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  1. BY: Chris Flanagan On Tuesday, the Chicago Bulls announced that Fred Hoiberg will be their new head coach. How does this affect Texas, the Big 12, and college basketball on a national scale? Texas: Good Shaka Smart came to Texas with the difficult task of building the Longhorns into a championship contender. That task is easier with the departure of Hoiberg. Iowa State could bring in a coach that keeps the ball rolling in Ames, but I'll believe the can hire Hoiberg's equal only after it happens. Hoiberg leaving Ames for Chicago makes Smart's opportunity to achieve his goals more realistic and it shortens the timeline for doing so.. Big 12: Bad The Big 12 lost a great coach - Hoiberg made the conference more competitive and raised the stature of the league. Replacing a coach who has a natural ability to lead unheralded players to championship level isn't easy. The Big 12 conference has some solid coaches: Scott Drew, Bill Self and Bruce Weber are very good. However, with the departure of Hoiberg. the perception of the league took a hit. College basketball: Bad College basketball coaches to the NBA is nothing new, but there seems to be more mutual interest from both sides recently. Billy Donovan left UF, and now Hoiberg is leaving the Cyclones. Bill Self has been rumored for NBA head coaching jobs for years. When will he leave for the NBA? What about Smart if he has immediate success at Texas? The trend is obvious: college basketball coaches are appealing to the NBA. If the best coaches continue to leave NCAA programs, college hoops will keep backsliding.
  2. 4* Small Forward Tevin Mack (Dreher HS - Columbia, SC) will announce his college decision at 12:30 CST today. Stay tuned.
  3. http://www.big12sports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10410&ATCLID=210088290 Texas will be favored in that game.
  4. Courtesy of UT Athletics Department: Sponsor, tip time and TV info announced for Texas Basketball game in China UT-Washington matchup in China will be played on Nov. 14 in Shanghai (Nov. 13 in U.S.) and televised by ESPN; Alibaba to serve as presenting sponsor, and Federation of University Sports of China will act as co-host for game. SAN FRANCISCO — The 2015-16 season opener for The University of Texas Men’s Basketball team against the University of Washington will be played Nov. 14 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai at 11 a.m. local Shanghai time, the Pac-12 Conference announcedWednesday morning. ESPN will broadcast the inaugural Pac-12 China Game live in the United States on Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. Central. “Opening the 2015-2016 season against the Washington Huskies in Shanghai, China allows Texas Athletics to provide an unparalleled educational experience for our students, builds upon the international reach of the Longhorns brand and presents a tremendous opportunity to develop academic and other broad-based relationships for the entire University of Texas,” University of Texas Men’s Athletics Director Steve Patterson said. The Pac-12 and Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company, also announced a partnership to support the upcoming historic Pac-12 China Game. The game and two-year partnership with Alibaba Group represent a major first for sports in China. Alibaba Group is the unrivaled leader in mobile in China, and the game will be distributed live via Alibaba’s mobile and digital distribution platforms. With this game, the Pac-12 will become the first U.S. sports league, collegiate or professional, to host a regular season contest in China. The partnership with Alibaba Group will continue into the 2016-17 academic year and support a second regular season Pac-12 China Game between schools to be announced at a later date. “This partnership is about so much more than a basketball game,” said Jim Wilkinson, Alibaba Group’s Senior Vice President. “As these student-athletes complete their education and enter the global economy, China/US relations will be central to the future of the world in which they live. We truly believe that this trip will provide these student-athletes with a once in a lifetime chance to learn about China, to make new friends, and to hopefully impact their futures in a positive way.” In addition to being the presenting sponsor, Alibaba Group is also developing an academic program for the visiting student-athletes. While the game will be played in Shanghai, during their visit to China both teams will travel from Shanghai to Hangzhou, China for an educational program there. Longtime Pac-12 partner Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC), which operates under China’s Ministry of Education, will serve as the co-host of the game. The FUSC is China’s national solely-authorized organization for university sports. Since 2011, the Pac-12 and FUSC have worked together to put on exhibition games featuring Pac-12 men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as coaching clinics and educational symposiums on collegiate sports.
  5. submitted Today, 12:06 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Chris Flanagan Deloss Dodds famously said, "We are the Joneses," and that bravado emboldened critics of the Texas Longhorns program. Even without Dodds’ quote, there is no shortage of people who revel in the misfortune of Texas athletic programs. Being a target of other fans’ ire comes with the territory of being a very large program. As much as the burnt orange faithful enjoy the advantages of being a heavyweight in college athletics, there are even more folks that like to tear down the monster. On Thursday, the monster reminded everyone why it is both loved and reviled. The Texas basketball program did something that others, including hoops blue blood UCLA, could not do; hire Shaka Smart. The hire reinforced that Texas is the 'Joneses'. What will Shaka Smart bring to Texas? High-pressure defense and relentless recruiting. Rick Barnes was a good recruiter and recruiting was improved over the past two seasons. However, Barnes still was not at the level he was when he first took over the program. At VCU, Shaka Smart recruited and signed eight 4-star players, many of whom were recruited by programs like North Carolina, UConn, and other major programs. Now Texas has a coach that will doggedly pursue the biggest names in recruiting. The ‘havoc’ defense that Smart coached at VCU employs multiple full court presses, resulting in the Rams being ranked near the top of steals and turnover margin every year. Smart’s defensive style helped VCU win multiple conference championships. Rick Barnes is a defense-first coach, but used a completely different style than what Smart brings to Austin. Expect Texas to improve defensive presence in the transition from Barnes’ style to Smart’s ‘havoc’. Expectations for Smart at Texas are already mountainous, even though he hasn’t been formally announced yet – when a coach is very successful at a previous stop and then goes to a program that demands excellence, such is the natural order of things. The danger for Smart is that there are Texas fans already believing a national championship is on the horizon for the Longhorns. Contrast that with the reality that Smart has not gotten past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament since going to the Final Four in 2011. Whether Smart provides results at a level that appeases Longhorn fans is the central question. At UT, the resources are plentiful, and Smart will add his energy and charisma. For now, that will be enough….emphasis on “for now”.
