Around the Horns celebrates the arrival of Justin Mason to the field…

Basketball

Pace was up against Tech and Texas scoring reflected it.

The team shot 55.2% from the field and 55.2% from the free throw line. The free throw woes are ridiculous when the players are shooting as well from a consistent part of the floor directly in front of the basket as they are with 5 opponents actively trying to prevent that same outcome.

Justin Mason put up an 18, 4, 5 and looked like the Justin Mason I was expecting to eventually see 2 years ago when he was the only player who didn't look intimidated by the athleticism of Memphis in the Elite Eight. Awiggo of Burntorangenation is also back with his reaction.

Turkish Delight had an awesome game as well with a 13,7,6, 2 monstrous blocks and some exciting jump shots, while Damion James returned to earlier form with another double double. It's clear that Barnes has insisted to Mason and Balbay that the offense is dependent on their aggressiveness and confidence taking jumpers in order to get spacing and opportunities.

I'm sure Trips will chime in presently with some explanations of Texas sagging M2M and 2nd half adjustments. The 'horns were lucky that Tech needed to turn the game into an uptempo slugfest (because of their injuries inside) because that's the kind of contest in which Texas should beat anyone. However, several of the half-court possessions by Texas also looked far more purposeful and well executed.

In other news, a FanTake network San Antonio Spurs blog! Icemen. Vasherized immediately challenged them to name reasons to pay any attention to the NBA rather than just college, I'll give a few:

1). Fewer sleazy Coaches. No Calipari, namely.

2). Good offensive play. Watching the Longhorns last year after watching an NBA game felt like watching a teenager playing punk riffs on a classical guitar after having balcony seats to the Chicago Symphony.

3). Continuity, college teams change significantly every year. Watching an NBA team grow together and rise up to challenge for a title makes for some compelling story lines, and it helps the rivalries.

4). Highlights: People can claim not to enjoy highlights but they are typically using the same arguments people make for Big 10 sports and the WNBA. In summary, LeBron James never played in college and I'm challenged to name a more entertaining athlete in any sport than LeBron James.

Football/Recruiting

Orangebloods ranks the top 100 recruits in Texas including  comparisons for all the players which, obviously, leads to some puzzling conclusions. Aaron Benson is compared to Jerod Mayo, which seems like a tremendous stretch to me since Mayo is a 250 lb. ILB playing in a 2-gap 3-4 and Benson is a 205 lb. anti-spread weapon about to play in a defense that defends 30-50 passes/game. Also, while I'm glad Dorsey is considered a great prospect, if the comparison for him is Roy Miller and for Bible it's Tommie Harris...well who would you rather have? Harris or Miller? I'd rather have the TFL and sacks from a dominant 3-tech, especially in this league.

Of course we'll get both so Texas wins either way.

Tevin Jackson seems like a great Cover-2 Mike to me. Everyone seems to be projecting him as an OLB but a guy that can blow up blocks between the tackles and is 6-3 guy and strong in coverage sounds like an Urlacher or Patrick Willis waiting to happen. We'll see what designs Muschamp has for him.

Ghost of Big Roy does an extensive recruiting summary here where he covers the 2011 class coming in for Junior day and promises future individual recruit spotlights, one of my favorite features this time last year. I'm excited to see so many Cedar Park Timberwolves emerging as state prospects. In my day the best Timberwolves were accepting to North Texas or Rice, Coach Chris Ross has really taken that program places the last several years.

Overall the rise of Central Texas football is a huge boon to Texas recruiting. When talented kids in North and West Austin have access to big time facilities and coaches and grow up watching Vince Young and wanting to be Longhorns it gives Texas an even stronger home base. Combined with the inroads made in Dallas by Mack and Texas is looking better positioned than any other program in the country heading into the new decade.

This weekend will see announcements by Hicks AND Jeffcoat on Friday. Seastrunk is heading to Oregon where he'll be a perfect fit for a team that understands how to operate a zone-running game. Recently these have gone against Texas but the momentum is stronger than normal for this time of year and the auspices at the Nickel Rover temple are good.

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