

    The Longhorns are facing the Northern Iowa Panthers on Friday in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Here are 5 things the Longhorns must do in order to advance to the round of 32.

    1. Keep Panthers below 45% FG shooting

    The last 8 games, the Longhorns' opponents are shooting 53% from the floor. In the two recent blowouts by Kansas and Baylor in Austin, the teams shot over 60%. Good defense wins games. It's not necessarily breaking news but it's more important for the Longhorns given the poor defense they have played recently.

    When Longhorns opponents shoot at or above 45%, the Longhorns are 3-7.

    2. Shoot over 45% from the floor

    The Longhorns have shot over 50% only 3 times this season. They are not a very good field goal shooting team. That's okay, because it hasn't mattered for most of the season. The number for this game is 45% for both teams. Why it matters for the
    Longhorns is because when shooting above 45% the Longhorns are 10-3 this season.

    Good shooting doesn't just matter for the Longhorns against Northern Iowa, it's an imperative to win.

    3. Have the Panthers attempt at (or above) 20 three pointers

    If you haven't guessed by now, this is high level statistical analysis to understand the edge in this game. The Longhorns have played 23 games in which their opponents attempted 20 or less 3 pointers. In those games, the Longhorns are 15-8. Above that level, the Longhorns are 5-4. Northern Iowa has attempted at least 20 three pointers in 23 of their 34 games. So why would the Longhorns want Northern Iowa to shoot more three pointers? Because in the games they have shot less, the Panthers are 9-2.

    Northern Iowa shooting more 3 pointers could be a good thing for Texas.

    4. Get 10+ offensive rebounds

    When the Longhorns get 10 or more offensive rebounds, they are 8-4. Given the size difference for the Longhorns, this should be an area that the Longhorns take advantage of. Cam Ridley's presence should really help in this department.

    5. Isaiah Taylor gets 6+ free throw attempts

    When Isaiah Taylor gets to the line, the Longhorns are more likely to win. When Isaiah Taylor has 6 or more free throw attempts, the Longhorns are 10-3. Furthermore, Isaiah Taylor scored 10 or more points in 12 of these 13 games. It's important for Taylor to get to the line.

    • Mar 18 2016 08:07 AM
    • by Chris Flanagan
  3. Longhorns to face Northern Iowa in NCAA Tournam...

    The Texas Longhorns (20-12) will face the Northern Iowa Panthers (22-12) in Oklahoma City on Friday to begin NCAA Tournament play. Texas was slotted as the 6 seed in the West Region while Northern Iowa, who finished 5th in the Missouri Valley Conference, earned the 11 seed.

    The Longhorns finished Shaka Smart's first regular season as head coach with 4 wins over AP Top-10 opponents and 6 over AP Top-20 opponents. They beat Oklahoma State to end the regular season but lost to Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals.

    Northern Iowa ended the season on a hot streak, winning their last 6 games, including the Missouri Valley Conference Championship Game 56-54 over Evansville.

    The selection into the NCAA Tournament marks the 17th time in 18 years the Longhorns have punched their ticket to the Big Dance.

    Should the Longhorns beat the Panthers and advance, they will face the winner of the (#3) Texas A&M/ (#14) Green Bay game.

    A look at the West Region Bracket:

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    • Mar 13 2016 05:02 PM
    • by Aaron Carrara
  4. Myles and Myles of Texas

    On Tuesday afternoon, Myles Turner ended months of speculation by announcing his collegiate choice. Turner will play basketball for Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns.

    From Trinity High (Euless, TX), Turner is a dynamic prospect that is rated as highly as No. 2 in the country (ESPN). In his senior season, Turner led Trinity to a district championship by averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks per game. Standing at 6’11” and 240 pounds, Trinity’s five-star Center was the focus of speculation across the country because of his anticipated impact on next year’s national championship picture.

    Turner whittled his list of college choices to seven or eight schools, all of which surely talked about his ability to help them cut down the nets. Basketball royalty like Duke and Kentucky were eventually not considered as competition for his final three schools – Kansas, SMU and Texas.

