Kevin C. Cox
The young Longhorns win a squeaker in their season opener against Fresno St.
I didn't procure access to Longhorn Network, and had readily available college basketball programming at my disposal anyway, so this recap is a combination of Gamecasting, some animated Craig Way, Texassports.com highlight reels, and your general thoughts.
- Javan Felix got a lot of love on Twitter, and an oh-so-close double-double is a nice way to start the year. Unfortunately, it was 10 points and 9 rebounds. Boards are nice; I'd rather see dimes. In the not-so-good column, Felix ended the night shooting just 5-15 from the field, and had just 1 assist to 3 turnovers. He's not a 3-point threat at this time, but that free-throw line pullup sure is nice.
- Texas as a whole had 3 total assists on the night, which is simply unacceptable. Some of that can be written off to missed shots, as Texas shot just 36.7% from the field and a dismal 1-13 from distance.
- Anyone who says Myck Kabongo wouldn't help this team tremendously is foolhardy.
- I postulated that, to consistently win, this team would need Sheldon McClellan to hit a J'Covan Brown output in terms of PPG. He scored 20, which was right in line with my expectations. Those 3's should fall sooner rather than later, and 14-14 from the line is sweet to see.
- I know Fresno St. didn't have a credible interior threat to shadow, but Rick Barnes is doing Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh a disservice by playing them just a combined 15 minutes (and only 2 for Ibeh). Time served now will pay dividends later in-season.
Connor Lammert and Ioannis Papapetrou are bigger than I thought they were and can help inside. Lammert not redshirting, obviously. His outlet pass to McClellan was pretty.
- Jonathan Holmes continues to glue guy effort with 14 rebounds, 8 of them offensive. Good "prove it" game for him as it looks like he'll have competition for PT at the 4 from not only Bond, but also Lammert.
- Did DeMarcus Holland get the backup 1 minutes, or did Julien Lewis? Would like to know.
- Barnes said post-game he worked his players too hard in anticipation of Kabongo being out. That makes...no sense, Rick.
- 42-26 rebounding advantage, holding Fresno St. to 35.6% from the field, and 7 blocked shots are nice defensive metrics. Heard Texas opened with a zone D, with Ridley patrolling the middle. I'd expect that to make many an appearance this year.
- Obviously a 2-point win isn't anything to write home about, but Texas is bound to struggle early trying to get pieces to coalesce, and won't be a credible threat unless/until Kabongo returns.
- Texas takes on Coppin St. at home before heading to Maui. I'd call their second-round game against USC or Illinois a coin-flip unless there's a favorable Kabongo ruling this week. It'll be nice to actually be able to see the Horns on HD.