  6. He is a transfer from the Washington Huskies. He led the Huskies in points AND assists last season. — Twitter API (@twitterapi) November 7, 2011 Here is his stat sheet. Here is some highlights of him playing against Washington State.
  7. Thoughts and prayers to the coaches' families, and the Illinois State family. News Story
  8. submitted Today, 07:33 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Matt Cotcher @mlcotcher Reports broke on Saturday afternoon that the University of Texas planed to fire Head Coach Rick Barnes on Sunday or Monday. Unnamed sources then indicated that Athletic Director Steve Patterson wants to hire a new coach “within a week”. A short timeline for a major decision typically indicates that there is significant momentum behind the scenes. In other words, Patterson knows who he wants to hire and is confident about his ability to do so. Regardless, here is a rolodex of names – some of which should…some of which should not be considered: The Nick Saban syndrome - John Calipari; Tom Izzo; Mike Krzyzewski; Rick Pitino; Brad Stevens The Longhorn fanbase believes “We’re Texas” means Bellmont can pull out a checkbook and hire anybody. Throw in a new facility, the in-state high school talent available, and a great coach – stir – bake at 350 for 6 months, and presto…Texas is instantly elite. Not only is it not that easy, the names on the list above aren’t taking the Texas job – no matter what flight tracker says. Plan “B” – Billy Donovan; Bill Self Names that should be on this list, but aren’t: Mark Few; Mark Turgeon The first thing I need to make clear is that I despise the term “money whip”. Internet lingo like BMD and money whip have no place in every day lexicon. Rant over. Consider Donovan and Self as two realistic names that are a notch below the first list – “Krzyzewski-light”, if you will. Donovan won national titles at Florida in 2006 and 2007. A branch from Rick Pitino’s coaching tree, Donovan’s Gators missed making the field of 64 in 2008 and 2009 before a string of three consecutive trips to the Elite 8, followed by a Final 4 appearance in 2013. Texas fans are familiar with Self, coach of the Kansas Jayhawks: the team that’s dominated the Big 12 for a decade. While Self and the Jayhawks ran roughshod over the league for ten years, their NCAA results were not as consistent. Self won a national title in 2008, but fell victim to several tournament upsets since that championship. Whether Donovan or Self would take a call from Patterson is questionable. Both men have turned down other job offers but if Patterson wants a proven winner, with experience at a program similar to Texas, he has to make both calls. A source indicated to HornSports that Donovan is Patterson’s top choice. Splash hires – Gregg Marshall; Shaka Smart "Splash hire” is akin to money whip in my book. The concept of making a head coaching hire in the interest of the publicity buzz it creates is short-sighted and a trap that snares too many Athletic Directors and General Managers. That’s not to say that either Marshall or Smart would be poor choices as the next head coach of the Longhorns – it’s more in the interest of pointing out that no matter how much success Wichita State and Virginia Commonwealth have, translating those accomplishments at a school like UT is a very difficult proposition. Marshall parlayed significant success at Winthrop University to the head coaching job at Wichita State University. After a couple forgettable seasons while Marshall strengthened the roster, the Shockers have become one of the most powerful mid-major teams in the country. Wichita State followed up a Final 4 appearance in 2013, by streaking to a 35-0 before losing to Kentucky by two points in the NCAA tournament in the Round of 32. In 2015, Marshall guided WSU to the Sweet 16 before losing to Notre Dame. Smart’s VCU Rams won the CBI tournament in 2010. VCU then advanced to the Final 4 of the NCAA Championship in 2011, Smart’s second year at the school. In the last 4 years, VCU has advanced to the Round of 32 twice, and has two losses in the opening round. While most think of Virginia Commonwealth as a tiny underdog, it should be noted that Smart was preceded by Anthony Grant (76-25 in three seasons) and Jeff Capel before that (79-41 in three seasons). Others receiving votes: John Beilein; Tony Bennett; Fred Hoiberg; Jim Larrañaga Considering that there are six possibilities listed above these names, there is little chance that any of them get consideration, much less a phone call from Patterson. Nevertheless, each of these coaches represents an attractive option for UT. They all coach in a Power 5 conference, so they’re accustomed to all the trappings associated with a job like Texas. Additionally, all four coaches have won conference tournaments or regular season championships. Bottom line is that Beilein, Bennett, Hoiberg, and Larrañaga will not get an interview unless Patterson is turned down four or five times. However, a case could be made for any of these names to be higher on a list of potential hires. Rick Barnes meets John Mackovic: Jamie Dixon; Jay Wright Aside from being the best dressed men in college hoops, Dixon and Wright share several commonalities: they win a lot of games, they have historical success in March Madness on their resume, and they have fanbases that think their school can do better. On the face of things, hiring Dixon or Wright seems like replacing Rick Barnes with Rick Barnes. There’s something to be said for a change in scenery and both coaches would find it easier to recruit Dallas and Houston while at Texas, than it currently is to recruit East Coast stars to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Beyond that, Dixon and Wright are East Coasters and have the potential to acclimate at UT like John Mackovic and his taste for wine. Bottom line is that either choice would be considered an extremely safe hire by Patterson and would be met with apathy by burnt orange hoop-heads. High risk = High reward = You’re fired if you get it wrong: Larry Krystkowiak; Archie Miller Krystkowiak and Miller are both young men whose coaching stars are on the rise. Compared to VCU or WSU, at Utah (Krystkowiak) and Dayton (Miller), both coaches are more familiar with the pressures and responsibilities that come with a job like Texas. The hang-up with both names is that Patterson is already gambling with his hire of Charlie Strong. Smart money is that Patterson will make a safer choice in hoops in hopes of mitigating the risk in his portfolio.