    SMU’s hoops program is surging under Head Coach Larry Brown. The Mustangs finished last season as runner’s up in the NIT tournament and have parlayed their recent successes into a commitment from elite point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Quite frankly, Brown and SMU needed Turner to make a hometown choice. At SMU, Turner could have been the transformative player that vaults the Mustangs to relevance on the national basketball scene.

    At the other end of the spectrum were the Kansas Jayhawks. KU’s roster is loaded with premier talent, including enough talented front court players for some experts to question whether there would be enough minutes available if Turner went to Lawrence. But the Jayhawks have won at least a share of 10 consecutive Big 12 titles, and routinely transform talented prep players into first round NBA draft picks. In terms of prestige, tradition and reputation, Turner would have been foolish not to strongly consider KU.

    But sometimes no matter how good the extremes look on the spectrum, the sweet spot is right in the middle – precisely where the Texas Longhorns positioned themselves. Texas offered some of the attraction of Kansas and part of the charm of SMU. Combine that with being a 3-hour drive from home (plenty close enough for Mom and Dad to see games) and the Horns were the logical choice.

    Digging deeper reveals a 2014-15 Texas roster that returns every single player from last season. Considering that the team played well enough to exceed expectations and Coach Barnes won coach of the year honors, all those returnees already have folks whispering about next season…and this is Texas where next season always means football season.

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    Returning every starter from last season played a role in Turner's decision. (photo credit: usatoday.com)

    Deeper still, there was the exemplary case of Cameron Ridley at Barnes’ disposal. Ridley was a Top 100 recruit coming out of Houston’s Fort Bend Bush High School but the college game overwhelmed him. Texas’ new big man was not ready for the physical demands of the college game and averaged less than five points and rebounds per game. Ridley even struggled to catch the ball cleanly throughout his freshman season and converted free throws at an abysmal 33%.

    (cue Todd Wright – enter stage, left)

    Ridley dropped more than 30 pounds before his sophomore season. In his second year, he posted 10 double-doubles, shot 62% from the free throw line and demonstrated a physical, low-post offensive game that he lacked during his freshman campaign. It wasn't just green vegetables that transformed Ridley’s game - it was his own hard work and dedication combined with the supervision of Head Strength Coach Todd Wright.
    Snap back to present day and that example has to weigh heavily on the mind of a player like Myles Turner. Like Ridley, Turner dominates high school competition based on his physical attributes. Unlike Ridley, Turner’s challenge will be to add weight when he arrives on the 40 Acres.

    Also unlike Ridley, Turner recognized flaws in his style of play. Wanting to be more than a shot blocker, Turner set about developing his offensive game early in his high school career. A solid low-block game aided by a good jump shot were the initial steps. Next came work on offensive moves while facing the basket and learning to attack the rim. Then came a well-timed growth spurt of more than four inches and 20 pounds. In four years at Trinity High, Turner gained more than 50 pounds.

    Voila! Basketball phenom!

    Realistically, Turner is light years ahead on the development curve and Wright hasn’t had a chance to sprinkle fairy dust on him yet. But, when weighing the allure of KU against Texas it is impossible to overstate the value of Wright or Barnes’ track record with draft-able talent.

    Is Texas on par with Kansas? Absolutely not.

    Did Texas approximate Kansas’ advantages while also being close enough for Mom and Dad to drive to every home game? Absolutely.

    Even though it appears like he emerged from the same physical-superfreak mold as Kevin Durant (Turner's favorite player), Turner is not the pure jump shooter that Durant is. Longhorns fans should think of another ex-player when trying to envision Turner’s abilities - his style of play is much more similar to LaMarcus Aldridge. With good range on a jumper that extends out to the perimeter, and low post moves that are similar to Aldridge, Turner’s offensive style should only be described as ‘versatile’.

