Wow. I'm not even going to grade this one. That was one IMPRESSIVE win. A victory that saw a few guys come out of some slumps. I'm guessing there are a few happy fat girls in the Kansas City area if you believe the Mark Grace slump busting theory. Anywho, A's across the board in this one. Let's get to the thoughts.
7-12 from downtown? It must work.
Alexis Wangmene. First, we'll start with the biggest surprise. Ibrahim Thomas must have rubbed off on Alexis because the true freshman played his best game of the year. His first half play enabled Texas to come up with a defensive answer to Blake Griffin and Longar Longar down low, while forcing the Sooners to play honest interior defense on the other end. Not only did Alexis bother Griffin and Longar, but he was able to display a variety of post moves and touch that frankly I didn't think he had at this point. Fourteen minutes of solid, solid basketball for a team missing its best interior player. If Wangmene stays on this trend line, he'll be playing 20+ minutes per game. Stat line was 3-4 for 7 points and 4 rebounds plus great interior defense.
AJ Abrams. Are you kidding me? After missing 3 consecutive bombs the kid nails 7 out of his next 9 helping Texas turn a tie ball game in the second half to a 30 point laugher. That takes a big pair of onions. When he wasn't hitting deep catch and shoots, he was harrassing OU guards all night leading the team with 3 steals. AJ getting his stroke back is bad news for the rest of the tourney field. Great game.
DJ Augustin The silent assassin strikes again. The quietest 17 points you'll ever see done on efficient 6-10 shooting. Throw in a team high 4 assists (I counted 6). I thought DJ did a terrific job of letting the game come to him in the second half. He seemed more in control knowing that he could get anywhere on the floor with the basketball any time he wanted to. Playing OU just after playing OK State is like taking the donut off your Louisville Slugger. Great floor general type game for DJ.
Damion James Nice efficient game for the hybrid forward. Thirteen points on 4-8 shooting with 3 assists thrown in for good measure showing us his point forward side. He was at his best defensively roaming the backline of the zone, smothering corner and wing jumpers like he was coached in the Syracuse system.
Connor Atchley I thought Connor battled well on the defensive end but got pushed too far under the bucket on some post moves that resulted in offensive boards to Blake Griffin. No shame in that, that dude's a bull. On offense the weak post dive play in our zone offense is becoming a great weapon, especially with teams so intent on getting out on Abrams or Augustin in the strong corner. It resulted in an easy layup or Connor and opened up some things on the perimeter. Still, I'd love to see Connor get his 3 ball stroke back. The 2-4 shooting is what a mature player does when he's on a cold streak.
Justin Mason The kid just goes around plugging holes in the dyke. Pardon the slump busting theme. The 2-7 shooting is fine considering he's stuffing the stat sheet with 4 boards and 4 assists, playing his typical active suffocating defense. The best thing about Justin's game today was his point guard play. After DJ took a hard spill, Barnes pulled him and asked JM to run the show. The Longhorns proceeded to increase their lead over the next 4 or 5 minutes. Mason ran the club and finished with just 1 turnover. Good game.
Man, Jeff Capel is a whiney Duke puss.
Dexter Pittman Big Dex showed a bunch against a very good OU frontline. His ability to play behind Griffin and Longar since he's big enough to bother their shot was crucial, especially when Wangmene got into foul trouble. Dex simply swallows (pardon the pun) up opposing post men and is getting better at staying vertical and not fouling. On offense, he had a nice post move and battled for some offensive boards. Give him 7 boards total and 3 offensive in just 9 minutes. We'll need him when we face quality big men.
Coaching What can you say? Rick's the maestro pushing all the right buttons for this team. His team has evidently gone to KC to win the tourney, and they are buying in to everything Barnes is selling right now. No excuses when GJ went down, just plug in Alexis, Dexter, and Chapman and the beat goes on.
Oh and as far as national perception goes, you had better talk about Texas being a candidate for a 1 seed. They just held another quality/tourney opponent to under 40% and shot 50% in the process. UNC playing mere miles from campus needed a buzzer beater to beat VA Tech. UCLA is playing as poorly as any top 10 team in the nation. And Texas has already beaten Tennessee by twenty. If Texas beats Kansas, it would be silly if they didn't get a 1 seed.