  9. HD and BON are reporting that, dispite earlier denials, UT is negotiating with Smart. http://texas.scout.com/forums/2441-horns-house/13775341-sources-texas-hoping-to-finalizing-terms-with-smart/ms/169994431?s=110 http://www.burntorangenation.com/2015/4/1/8326589/shaka-smart-deal-texas-longhorns
  10. submitted Today, 05:42 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Chris Flanagan The race for Texas's new head basketball coach is on, and is replete with rumors on coaches that are and are not going to be part of the search. Here are the favorites, longshots, dark horses, and my pick for the next Texas men's basketball head coach.: The Favorite: Shaka Smart If reports are true that the Texas Longhorns want to have the position filled within a week, Smart’s name is at the top of the list. Coaches and athletic directors often attend the Final Four, and my guess is Steve Patterson will be in Indianapolis, as will Smart. While there, it’s not a stretch to think that Patterson interviews, negotiates, and reaches a decision on who he wants to be the next head coach. The Darkhorses: Larry Krystkowiak; Archie Miller; Billy Donovan; Chris Mack Krystkowiak has gone from 6 wins in his first season as Utah head coach to the Sweet 16 in his fourth season. He also has NBA experience so Patterson might rate that highly. Archie Miller is definitely getting a look but might be better placed in the longshot category. Billy Donovan makes sense for many reasons: he is relatively young (49), and has been with Florida for nearly 20 years…it’s not too farfetched to think Donovan might be looking for a change. However, he is one year removed from the winningest season at Florida (36 wins) and he will go down as the greatest coach in Florida history. I have doubts that Donovan would leave that behind and try something new. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, so I bet Patterson makes a phone call but Donovan stays at Florida. Chris Mack is a Xavier Alumni who has sustained what Sean Miller built while coaching there, but questions surround whether Mack can build a perennial power in a power conference on his own. I do not have those reservations. Chris Mack has the same amount of NCAA tournament appearances as Shaka Smart (5 in 6 years) but he guided Xavier from the Atlantic-10 to the Big East seamlessly by making the NCAA tournament in Xavier's first 2 years in the conference. That is quite impressive. Longshot: Brad Stevens This is thinking outside the box but it could make sense. Brad Stevens is in Boston but the Celtics are bad. Considering that the Celtics are in playoff contention, the Eastern conference is even worse.. In Stevens, you have a coach who left Butler and is likely going to be fired in the next 2 years. He represents UT's chance to get Rick Pitino 2.0, and would probably stay in Austin and build a national title contender. Who will win the race? Shaka Smart. Shaka Smart is a great coach who has sustained tremendous success at VCU since the team’s final four appearance. Smart is only 38 years old and could be viewed in Austin much the same way that Billy Donovan is in Gainesville. Bottom line is that Smart is comfortable with less of the spotlight (read: Texas is a football school), and would be attracted to UT’s resources and access to a great recruiting base. Smart is a high energy personality, and his team emulates that personality. His "Havoc" defense consistently is one of the best in the nation: between 2011-2014, VCU ranked #1 nationally in turnovers and steals forced per possession. The Longhorns biggest flaw this past season was the inability to create turnovers that sparked the transition game. That would never be a problem with Shaka Smart.
  11. Rick Barnes has been named the new head basketball at Tennessee. Congrats to Coach Barnes http://es.pn/1GckKKq
  12. Let's play "what if." "What if" Barnes is not our coach next year: Would you take Bill Self if he would come to Austin?