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    Rick Barnes now has a matchup nightmare to lineup alongside Ridley. (photo credit: brownsvilleherald.com)

    Turner is also a good fit for Barnes’ proclivity for defensive play. Beyond being a willing defender, Turner is a shot blocking machine. Not only will his offensive versatility give Barnes plenty of options, Turner’s game-changing defensive skills will alter how opposing players attack the Texas basket.

    Twice a week Turner participates in strength workouts conducted by personal trainers. He’s also improved his basketball skills in workouts supervised by John Lucas. Neither of those facts stop Turner from listing ‘increasing strength’ and ‘refining offensive moves with back facing the basket’ as his two top goals for improvement during his freshman season.

    Between Texas’ recent history of placing players in the NBA; Austin’s proximity to his home; having Todd Wright on staff; Jai Lucas’ support of the program; and a budding relationship with a Texas roster that returns 100% of it’s players, there were too many logical advantages for Myles Turner to do anything except choose the Longhorns.

    But the one reason not listed yet, may be the one that elicits the most smiles from Texas alumni. Turner was quoted as saying, “No matter where I go, I’m going to get a good education,” adding that, “I want somebody that’s going to work with me. If I had the opportunity to one-and-done or two-and-done, I want to come back and work on my degree.”

    The University of Texas and Myles Turner sound like a perfect match.

    • May 09 2014 10:42 AM
    • by Matt Cotcher
  5. Taking Sides - Adams vs Cotcher

    This year, the BCS is being ushered out by a playoff system. Division I college football will ultimately crown it’s champion in the same way that almost every other sport does. The BCS gave fans an improved championship game for 15 years.

    Since it’s inception when Tennessee beat Florida State in 1998, the BCS matched the top two teams (as determined in their poll) every year. The Associated Press only managed to have the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams play each other in a bowl game in 8 times in over 50 years.

    There are plenty of questions surrounding the new playoff format. Between questioning how many teams should participate to who will be on the committee that selects teams for the playoff, fans are asking every question imaginable about the new system. Perhaps they should take a step back and ask a more important one...Will the playoff be better than the BCS?

    Be sure to tell us what you think on the BOB.


    BRING ON THE PLAYOFF – Sean Adams

    We just saw the best reason for the new playoff system that kicks off during the 2014 season…the NCAA basketball tournament ends with one team winning. There is finality determined and one true champion.

    Our days of worrying about a split national championship in football are over. The argument for the number three team is a thing of the past. While that argument transitions to the 5th ranked team, that changes the argument. If a team is ranked 5th they are virtually guaranteed to have one loss.

    Starting with a four team playoff should make it easy in the future to add four more teams. An 8-team playoff ends all arguments about which teams get included.

    Because of the negativity based around the current BCS system, most fans believe in the “something is better than nothing” theory. The BCS system had its issues and the lack of an actual tournament was central to any criticism.

    Since the probability of a team going undefeated and not making the playoff is extremely remote, no team in the country will be denied an opportunity to play in the final four.

    That alone is enough to make the playoff a grand thing.


    BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – Matt Cotcher

    Everyone is excited for the new playoff system. Why? Do you really want college football to copy March Madness?

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    Are you sure? I get my fill of bracketology in March. I don’t need more in December.

    But beyond the brackets, there is a fundamental flaw with using a massive tournament to decide on the national champion…anyone can win.

    I don’t mean that in the sense that determining a champion on the field of play is bad, rather my problem is that the wrong team walks away as the winner.

    This year’s March Madness illustrates my point perfectly. Kentucky played Connecticut for the championship. Those two teams combined to lose 19 games during the regular season. UConn lost to Houston, and UK lost to Arkansas…twice. Neither Houston or Arkansas was among the top 68 teams invited to the championship tournament.

    What this boils down to is that college football’s regular season is the best thing in sports. Period. By using a playoff to determine the national champion, college football risks diminishing the importance of the regular season.

    UConn beat UK in the basketball championship game. But does anyone believe that the Huskies were the best team in the country? Doubtful. UConn was simply the hottest team during the right three week period.

    • Apr 11 2014 12:11 PM
    • by HornSports Staff