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Texas Basketball vs. Kansas Post Mortem

The conversation probably went something like this.

Phone Rings. Coach Self answers.

Self: This is Self.

Larry Brown: Hey, coach, this is Coach Brown calling to congratulate you. Nice win. Nailbiter. But congrats on winning the conference.

Self: Thanks Coach. It was tough, but we have a resilient bunch of kids. Get down 14 to an explosive team like Texas, with their athletes, and our guys nutted up when they needed to......huh...whaaa??

Brown: Oh cut the horseshit Bill. The Texas kids shoot like Charles Oakley. And the one that can shoot, that little f*cker with the sleeve... Iverson wannnabe, I've seen better shot selection in an NBA all star game. Explosive?! Holy hell, who are you talkin' to?

Self: Well, they were shooting well in the first half. And that Turkish kid, Balbay, he's a player. He was blowing by Sherron like photographer row was giving away free baklava. Dropping dimes to the big kid. And James, well, he's such a heady player, it didn't matter who we put on him, he exploited...huh..whaat..

Brown: Oh shut the hell up, Bill. Congratulations, but I'm also calling you to give you shit. I saw what you did in the second half. I saw that bullcrap.

Self: Saw what, Coach?

Brown: I saw that little amoeba one man zone bullcrap junk that those crazy sumbitches like Valvano, Tark, and Mossimino used to run. The Turkish kid, the big kid, and James were just killing your man and you had to resort to that junk shit. Nice adjustment. For a woman. Collins playing that one man zone, Morningstar chasing the Abrams kid, and your other 3 just playing a little matchup shell. I get it. Cut off penetration, chase their shooter all over the court, and make the other four shoot over the top. Hell it worked, and you got a win. Crap, I even called out Tommy Izzo when he played some box and 1 in their game in Houston. At least I didn't call you a pussy.

Self: Well, uh, thanks Larry. I appreciate it. Tried it your way in the first half and we couldn't keep them out of the lane, I even tried some zone for a possession. I didn't want to do anything different, after I tried that little box and 1 against Memphis last year and caught so much hell for it, and then the zone against Tech last week, I caught all kinds of hell from the boys, and, uh, whaaa...

Brown: Oh shit, Billy, come on I was just joshin' you. You got to do what you got to do. But congrats on the win. Hey, let me let you go, my agent is calling on the other line, so I'll holler at you later. You big puss. (Click)

Self: F' you old man. Take your one pass away wing denial bs and shove it straight up your job hoppin' a$$.

Okay, I took some liberties in that convo. Larry Brown is a great coach who ran some innovative shit like a trapping 1-2-2 during his stints in college. And Bill Self is the best coach in the big 12 if not the best coach in America. But you could tell the first half was frustrating for him because he couldn't stop Texas playing his base. His defensive war-daddies Collins and Morningstar couldn't keep Balbay and Mason out of the lane. Kudos to Self for adjusting in the second half exploiting Texas' weaknesses.

Collins played his one man zone, Morningstar chased Abrams shooting hand, and Morris, Taylor, and Aldrich played a shell that begged for jumpshots. It's a winning formula against Texas. That and wait for AJ Abrams to get an itchy trigger finger and you're set. I also felt that Damion's deep accuracy was fool's gold all along. You knew it, I knew it, and apparently James and Self knew it. James stopped shooting and Self was begging him to.

Look, Kansas is the better team. They're better basketball players, they have more playmakers, and they're more poised. The only advantage Texas had was they were able to matchup defensively with KU's studs because of Pittman and Balbay. As long as Texas could keep KU in a halfcourt they had a shot. Enter some bad shots from AJ with under 5 to go leading to run outs and secondary 3 balls, and poof, 35 minutes of solid basketball is all for not. Who's surprised?

A couple of random thoughts on the game.

Balbay's athleticism becomes more apparent and more astounding with every game. If he develops any kind of a jumper, he can be an all American. His court athleticism, awareness, and basketball IQ allow him to thrive in college without one, but when guys are playing in the paint instead of guarding him, he hurts the ball club. I'm anxious to see him surrounded by 3 good shooters and/or perimeter players to open up the floor to mitigate his shooting deficiencies. The current squad is the worst possible complement to Balbay's skillset.

Pittman. Well we called the fact that he could handle Aldrich one on one. Dex played about even with Cole and quite frankly should have dominated the talented pivot had it not been for 4 or 5 point blank misses. Dex left about 10 points out on the floor tonight and it cost the Horns dearly. He has to kill those looks to become an elite player.

I thought Mason played his heart out, and even looked solid on the one 3 he missed. He had seven boards which is unreal against a frontline that includes Morris and Aldrich.

Gary Johnson hit his first jumper and missed the next 4. You can't fault him because it was his first game back and he usually hits those. GJ had a beautiful lob entry to Dex.

Clint Chapman is starting to show the game everyone thought he'd have going into the year. Needs to get stronger.

I don't normally complain about officiating, but I don't think Pittman and company got the same whistles that KU did. I don't think it cost Texas the game but it was frustrating. If Pittman was allowed to set high ball screens like Aldrich was allowed to today, Pittman might decapitate someone. The walk call on Dex before he even made a post move was comedy.

I love, love, Sherron Collins. You can tell he's from Chicago. He's fearless and relentless going to the hole. There's a guy on our team that should take note. Unlike most Chicago ballers, Collins can flat out shoot it.

AJ Abrams, what can you say? He could really help the team if he used his ability to shoot for good instead of evil. He needs to mix in a dribble drive like Mark Mangino needs to mix in a salad.

Damion James played free and loose and you saw the results. When he's not thinking and just playing, he's a baller. I'd love to see him back.

So hey, we're in the tourney, and that's all you can ask for. Perhaps the NCAA tournament opponents won't be able to afford scouts and/or video equipment, and maybe they'll guard us like KU did in the first half. Maybe not.


Also, please check out awiggo @ BON and our friends at Oread Boom Kings for a bit about the game and the Phog.