  13. submitted Today, 07:46 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Chris Flanagan With reports surfacing that Rick Barnes will be fired by the University of Texas, the Longhorns hoops program will begin the hazy task of finding their next basketball coach. Before that happens, a review of how things got to the point of firing the winningest basketball coach of all time at Texas is in order. Recent failure to live up to expectations Rick Barnes is a great recruiter – Texas basketball landed several elite hoop recruits at a football school. However, especially in recent years, the resulting seasons while having those recruits did not live up to expectation. 2015 was the epitome of that failure. Under Barnes, Texas teams tended to peak midseason, then they would get beaten by teams with less talent. Ultimately, Texas tended to do just enough to get themselves in the tournament. Such a pattern typically happens to coaches who are rebuilding a program, but have a down year. It shouldn't happen to a coach who is in their 17th season at a school. Recruiting momentum in Texas By all accounts, Texas signee Kerwin Roach is a great Texas guard. However, Roach is not the highest rated Texas recruit out of this last recruiting class. In fact, Roach wasn't ranked in the Top 5. Conversely, Texas A&M, with a struggling program, landed 3 of the Top 5 Texas recruits. Several years ago, Texas was a contender for Julius Randle but ultimately lost to Kentucky. Worse was the recruitment of the Harrison twins, who did not consider the Horns. The persistent failure to sign players ranked among the top five recruits in the state of Texas lead many to question Rick Barnes. Basketball recruiting is done on a more national scale than football, but UT’s coach should be at least getting one of the top five Texas recruit every year. It's all about the money...and a new stadium The intriguing question is whether Steve Patterson makes the move to fire Barnes if the Frank Erwin Center wasn't planned to be demolished in a few years. New stadiums cost a lot of money, and Patterson wants the city of Austin to kick in some help. The city of Austin isn’t going to be motivated to invest money if it won’t get a return on the investment. At this point Patterson is going to have to sweeten the deal for the city of Austin to get involved and that means raising money through many of the donors throughout the basketball program. Simply stated, no one likes to be a part of a stale program – donors want to be in on the ground floor of something special. Texas needs to go big for this hire to excite donors and the city. There are already multiple names being mentioned but Patterson may need to consider going for a splash hire to generate momentum. Epilogue I don't believe Rick Barnes deserves to be fired for all he has done for the program. My hope was that Barnes would remain part of the Texas basketball program in a different capacity. Since the Statesman is reporting that Barnes is fired, my guess is he didn't believe he deserved to be fired and wouldn’t accept any other role in the program. In all likelihood, Barnes probably wants to keep coaching; however, obviously won’t be doing so in Austin. I expect Barnes to take a job closer to North Carolina at a smaller school. Whoever takes over the Texas basketball program is going to have to be someone who can hit the ground running. Someone who can get big-time recruits to play for a football school and then win big at that football school. Billy Donovan did it. Thad Matta is doing it. Now the question is whether Texas finds a coach that can do the same.
  14. Once a big man has foot problems it's over for them. I haven't ever seen or heard of an athelete coming back from a Jones fracture. I'm afraid we'll never see the Durant who could take over a game like he has in the past. Goodness I hope in wrong, he's the only reason I watch the NBA.
  15. submitted Today, 08:38 AM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Corey Elliot @CoreyElliot Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is referred to as the definition of insanity. So, technically, all Texas basketball fans are insane. The majority of Longhorns hoops fans watched the same, dysfunctional team put out a lethargic, and in some cases uninterested, effort over and over again expecting a different result, only to be let down a mile short of successful, and stuck in the middle of mediocrity. Let’s face it. Most of you reading this article wrote off the Longhorns basketball season before the drama and suspense of selection Sunday even began. It’s OK. The guy writing the article did, too. But I’m inviting you back to join me in believing these Longhorns are still capable of making us all eat our words. The many, many words, and tweets and message board rants, we have all surely spoken and written. Because as cliché as it may be, this is ‘March Madness’ and anything can happen – and I mean anything. Just look at the Longhorns opponent – ask the fans in navy blue and white about being underdogs, overlooked and underestimated. They won’t have a reply for you, they’ll just point at the two Final Four banners hanging inside historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Since the Longhorns’ appearance in the 2003 Final Four, two 11 seeds, three 8 seeds and one 9 seed have made it to the Final Four. A deep tournament run for Texas is not impossible it’s just very unlikely. But here’s the catch: it’s very unlikely for schools like Texas Southern, Belmont, Robert Morris and UAB to make the Final Four because they lack the talent and size (Man, it’s a rough time to be a UAB fan, but I digress). Texas has the talent, the size and the athleticism to ruin a lot of office bracket pool dreams. Just because they struggled through injuries –and I’m not making excuses—bad coaching and the inability to get on the same page, it doesn’t negate the talent and the potential on the roster. Texas had a bad year. Ranked as high as six in the AP poll, you could even get by with saying a ‘devastating year’. But that does not negate the talent on that roster. The talent, I might add, that is leaps and bounds above every player on the Butler roster, aside from Roosevelt Jones. The reason it is very unlikely for Texas to make a deep run is, well, if you’ve been watching the same team I have, it’s been hard for Texas to score above 60 a few times this season. The Longhorns are in their own way in the same way an actual longhorn steer is in the way of traffic on a back country road; it ain’t moving no matter how many times you honk the horn and that’s frustrating. Texas basketball has been frustrating. Notice the use of past tense? “Has been”, meaning Thursday can be a new beginning for this team rather than the same ending. I don’t like to put the cart in front of the horse (or make analogies that remind me of the Sooner Schooner) but if the Longhorns advance out of the first round I feel like this team could catch a whiff of confidence and ignite a fire within itself. But Thursday’s matchup with Butler is the only game on the docket right now, and if Texas isn’t prepared to exhaust all resources, and rewrite the end of this season’s story, then this game might as well be viewed as the last game of a devastating season. I sat in Rupp Arena and watched Texas, without Isaiah Taylor, give the almighty Kentucky Wildcats all they could handle for 35 minutes. Not finishing may very well be the epitome of Texas basketball this year, but if we are going by eye tests and potential, I won’t budge. Texas is as tall, athletic and talented as any of the higher seeds in the field. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Texas was a play-in team. I won’t be surprised if Texas loses to Butler in the first round. I won’t be surprised if Texas wipes the floor with Butler, either. I won’t be surprised if Texas makes a run to the regional final for a rematch with Kentucky any more than I wouldn’t be surprised if Butler wins by 20. I will, however, be very disappointed if I tune in to watch Texas in hopes of finally seeing what this team is capable of come to fruition only to see the same, lousy, tired result. For the sake of every acre on the forty, Gabriel and his horn, and all the Bevos that have come and gone, this team deserves to have the success many believed they’d see before conference play began. Whether it ends in Indianapolis, or at the hands of a team from Indianapolis, I only hope that it ends with a team that did everything it is capable of, playing for a coach that deserves an ending on his terms, the way he always pictured it ending. Because that’s what Rick Barnes deserves. For his sake, I hope the Longhorns play out of their minds.
