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  1. Instant Breakdown: Northern Iowa

    The Texas Longhorns are the 6 seed in the West regional and they will face the Northern Iowa Panthers. Here is the instant breakdown of the Northern Iowa Panthers.

    Who is Northern Iowa?

    Northern Iowa University is located in Cedar Falls, IA. They have an enrollment of nearly 14,000 students. Their basketball team is in the Missouri Valley conference.

    How good are they?

    Really good mid-major. Ben Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa since 2001 and became the head coach in 2006. He is the winningest coach in Northern Iowa History. He has posted 2-30 win seasons and won 20+ games 7 of his 10 seasons as head coach.

    What are some quality wins?

    They beat North Carolina at home in November and they beat Iowa State in Des Moines in the Big 4 classic. They are also on a 6 game winning streak.

    What are their bad losses?

    An 11 seed for a mid-major is an indicator of a good team, however, they are not as good as the seeding suggests. They got swept in the regular season by Loyala-Chicago who only won 7 Missouri Valley conference games.

    When they faced the middle of the Missouri Valley conference, they split the games again those opponents. WIthout the Missouri Valley tournament buzzer beater, they would be out.

    Was the buzzer beater awesome?

    Oh yeah.



    So where do they matchup well against Texas?

    3 point shooting is what Northern Iowa does best. They ranked 48th in the country in 3 point shooting. If they start hitting 3 pointers and Texas can't make shots, the Longhorns could be out early.

    Where do the Longhorns have an advantage?

    Inside the paint. The Longhorns do well in blocking shots. The Panthers are very tall at the guard spot but they do not have a big man taller than 6'9". Opponents of the Panthers rank 68th in the nation in blocked shots against Northern Iowa. I doubt they will challenge the paint defense of the Longhorns but I would expect Isaiah Taylor to have driving lanes and the opportunity to score a lot of points.

    So who wins?

    The 6 seeds have beaten the 11 seed 64% of the time. While Northern Iowa is on a hot streak, the Longhorns have the size and skill to take care of the Panthers and hopefully get a chance for revenge against Texas A&M.

    *Texas wins 72-57*

    • Mar 14 2016 08:49 AM
    • by Chris Flanagan
  2. NCAA Tournament Preview: Texas Vs Michigan

    With a dramatic buzzer beater, Texas defeated Arizona State on Thursday night. In doing so, the Longhorns advance to the (cough, cough) 3rd round to play the Michigan Wolverines (26-8, 15-3).

    Saturday’s game will be the third time that Texas and Michigan have played in the NCAA tournament. The last time the two teams faced each other was in 1996. The Horns won that game, 80-76 and notably it was played in Milwaukee, WI – the same site as Saturday’s tilt.

    The Longhorns’ connections to this game don’t end there…freshman Martez Walker is from Detroit (Pershing High School). Walker has scored in double figures in 3 of the last 4 games and will look to extend that streak against Michigan. The Detroit native had a career-best 16 points against ASU. He also had a career high of 9 made free throws (10 attempts) on Thursday night.

    The Longhorns also have experience against Michigan’s coach, John Beilein. Texas played a Beilein-coached West Virginia squad in 2005, eking out a 76-75 win.

    The Wolverines enter the contest after beating the Wofford Terriers, 57-40. Michigan shot just 3-18 in the first half but was able to rely on their athleticism to hold a defensive advantage throughout the game. Normally, the Wolverines are an extremely efficient offense, so a look at Thursday’s offensive numbers would lead most to think that Wofford had a chance. However, the Terriers were a miserable 1-19 from three-point range courtesy of Michigan’s defense.

    This year, Michigan won it’s first outright Big Ten title in 28 seasons despite playing most of the season without Mitch McGary (Preseason Wooden & Naismith lists). In his seventh year as the maize and blue’s coach, Beilein led Michigan back to the NCAA tournament after an 11-year drought in 2009. The Wolverines have now played in 4 consecutive NCAA championships, and advanced to the championship game last year.

    Saturday’s game between Texas and Michigan will be a contrast in styles. Texas prides itself on team defense and rebounding, while Michigan led the Big 10 in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage. Uncharacteristically, both teams advanced to this game via styles that defy that statement – Texas used a balanced offense (6 players in double figures was a season high) and Michigan limited Wofford to 40 points and 34% from the field.

    Key metrics

    • The Wolverines commit more than 14 fouls/game. The highest rate in the country.
    • Texas is now 7-1 in games decided by 3 points or fewer.
    • Michigan is a strong 2nd half team. The Wolverines have six wins after trailing at halftime.
    • Under Barnes, the Horns win 90% of their games when they hold opponents under 40% from the floor. Michigan’s fgp this season is 47.6%.
    • Michigan has 14.2 assists/game and a +1.5 turnover margin, but a rebounding margin of only +0.9/game. Conversely, Texas owns a +6.9 rebounds/game margin, but has a -0.8 turnover margin.
    Prediction

    Any time two teams have such disparate styles of play, it is difficult to predict the game with any certainty. Michigan is an excellent team and some of their strengths matchup well against what have proved to be weaknesses in Texas losses. However, the Wolverines rely on a lot of jump shots and in a single elimination tournament, that can be problematic. To pull off the upset, the Horns must play well defensively. Whether it’s contesting jump shots or being physical off the ball, Texas cannot afford to let Michigan get too comfortable on offense.

    Shooting nearly 60% in the first half against ASU, Texas had one of it’s best efforts of the season. But, however tempting, to try and match Michigan offensively would be a mistake. Instead, if the Horns can balance their scoring and consistently make the extra pass to develop rhythm on the offensive end, they slow the game down and limit Michigan’s possessions.

