In a game that was never really in doubt, the Texas Longhorns played all 11 scholarship players - and all their walk-ons - in a rout of an over-matched Bison squad.
Lance Blanks (yes, *that* Lance Blanks) said in the pre-game that people need to stop comparing Turner & Kevin Durant. AMEN. Turner then goes onto showcase 20 minutes of Lamarcus Aldridge-like awesomeness, which is followed by LHN graphics comparing Turner's debut to Durant. Ah, ESPN. Regardless, Turner displayed a level of athleticism & shooting touch that should make everyone excited for the rest of the year. Oh, and he led the team in blocks, so there's that. Did I mention the Dirk-ish fadeaway? Because that happened. Oh lord, did it happen.
2-3 from 3, 3-3 from the line, 6 rebounds in 15 minutes. Yea, I think he likes his new role. Any game where you can keep Holmes' minutes down early in the season is a win as well.
2-3 from 3, 4-4 from the line, 7 boards from your PG is always appreciated. He showed the speed Texas needs and had solid command of the point against a team that he should torch.
The Ganesh Zone
At one point, Texas put out a 2-3 zone with Lammert, Holmes, Turner, & Ibeh, which probably looked like a defense with 43 arms to NDSU. Jim Boeheim has an erection tonight and he's not sure why. (Then again the Bison hit like 5 3s against that zone, so...) Any way, I love this zone not so much for what it is but for what it represents: Barnes is trying out all sorts of things with this roster. I'm reminded of when he used to put Kevin Durant on the point guard defensively once in awhile; Rick Barnes is in Candy Land right now.
That doesn't do it justice at all. Somebody needs to find a Vine of that play; Myles Turner blocks the shot, Zay gets the ball, barrels down the court and dishes a behind-the-back pass to Cameron Ridley for the jam while I spontaneously combust into confetti at home. I probably scared the neighbors, sounding like the whitest possible version of the And-1 MC screaming "OH BABY" when that went down. It was 3 seconds of brilliance followed by me lying in a puddle through a commercial break, or basically my prom night. I'm kidding, of course...I didn't get laid after prom.
Myles Turner block leads to Isaiah Taylor behind the back pass to Ridley dunk and I'm now hugging strangers in the street.— El Diablo Blanco (@Bitterwhiteguy) November 15, 2014
Turner, swat. Zay, dish. Cam, dunk. Gorgeous.— DD | SR | BC (@BarkingCarnival) November 15, 2014
He didn't contribute a lot to the stat line, but I liked his flow within the game. I had suspicions he might redshirt this year - mainly because of the depth of the team - but it looks like he's going to have a role on the team picking up a few minutes here & there. He's smooth on the court and I think he'll be increasingly important over the next 2-3 years.
18-21 for 85.7% is excellent, especially in light of Zay/Cam/Turner combining to go 10-11. If they can keep up even close to that kind of production from the line, this team is going to be a terror.
Granted, I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone involved in the BMW offense, but I thought he was solid as a color commentator. I don't know if he pays close attention to Texas or is this in tune with NCAA ball all over, but he knew a lot about the team and kept a reasonably even keel as he talked. I liked his work.
One of the keys to this season is Zay having an outside shot that demands honest defense from opponents, and my concerns about his 3 ball aren't going away. He made 2-3 from beyond the arc and his form looked good above the waist, but his footwork is still problematic. It's not horrendous, but if that's where he is on his form then he's going to be erratic from distance this season. That's not a huge issue, but it bears watching. Also, 2 assists from the starting PG bothers me a bit. I know he's not TJ Ford, but 2 assists & 2 turnovers is not the kind of ratio I want from the floor general. Hell, Yancy doubled up Zay on assists in a little over half the floor time. I'd like to see Zay in the 5-6 assist range going forward.
Holland could've shot 5 3s if he wanted, but he only attempted one(to be fair, he made it). If he's going to become the all-conference SG this team needs, he needs to take the open shots when they're there.
1-4 from 3 against subpar competition is troubling, though again it's only the first game of the year. His form looked solid when he loaded his feet and sometimes things don't fall even when you do things right, but he did some drifting in his shots that is a continuation of last year. If you're going to try to be Texas' resident sharp-shooter, you need to get the little things right.
9 assists, 10 turnovers. That's not good fundamental basketball. Some of that is walk-on time, but still...9 assists on 30 made shots?
Some of this is nitpicking in a quality home opener. As someone who sat through every game in the 2012 season, what I saw tonight was exponentially better than previous incarnations of Longhorn basketball. I'm absolutely giddy about what this team can be; I'm having a difficult time staying rational about this team because they're showing glimpses of potential that even I was afraid to mention even a week ago. So while there's room for improvement across the board on this squad, we need to acknowledge just how good they looked. This team would've beaten Mercer by 18 instead of the 3 point win they eked out in 2013. We're in for a fun ride.