  16. A Horn Sports Beach Towel and a T-shirt for the winner. Use ESPN. Group name is: Horn Sports BBall http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/2015/en/group?groupID=689413
  17. Just checking in to see if any of our resident insiders have heard anything yet? Barnes on the roasting pit? TOS has a warroom thing going on but I'm no longer a member... Anyway, who's your pick and why? Educate this Texas Ex on the coaches we're going to look at. Assuming Barnes is handed his severance and walking papers.
  18. Chris Flanagan You have to hand it to the tournament committee: They really do their homework and try to create good matchups in the first round. What Butler does well, Texas doesn't, and vice versa. Butler is terrible at getting defensive rebounds which plays perfectly into the size advantage that Texas has. Butler is very good at shooting 3 pointers, which Texas is terrible at defending. At the end of the day, Stewart Mandel said it best: "Texas will upset Butler in the Round of 64 because it’s written in the Texas constitution that Rick Barnes will always do just enough to keep the school from firing him. Notre Dame will eliminate the ’Horns a round later, but Barnes will get an extension, causing Texas hoops fans to befriend Iowa football fans for support." March madness is March Madness though. I wouldn't be shocked if Northeastern pulled the upset and Texas somehow lucked into the Sweet Sixteen. Rick Barnes is like that person who should have been fired years ago but somehow when they are an inch away from the band saw, they do just enough to save their job. It frustrates everyone. Rick Barnes will get the win, make his case that its bad to fire a coach who got to the Round of 32, and promises a better team next season. But at least you can play hookey at work and catch a Texas win at the bar. Texas 65 Butler 58 Corey Elliot It goes back to talent, and Texas has way more of it than Butler. There is no reason the Longhorns, given their size and abilities, should struggle with a smaller Butler team that relies heavily on the 3 point line. Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann is a damn good coach. Rick Barnes has some success in his tenure, but we all know he isn’t getting it done right now. The chess match that is coaching will be interesting to see, but in the end, Barnes has more talent and if he will give his talent free reign to shine, the Longhorns hold the advantage. Texas 70 Butler 58
  19. submitted Today, 04:36 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Matt Cotcher @mlcotcher FINAL SCORE: Butlet 56 – Texas 48 The 11-seeded Longhorns put up a solid fight against the No. 6 Butler Bulldogs, but the effort wasn’t enough to extend the season, losing 56-48. Several problems that plagued Texas throughout the season again reared their head, culminating in another disappointing loss. The 2014-15 season started with a lofty ranking and even higher expectations from the fan base, but the season will be remembered by fans as a big disappointment. 14 losses from a team that started the year with Final 4 aspirations will be more than enough to fuel critics of Head Coach Rick Barnes. The game against Butler proved nothing but a frustrating example of the majority of the season. Against Butler, Texas was hampered by ineffective offense for extended periods, and a collection of individual talents that refused to play as a team. 1st Half: Butler 26 – Texas 24 Texas moved the ball well early, but looked nervous and rushed shots. The looks are there, but the team has to relax and let them happen. Isaiah Taylor can dribble penetrate at will, but the referees are watching him closely, as evidenced by an early offensive foul, and a double-dribble call. Those aren’t calls normally made on Taylor. In the first ten minutes of the game, 50% of Texas shots are 3-point attempts. That’s an ineffective mix and another sign of nerves. Jonathan Holmes didn’t score until there was only 4:52 left in the half. In the first 15 minutes, he only attempted two outside jumpers. That’s the Holmes from February. Starting at the 4:52 mark, his consecutive three pointers was the Holmes from March. Butler put together a five minute, 14-2 run starting around 10:00. It is imperative for the Horns to narrow the Bulldogs’ lead before halftime. 7 turnovers by Texas in the first fifteen minutes, and the Bulldogs capitalizing with fast break buckets. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Holmes ignited the offense at the end of the half. He scored eight points in four minutes and cut Butler’s lead to four points. Lammert & Turner are not scoring, but they are rebounding very aggressively – playing their role and finding a way to contribute. 