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Damion...prepare for glory

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Basketball:

The Baylor game pretty well sapped me of any hope of this bunch beating a legitimately good team. They're gonna go down like Leonidas vs. a hail of 3 pointers.

For much of the season Texas was ahead in the Ken Pomeroy efficiency ratings based on their defense. Now we've seen that defense crumble and the current rankings reflect a team that is even more devoid of identity with the 28th ranked offense and 27th ranked defense.

I think the defensive ranking is only supported by the earlier games and that this group is no longer even the 27th best in the nation. On the other hand, because of their proclivity for turnovers I don't think the offense is the 28th best. Those turnovers have murdered Texas in the last several games since they put an already struggling defense in tough spots.

The offense that's been run through James and Johnson is efficient and one that should be able to do damage in the tournament but the guard play is just going to betray Texas like Ephialtes.

The latest bracketology on espn gives Texas a draw of Florida St. and then Syracuse before reaching the sweet sixteen which I think is the bar for an acceptable season for this team. Florida St. could very well knock off this team and that would be it, however Kevin Berger did write that Texas was a bad matchup for Syracuse. After that Texas would get some 1-seed protection in the bracket, of course that would still not be enough to prevent the fatal flaws on this team from bringing down the ship.

I'll be watching with interest of course, and rooting for James to go down in a blaze of glory. But this team has been unable to do anything together away from the Erwin Center in the last month and Barnes use of Hamilton in the Big 12 tournament was infuriatingly stupid. Will that change in the NCAA's? Why should we expect it to?

Jonestopten had a good feature up on Barnes' misuse of Avery this season. Bradley has been Texas' best guard and best defender over the last stretch as well as a guy that should have been able to grow to the point where he could be trusted with the final shot in a tournament game and been a nightmare to stop. Instead he seems about gassed for the year and a possible mid-first round pick in the draft. I'm sure Trips will write about next year's team soon but the backcourt/ballhandling/creators on next year's team will be a terrifying subject if Hamilton and Bradley both leave.

It's possible Barnes is your Ephialtes and the terrible guard play is just the low numbers of the group (300). I haven't really thought through the metaphor very well. The hot gates haven't been too impassable either recently...

Baseball:

HenryJames salivated over Taylor Jungmann's recent performance and ridiculed Texas' hitting and the nature of baseball slumps.

This is part of what particularly bothers me now about the MLB. You play 162 games and then the hottest team wins at the end. The grueling 162 game season hardly mattered so long as you were a top 8 team (or so) in the league and the bats are awake in October. Granted that playing well and not slumping is important for the postseason of any sport but the others aren't nearly as streaky or so regular season heavy as baseball.

In basketball, if you do the right things on offense you will manufacture offense. Since defense is about effort and teamwork it's a constant as well. In football slumping has very little to do with outcomes when the point is imposing your will on another team. If you are "slumping" what's actually happening is a lack of execution from injury/fatigue or failure to adjust to other team's strategy.

It's so much easier for the timing and little mechanics in baseball to get off, or for a batter to simply hit the ball hard to the wrong place every time he breaks out of the rut with a good swing. All that said, what Jungmann has been doing is pretty fantastic and exciting to watch. As HenryJames types, the constants are there.

Football:

Srr50 called attention to a hilarious feature of Alabama's 2010 schedule, namely that half their schedule gets a bye week before playing them next season. IN THE SEC!!! Who could overcome that? No team in that league will ever get a chance to play in the National Championship, it's just too tough...

This should be a rough stretch for Bama, although I'm not sure that it should take 2 weeks to scheme a way to make McElroy look like a terrible quarterback. The extra focus and rest before taking on their power-running game will probably be the bigger difference maker as Trent Richardson bulls his way through rested and physical defenses over and over again down the stretch.

Really I think they aren't too bad off though as their toughest game of that stretch (LSU) has an open date before hand for Alabama as well while the trickiest game (Auburn) comes at the end but also after a game against Georgia State who has never played a football game before. You might as well call that an open date as well.

OU had their pro day and it should come as no surprise to anyone that Dominique Franks and Keenan Clayton tested well with a 4.47 and 4.57 respectively. If Clayton had held onto the ball for either of his pick-six opportunities he would have single-handedly destroyed Texas championship hopes last season. As it is he's a surefire bet to have value in the NFL as an outside linebacker for a cover-2 team or in some nickel or dime packages for anyone else.

I think more highly of those two than anyone else on that defense save McCoy, Beal and Lewis. Too bad their offense sucked so hard...oh well, live and learn.