Against Oklahoma St., we saw Hamilton rise up. Against Oklahoma Bradley made a heroic effort, against Kansas James contributed his usual 20-10 and J'Covan Brown came out of the woodwork. Again I ask, who is the go-to scorer?
Box score is here. Peter Bean chimes in with his thoughts here. He's right on in praising the Kansas defense but it's no surprise when examining their place in the Ken Pomeroy rankings matched against what we've seen the last month from the Texas offense. Cole Aldrich was well handled by Dexter Pittman and the Texas defense but his own defensive effort was fantastic with 6 blocks (though only 5 rebounds).
You see things here and there that suggest Pittman's fantastic potential at this level and the next but right now he is frequently an offensive detriment to this team because he is surrounded by the wrong cast. Peter Bean has another good bit of insight when he writes that Texas needs perimeter players who create offense because the team doesn't run offense. Texas had 6 assists to Kansas' 14. I don't really see much evidence that Texas can be effective with a low-post centered offense. When they played DDM with Brown at the point they got penetration and stretched the Kansas help defense. These high screen and dribble-drive attacks in space are the only occasions when Texas looks effective or comfortable on offense and they aren't coming with Pittman in the game. I would like to add as well that Free throw shooting was excellent and it was largely a result of Brown getting the opportunities at the line (8-9).
Only 3 players were remotely effective on offense in this game: Brown, James, and Johnson (28, 24, 10) and by remotely effective I mean even able to attempt a substantial number of field goals, much less make them. Bradley took just 5 shots and missed all but one. Hamilton was back on the child-leash and justified it with 6 missed shots including some bad 3 attempts. He needs to play more but his instinctual reaction to offensive adversity of launching ill-timed shots needs to change. Both Bradley and Hamilton looked rattled by the stage.
Normally, when not playing teams of this caliber, I think Texas could get away with playing some of the veterans together but the team's confidence and ryhmn on offense is so horrendous right now that I think the next starting lineup should feature offense and get this team moving in the right direction. Balbay is an excellent defender and Pittman has become one as well, but saying that Mason and Balbay on the floor together is no good doesn't go far enough.
Texas needs to move forward with Brown because there's nothing to lose at this point. He may not play well next game but we know his ceiling his is higher than the alternatives so he has to be the choice. Bradley, Johnson, James and Pittman can round out the starting five with Hamilton and Balbay first off the bench. Texas played terrific defense tonight and were still throttled by incompetent offense leading to Kansas points. How long will Texas continue to give effort on defense like this when they are completely frustrated on the offensive end? At any rate, the defense that Texas has played hasn't been enough so I see little reason to cling to it moving forward.
Once the team gets some scoring rhythm going I can tolerate some of the better defensive lineups but this team is going to be lost in basketball hell for the rest of the season if the offense doesn't get kick-started immediately. Taking out Mason was like Barnes grabbing the plunger after the fecal water was at his ankles. More effort will be necessary to clean up this mess.
Closetojumping has some thoughts on the upcoming Junior day and scholarship numbers Texas will distribute to various positions along with player projections. For me this is when I actually learn the names of the next group of young men whose potential and school decisions will occupy part of my mind until this time next year. He challenges (he's always challenging people) for someone to describe a coherent OL recruiting philosophy that would make fans feel good about where we are headed there. That will not come from here. There are pieces in place to switch to man-blocking but that will mean a change in the basic scheme and possibly formations which seems unlikely given Texas offensive success the last few years throwing the ball. Again though, the major pieces coming in and being retained from last year's line are not zone-blocking assets.
I only recently noticed Mel Kiper Jr.'s first mock draft and thought it might be a good fit for another time-honored "Nickel Rover picks a national media guy to criticize because of frustrations related to another sport" commentary.
Suh is first, naturally, followed by Gerald McCoy which I find ridiculous. The difference between McCoy and Suh on the field is far more vast than being 1st and 2nd greatest players available. If McCoy was the 2nd best player in the draft (he's not) that would qualify Suh as being the most dominant player in any given draft in the NFL's history (possible). I'm not sure if Kiper has watched McCoy play football but measuring by what they did in major games this season I don't know how you could come to the conclusion that McCoy is anything close to Suh or the top 3 in the draft. Hell, if you could pick 3 impact defensive players in the Big 12 this season would you take McCoy? I think he'll be a fine player but the perception of him as some kind of unstoppable monster is based on preseason expectations and general reputation.
Later Jr. has Sergio Kindle going to the Atlanta Falcons as an OLB. Kindle is another guy I think will be a great player in the NFL but an OLB in a 4-3 defense he is not. He's strictly a downhill player who could thrive at DE or in the DE/LB role he played at Texas. If you ask him to drop into coverage you will be sorely disappointed because "thoroughbreds don't go backwards." Do you remember Kindle making a major play away from the line of scrimmage that wasn't him chasing someone down from behind?
2 days since Tebow's ad was seen by millions of Americans. So far Roe vs. Wade hasn't chosen to reverse itself nor Women's suffrage amended itself back out of the constitution. We'll keep a hopeful eye on it though.