2nd Half: Butler 30 –Texas 24 In the opening minute of the half, Texas took a lead on a 3-pointer by Holmes. But team defense and rebounding deserve the most credit for the 1-point advantage. The teams traded misses for several minutes before Roosevelt Jones went to the bench (then locker room) with an injury. Texas retook the lead with two Felix free throws at the 15:00 mark. Myles Turner is letting his lack of offense affect the rest of his game. With the offense stagnating around the 12:00 mark, Texas started forcing the ball inside and drawing fouls. Those are effective possessions even though they aren’t resulting in points. With 10:00 to go, Texas is in the bonus and Butler is in the double bonus. This game is going to have a long finish. Taylor had a reverse layup at 9:30 – he’s been surprisingly quiet offensively since those early whistles. Taylor was 1-9 from the floor when he made the layup, but that reverse layup signaled his arrival offensively. As he has throughout March, Taylor carried the team for the next eight minutes. Great hustle and team defense by Texas forced Butler to burn three consecutive timeouts. Taylor did not convert on consecutive dribble-drives, and Butler built a 7-point lead as a result of the drought. The Horns have too much talent to rely on one player to create offense down the stretch. A late three from Felix gave the Horns one last gasp, but Butler free throw shooting and a missed 3-pointer from Holmes effectively ended the game. Top takeaway For most of the season this team played more like a collection of individuals than a cohesive unit. Whether the blame for that is on player or Rick Barnes is debatable. The stat story The Horns had seven players score in the 1st half and only made 9 field goals. They also had 6 assists on those FG’s. Texas shot 25% from the floor in the first fifteen minutes of the 2nd half. Free throws: Butler shot 28 – Texas shot 12. That’s not a result of lopsided officiating. The Horns finished with a +13 rebound margin and held Butler to 33.3% shooting. Those two marks normally indicate a Texas win. Looking ahead With the loss, the season is mercifully over. Now Steve Patterson will assess the basketball program, including head coach Rick Barnes, and make decisions about what is best for UT. The next 30 days promise to be interesting.
  20. submitted Today, 09:24 AM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Corey Elliot @CoreyElliot I’ve covered the Bulldogs a few times this season and, even without Brad Stevens at the helm, this program still believes it’s capable of the same type of March madness magic. The type of belief many wish Texas possessed. Even without that belief, the Bulldogs are a talented team on paper. On Thursday afternoon, Texas fans need to be on the lookout for these three Butler players: Kellen Dunham, 16.7 PPG Reminds me of: A.J. Abrams (2005-2009) I have seen Dunham, running full speed on a fast break, abruptly stop and pop a 3 pointer. Sometimes he doesn’t even get through his full shooting motion before he releases. He’s that quick, and that accurate, which combine to make him that dangerous. He shot 41% from 3 point range this season. Dunham is as quick off the dribble as he is off of a screen. He has the same ability to drive and stop and pop for a jumper and it’s even more accurate than his touch beyond the arc. He shot 44% from the floor this season. Butler doesn’t necessarily live and die by the 3 pointer, but they jack up a lot of 3 point shots and it has every bit to do with how streaky they can be. I’ve seen Butler up by four points and two minutes later they’ve extended that lead to 13. Texas cannot dig itself in a hole, chasing points, because the Bulldogs are likely going to do that on their own at some point. Alex Barlow, 9.2 PPG Reminds me of: Cory Joseph (2010-2011) It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say about Barlow, or that I think he’s any less impactful than Dunham, I just don’t feel like typing the exact same thing I wrote about Dunham. Barlow is every bit as dangerous as Dunham from beyond the arc, shooting 38 percent from 3 point range. Barlow can drive and he can pop and shoot just as fast as Dunham. He shot 41% from the floor this season. Roosevelt Jones, 12.6 PPG 5.4 RPG Reminds me of: P.J. Tucker Roosevelt Jones is no threat from beyond the arc. But his physicality and size make him a tough match up to defend off the dribble and that could be a problem for Jonathan Holmes. I think Jones is a bit faster than Holmes. His game is different. He likes to drive, toss up a floater or go all the way to the rim, and he’s proficient at both. On defense, Jones will make it difficult for Holmes to get his shot. However, I think Jones is slightly overvalued, but only because I feel that Dunham is the beginning and end of Butler’s success offensively. If Dunham can’t get going, Jones will have to try and create more for himself—which he’s good at—but against the Longhorns’ size, that won’t be easy. Best case scenario for Texas: Dunham can’t get anything to fall early, Jones tries too hard to pick up the slack and finds himself and Butler struggling to attack Texas’ size. The Matchup Texas is going to be too much for Butler inside the 3 point line – Prince Ibeh, Myles Turner and Cameron Ridley are going to be too much for Butler physically. It isn’t even a matter of Texas forcing them to drive, or settle for inside shots, as opposed to 3’s. Offensively, Butler will have few answers for Texas’ offense if that offense runs through the three aforementioned Longhorns. Texas’ difference makers outside of those three will be Isaiah Taylor and Demarcus Holland. Both guards are quicker than Barlow and Dunham and have a threat to get their own against a smaller Butler team. Butler is going to try to put Texas in a hole early, making Texas chase points rather than running its offense through the big men in the paint. If Texas gets in a game of catch up with Butler it won’t bode well for the Longhorns chances to extend their season beyond Thursday. If Texas eliminates Dunham’s looks from beyond the arc and can hold the Bulldogs around 30 percent from 3 point range, I think Texas wins. If the Longhorns make Butler work for their points inside, it’s not going to be a good day for the Bulldogs.
