I was fortunate enough to land a really great seat at the Texas Longhorns/Iowa State Cyclones game due to a UT benefactor who will remain nameless (but not faceless, we’ll get to that). In the space of an evening, I went from watching Stubhub prices on upper deck seats to a row behind the officiating armada, and I enjoyed the rare opportunity to watch the team up close. I spent the first 5 minutes of the game just watching Shaka & the coaches, I spent a large portion of the first half seeing which players were into the game (nearly all of them), which players were calling out screens and dissecting plays as they happened (mostly guards), and which players were hyping up their teammates the most (definitely James Banks). I got to see a number of interesting aspects of the players and staff, all of which were enlightening data points for a guy who usually watches on TV. But you know what I heard about more than anything?
Yea, that. I had 10 seconds of face time during a referee replay and my phone spontaneously combusted for a solid 20 minutes. I lost 1/5th of my battery due to me staring at a monitor with friends, family, and half of UT Twitter ready to light me up like an asshole. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. Also, you degenerates complete me and I wouldn’t trade you for anything.
I wish I had thought ahead and created an elaborate routine to rocket myself into Twitter infamy like the basketball Numa Numa guy or a round ball Chocolate Rain, but they never had a second review for me to reenact the Flashdance water bucket scene using my Aquafina bottle. You only get one shot at the brass ring, people, you’be gotta make it count. So all I’ve got to cash Internet Dollars with is me staring into the void like I left my car keys somewhere....but where, I don’t know exactly. That should net me like half of a bitcoin.
Putting On Chapstick After A Day in Single Digit Temperatures
I don’t know if I can properly contextualize the sort of dermatological terror a January day in Ames does to your lips, but by the time I got back to the hotel tonight I felt like my mouth had been dipped into a jar of Agent Orange mixed with glass. Putting on four layers of chapstick after the wind & cold treated my lips like an OU SAE hazing ceremony wasn’t quite like injecting MDMA directly into my frontal lobes, but couldn't be far off. Chapstick runs the Midwest like Brad Wesley in Road House; you may hate them, but you’ll damn well pay them for fear of the consequences.
Kerwin Roach Jr
In a game where Iowa State was able to frustrate the PnR by, you know, guarding it, Roach was a bright spot offensively. Seeing him go 4-4 from three — and they weren’t fluky makes — and have five assists to three turnovers when the rest of the team failed to realize they had opposable thumbs was one of the few moments of offensive competence. Which, honestly, I can’t believe I’m complaining about the offense on a night when the team shot 50%+ from the field, but here we are. Roach needs to improve drastically on hitting the rolling guy in the PnR if he’s going to take the next step and he had a couple of serious WTF moments like the behind-the-head shot with one second on the shot clock, but overall he was a definite positive for the team. If they can land Coleman as the lead PG next season, Roach is showing signs he’s capable of being a secondary ball-handler going forward.
Speaking of guys showing certain capabilities, Jones had a very efficient night. He was 3-4 from inside the arc, 2-3 from behind it, and hit 2-3 free throws to go along with 7 rebounds and two assists. If he can hit the corner three going forward like he did tonight, he’ll help spacing just by being on the floor. His handle was suspect tonight, and credit goes to the ISU guards for making him uncomfortable. But overall, an efficient night on a team that’s short on players who can regularly make the most of limited shot volume.
Iowa State Fans
I didn’t experience much of Hilton Magic this night, thanks to the Cyclones being in control for large portions of the game. I did get to experience bits of it; they got loud at the right times, their players & coaches knew when to goose them to be just a bit louder than they already were, and they just overall knew what they were doing. I got to experience my first authentic Iowa State referee booing, and then another, and then another. Their well of energy for disagreeing with referees is limitless, if we could frack the pain of Cyclones fans we’d probably solve the nation’s energy needs for the next 30 years. I heard a guy in the sixth row politely inform Shaka that his players were cheating and I heard the loudest, angriest “GOSH DARNIT” I’ve ever heard in my life. Even when they’re pissed, they’re respectful about it. It was quite an experience to behold. Also, Texas needs to build the Drum replacement with a roof that low. It would do wonders for the atmosphere.
@craigway1 I'm saying this in the least creepy way possible, but I'm right behind you. OK there's really no non-creepy way to say that.— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ (@Bitterwhiteguy) January 8, 2017
@Bitterwhiteguy ---Tap me on the shoulder during a timeout. It might be creepy, but I'll turn around.— Craig Way (@craigway1) January 8, 2017
This guy has been calling games for I don’t even know how long at this point and he's still willing to deal with internet idiots like me with grace & kindness. That guy’s one-of-a-kind.
The Mixed Bag
I’m trying to be nice here when I say that Cleare’s effort was unquestionable, and his contribution on the offensive end was solid. While I say this, you may have lost focus on the words in front of you as your mind drifts to figure out what that aroma is emanating from Iowa. It’s not the smell of a rental car being burned in a corn field to hide the evidence; I mean, yes, there’s also that, but mainly what you’re smelling are the burnt ends of Cleare’s “defense” of Deonte Burton. Burton lit Cleare up from the beginning of the game until Shaka & crew finally pulled Cleare for good midway through the second half; try as he might, Cleare couldn’t stay in front of Burton at all. It was like watching Cleare try to defend Clearebot 2.0, sent from the future to show Cleare what he could’ve been in an alternate timeline. If Texas tries this same tactic when Iowa State comes to Austin, expect Burton to go nuts again. That was rough to watch.
Iowa Mexican Food
Iowans are nice people, and they’re very proud of what they consider Mexican food. I ate at two different places, one of which is ranked the #1 restaurant in Ames. It’s called El Azteca, and they make Mexican food much in the way that Luby’s makes steak: devoid of any and all spice & flavor to appease the palate of white people who think Taco Bell mild sauce is too much for their Double-Stacked Quesalupa Mooseknuckle Clown Fart Happy Meal or whatever the fuck they blast into your gaping maw with a caulk gun these days. Anyway, I had a burrito. It was food. I didn’t die, and I won’t remember it a week from now, which isn’t the worst outcome when you consider the range of conclusions I faced when picking a restaurant based on how little time I’d have to spend outdoors getting there. They also sent me to Es Tas, which I’m 90% certain is a pair of words a Hispanic family made up in 1985 and have laughed about to their friends ever since as they cash checks on their “fried tacos” being gobbled up by naive Midwestern crackers for decades on end. The food was fine. I didn’t get dysentery or any other malady I only know from playing Oregon Trail as a kid.
He started the night by bricking a dunk and that’s a fairly reasonable summary of his evening. OK, actually, he still wasn’t awful, but he had seven turnovers and was bothered more by ISU bigs (or more appropriately, handsy guards) than I expected. This was not his best night, but it was good to see him staying engaged and becoming increasingly vocal to his teammates as the night went on. He’s a good teammate.
This recap is brought to you by the sound of a basketball hitting a guy in the third row. He never seemed to get his feet underneath him, both literally and figuratively. There were a couple solid moments, but overall he was in way over his head.
Texas is back below .500 again, and it may be awhile before they surface as their next four games are TCU, West Virginia, AT Baylor, and AT Kansas. Tonight was, amazingly, a winnable game until the last 90 seconds, and will go down as another lost opportunity in a season full of almosts and could’ve beens. They can try to right the ship against TCU on Wednesday, tip is 7pm CT on LHN.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by the wooly mammoth currently trying to break down my hotel door to get some heat up in here.