    Can Texas beat Michigan? Absolutely. Will Texas beat Michigan? Not likely, but they call it March Madness for a reason.

    • Mar 25 2014 08:51 AM
    • by bbdude
  3. NCAA Tournament: Texas beats Arizona State

    Regardless of what Cameron Ridley does in his basketball career, he will go down in Texas Longhorns history as the man who made a buzzer beater in the NCAA Tournament. On Thursday night, the sophomore from Houston stole the game back from a streaking Arizona State team, vaulting the Texas Longhorns to a win in their Round of 64 game, 87-85, in Milwaukee, WI .

    Turning point of the Game:

    Is there any doubt?



    Players Of The Game:

    Cameron Ridley, Demarcus Holland, and Martez Walker

    All three of these players had a significant impact for the Longhorns:

    • Off the bench, Martez Walker had a career high 16 points. Javan Felix was in foul trouble most of the night night, and Walker helped hold the Longhorns’ offensive rhythm.
    • Demarcus Holland was good defensively with 3 steals, but it was his offensive efficiency that stood out. Holland was 6-6 from the field and 2-2 from the stripe for a total of 14 points.
    • Cameron Ridley was Texas’ leading scorer with 17 points (Note: It was the game winning bucket that made Ridley the team’s top scorer) . Picking up his 4th foul with 2:20 to go in the game, Ridley did an excellent job of maintaining his intensity. Of course there’s also the small matter of grabbing the key offensive rebound and scoring the game-winning basket at the buzzer.
    Epilogue

    This was an important win for the Texas Longhorns. While Rick Barnes will want to address the team’s lack of consistency on Thursday night, one of the tournament’s cliches holds true – “survive and advance.” Texas advances to play the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. Michigan is the No. 2 seed in the Midwest region and won the Big 10′s regular season title. The Wolverines are led by Nick Stauskas who is a sharp shooter from 3 point range.
    If the Longhorns want to dance in the Sweet 16, they will have to play a near perfect game. It’s worth noting that this Texas team is capable of that level of effort, as evidenced in February against the Kansas Jayhawks.
    Game time for the Saturday has not been announced. When tipoff is set, Horn Sports will provide the information.

    • Mar 25 2014 08:52 AM
    • by bbdude
  4. NCAA Tournament Preview: Texas vs. Arizona State

    If you’re a college basketball fan, there’s nothing better than the first four days of March Madness – the brackets; the upsets; the buzzer beaters. There isn’t anything in sports that consistently matches the all-encompassing magic of the first few days of college basketball’s championship tournament. Even the Super Bowl struggles to claim superiority over March Madness…Super Bowls Squares versus Brackets?

    For Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns, those first four days haven’t been a Cinderella story recently. In fact, missing the 2013 tournament coupled with an ugly first round loss in the College Basketball Invitational, had many fans convinced that changes were needed in the program.

    Then the 2014 season started. Texas exceeded fan expectations with a youthful roster. Hope was rekindled.

    That hope has largely been dashed. Since February 1st, the Horns are 7-6, going 2-6 in road/neutral site games.

    But this is March. Starting today, there are 64 teams that have an opportunity to reel off six wins and be crowned national champion. Just like everyone else, the Longhorns are starting with a proverbial clean slate. Whether they find the groove that carried them through January or are dogged by their late-season swoon is up to them.

    Texas faces an Arizona State team that had it’s own share of struggles throughout the second half of PAC 12 play. ASU finished their season with three straight losses and lost 5 of their last 7 games.

    The teams’ connections don’t end with their February struggles. The Sun Devils’ Head Coach, Herb Sendek, was a graduate assistant on Barnes’ staff at Providence. The two also coached against each other in the ACC while Barnes was at Clemson and Sendek was running NCSU’s program. Beyond these connections, Sendek suffers from many of the same criticisms as Barnes – poor tournament performances and a lacking offense.

    The reality is that after these teams square off in Milwaukee tonight at the Bradley Center, one of the fan bases is going to be saying, “Told you so“, while the other repeats the March Madness battle cry, “Survive and Advance!

    Key metrics for tonight:

    • Texas is 5-4 against Top 25 competition while ASU is 2-2. 9 of the Horns’ 10 losses were against teams that eventually made the field of 64.
    • The Longhorns score just over 74 ppg; the Sun Devils score 75 ppg. Texas allows 70 ppg; the ASU defense averages 69 ppg.
    • Texas is 10-3 this season in games decided by fewer than 7 points.
    • Arizona State is 5-0 this year when getting at least five days before a game.
    • The contrasts between Texas wins and losses is stark. In 23 wins, teams were limited to 64.9 ppg, 37% fgp, and Texas owned almost a 10 rpg margin. In 10 losses, the Horns allowed 81.9 ppg, 46.5% fgp and Texas held only a 1.8 rpg advantage.
    Prediction
    Rick Barnes has been quoted about concerns over defending ASU’s point guard, Jahii Carson. Expect Carson to get his points. The key to this game is to make sure that Carson’s scoring doesn’t grease the skids for the entire ASU offense. Regardless of Carson’s performance, Texas needs to maintain control of the paint and defend the other 4 positions very well. Where the Longhorns have struggled late in the season is when they over-compensate for one player and end up suffering a total defensive breakdown as a result.

    Expect this game to remain close deep into the second half.

    • Mar 25 2014 08:53 AM
    • by bbdude