  21. submitted Today, 07:31 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Matt Cotcher @mlcotcher No. 11 seed Texas (20-13, 8-10 Big 12) vs. No. 6 seed Butler (22-10, 12-6 Big East) WHEN: Thursday, March 19, 1:45PM cst (30 minutes after the 1st game finishes) WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pa. The game will be televised nationally by CBS. The game will be the first meeting between Texas and Butler in basketball. TEXAS ALL-TIME IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT The Longhorns have been invited to the tournament in 16 of the last 17 seasons. All-time, Texas has 32 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and is 35-34 in its previous 31 trips. In the last eight NCAA opening-round tilts, Texas is 6-2. Rick Barnes is 19-15 as Texas Head Coach in NCAA Tournament games. In his career, Barnes is 21-21 in the Big Dance. TEXAS NOTES & TRENDS 16 of the Horns’ 33 games have been against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Texas is 4-12 in those contests. Despite being 3-3, the team played their best basketball of the year over the last three weeks. Specifically, in the last four games, Longhorn opponents are only averaging 57.5 ppg and combined to shoot just 39.0% (87-of-223). Texas is 4th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.368) and 1st nationally in blocks per game (7.9 bpg). In the two games at the Big 12 Championship, Jonathan Holmes showed signs of returning to form. In Kansas City, Holmes averaged 12.0 ppg and a team-best 8.5 rpg in 26.5 mpg. BUTLER OVERVIEW Butler earned an at-large bid to this year's national championship. The Bulldogs finished 22-10, and tied for second place in the Big East. Butler has six wins over teams in the top 50 of the RPI. Six Butler players have been on an NCAA Tournament team. Butler has not lost consecutive games since Dec. 20. (Last game was a loss in the Big East tournament.) Butler has not lost an NCAA Tournament game as the higher-seeded team. BUTLER NOTES & TRENDS In Butler’s overtime loss in the Big East tournament quarterfinals, point-guard Alex Barlow had a career-high 22 points. He also set a career-best with five three-point field goals, and finished with a game-high four steals. Kellen Dunham leads the team in scoring, and ranks third in the Big East at 16.7 ppg. Kameron Woods is the Bulldogs’ top rebounder. Woods led Butler in rebounding in 16 of the past 18 games and in 25 games overall this season, ranking first in the Big East and 15th nationally with 313 total rebounds. Butler led the Big East and ranks 21st in the NCAA in rebounding margin at +6.5 per game.
  22. submitted Today, 09:05 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Matt Cotcher @mlcotcher The Texas men's basketball team was named a No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region of the 2015 NCAA Championship. Texas (20-13, 8-10 Big 12) plays No. 6 seed Butler (22-10, 12-6 Big East) in their opening game. The Longhorns and Bulldogs will play at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Thursday, March 19 at 1:45PM* (Central). Other teams in the Horns' 'pod' include No. 3 seed Notre Dame and No. 14 seed Northeastern. The winner of the Texas/Butler game will face the winner between the Fighting Irish and the Huskies on Saturday, March 21. Immediately following the NCAA's announcement, Head Coach Rick Barnes and the Texas players met with the media to talk about being selected. (* actual game time will be 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game of the day which starts at 11:15AM.) Head Coach Rick Barnes On his first reaction at being selected: "I'm excited for our guys." On being a bubble team: "You don't aspire to be in this position. Some things happened beyond our control." On Isaiah Taylor's injury early in the season: "Isaiah missing 10 games was a huge thing for him. He came back with the weight of the world on his shoulders." On the team's defense: "Our ball screen defense has gotten so much better in the last 2.5 weeks. It's gonna have to be good next time out." About this group of players: "These guys care. They want to win." On why Myles Turner's role was reduced against Iowa State: "Myles had a good freshman year. Physically it was a big adjustment for him." On whether the team is healthy: "We had a good workout today." Cameron Ridley On Texas' prospects in the tournament: "If we play to the best of our ability, we can make a run." Isaiah Taylor On the team's mindset for the tournament: "As an 11 seed, we can play with that chip on our shoulder." Javan Felix Javan Felix says he was confident that Texas would make the tournament. Jonathan Holmes On the team's mental approach: "We put a message around the locker room that we've gotta take it one game at a time." Myles Turner On the team's confidence level: "We've just gotta play the way we know we're capable of." Connor Lammert Connor Lammert says it was "kinda hard not to worry about it" on making the field.
  23. 1. Iowa State never led in this game until the buzzer beater. That happened. 2. I know Javan Felix has been consistent for the Longhorns for the last couple of games. In some games, he is consistently Bad Felix or Good Felix. Today, he became both in the same game. 10 points in the first half. Good Felix. Taking a shot with 8 seconds on the clock? BAD FELIX. 3. I love those Texas fans with the white hats and the sweatervest, they are always in KC supporting Texas. When I saw the replay of the buzzer beater with them in the frame and everyone around in exhuberant celebration, they stood there like statutes. I feel for those fans. Epilogue I wish I could tell you that Texas played a bad game but they really didn't until after the last TV timeout. This game started to feel like the game at Oklahoma. It's obvious Texas can compete and beat EVERY team in the Big 12. They just fail to execute after the last TV timeout over and over again. I can't even put into words how deflating it can be to watch a constant trainwreck just waiting to happen. Honestly, I wouldn't be shocked if this team doesn't want the season to be over and Steve Patterson has some serious thinking to do about the future of Texas basketball. This team has talent, a hard work ethic and the drive to win. They just don't have the confidence to win big games down the stretch. That's the story of the 2014-15 Texas Longhorns men's basketball team.
  24. submitted Today, 10:05 PM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Matt Cotcher @mlcotcher After leading their Big 12 tournament quarterfinal game for 39 minutes and 59 seconds, the Texas Longhorns lost to the Iowa State Cyclones at the buzzer, 69-67. Texas led by as many as 16-points in the game, as well as 10-points with about 4 minutes left, but could not hold on for the victory. In their first two games against the Cyclones this season, both losses, Texas had to overcome major scoring droughts. Ultimately, Thursday evening’s game played out the exact opposite of those contests. The Longhorns started the game by draining open jumpers in the first five minutes, forcing ISU to try and match them. With Texas hitting shots early and not running offense through the post, Wednesday’s star, Cameron Ridley, still managed to make his presence felt by grabbing rebounds and blocking a shot. In the first 10 minutes, Isaiah Taylor did not score, or even attempt a shot, and had a turnover. Taylor, who finished with 13-points, didn’t score until the 1:25 mark in first half. However, Taylor’s teammates picked up the slack by starting 5-7 from three point range. At the 8:00 mark in the first half, Texas led 25-14, cementing that this game would be unlike the first two tilts between these teams. In fact, the Longhorns went on a 12-0 run during a 9-minute scoring drought from the Cyclones, but ISU finished the half with an 11-point burst that sent a clear message that they would force Texas to play well in the second half. At halftime the score was 36-25 – Texas shot 50% (6-12) from three point range and 48.3% overall. The Horns also enjoyed a 21-13 rebound advantage to go with four blocks, nine assists, and just five turnovers. Javan Felix led Texas with 10 points, and Jonathan Holmes was just off that pace with nine points. The fact that ISU was even within striking distance should be attributed to Georges Niang. The Cyclones’ forward had 11 points to go with two assists in the opening half. Holmes opened the second half with consecutive three pointers in first 90 seconds. In fact, seemingly every 3-4 point burst from ISU was answered by the Texas offense. Around the 17:00 minute mark, the Longhorns had a frustrating possession that never ended with points and allowed the Cyclones to start building momentum. That failed series sparked a 10-3 ISU run that was ended by a three pointer from Kendal Yancy. At that point, Texas was an unsustainable 10-16 from beyond the arc. With less than 9:00 remaining and the Cyclones charging, Taylor had back-to-back scores on nifty dribble penetrations. For about a three minute period, Taylor carried Texas with nine consecutive points that pushed the lead back to 10 points. But with around 4:00 remaining, Demarcus Holland sank two free throws and those were the final points scored by Texas. The Cyclones, known for their proficient offense, scored the game’s final 12 points over the next four minutes. Clutch free throw shooting and two 3-points shots evened the game with 1:47 left. With the score tied, Texas missed two three pointers and had two turnovers to boot, allowing for Monte Morris to sink a game winning jumpshot as time expired. Texas now to returns to Austin thinking about what might have been while watching other bubble teams’ results. Such is life when you lose in March without securing an NCAA tournament berth. Post-game quotes Rick Barnes: “Hate it for our guys, because I really thought they played a hard game and obviously when the game is over there are things that you think, I could have helped them a little bit more.” Rick Barnes: “I just hate it for our guys, because, again, it got down to where, again, we made some mental mistakes. Again, the two plays at the end where Connor turned it over throwing it in and Isaiah's 10‑second call and I should have called time‑out but I thought he was going to bring it across.” Rick Barnes: “You look at ‑‑ again, in this environment I thought we were composed and played, I think our team is ‑‑ I love the way we are playing right now. And, again, it's tough, losing the way we did, because just the turnovers in the last four minutes really.” Rick Barnes: “We're good enough to play and beat anybody in the country and I believe that.” Isaiah Taylor: “I think based on our effort tonight and our past games I think we would be a good team to compete for a spot.”
  25. The seventh seeded Longhorns will face 10th seeded Texas Tech on Wednesday, March 11 at 8:30 pm. in the Big 12 Basketball Tournament, as announced by the Big 12 Conference on Saturday. Texas (19-12, 8-10) won both games against the Red Raiders (13-18, 3-15) during the regular season and look to solidify an invitation to the NCAA Tournament field of 68 with a win on Wednesday. With a win in the opening round Texas would advance to play #2 Iowa State in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Games will be televised nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Tournament Bracket:

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