Balbay, Atchley break out. We hope. A few notable notes from last night's 99-74 win over Oklahoma State:
- Career highs for Balbay: Points (10), Made FGs (5), Assists (7), Minutes (33).
- Justin Mason: 3 assists on Texas' first 5 baskets, 3 rebounds in game's first 4 minutes.
- Team: 9 assists on team's first 10 made field goals.
- Atchley: Matched his season high of 14 points, first totaled... in the season opener against Stetson. Stick around, Connor.
- Opposing coach Travis Ford on Texas' aggressiveness: "I thought Texas played like a team that was a little upset... Those guys made shots, they played hard, they played with a sense of urgency."
- Ford on Balbay: "We knew he wasn't a great outside shooter but we did show our guys several clips that showed he can get in that lane. He was a little more aggressive offensively than I probably anticipated. I thought he was the difference in the game, not just scoring but he just energized his team. He gave them great confidence every possession. You look at that stat line, a very impressive stat line, 33 minutes, 10 points, 7 assists, 1 turnover. That's what you want out of your point guard. He was the difference in the game, I thought."
- Advanced stats from the game: 62.9 eFG%, 137.9 Off. Efficiency, 9.8 TO%, 53.5% FTR, 28.6% Off Reb
- Texas' Ball Control Index (Asst + Stl / TO) score was 3.86. Jimmer's right: our best effort of the season. (Previous best: 3.83 versus Texas Southern.)
Here comes Durant. Snubbed from the Western Conference All-Star roster, Kevin Durant has been tabbed to headline the NBA's first-ever game of H-O-R-S-E. The event will take place outdoors as part of the NBA's All Star weekend "block party" and dunks will not be allowed. This has great potential, if well executed; I'm happy to see Durant in the event.
And speaking of developing potential, Durant is on an explosive tear of late (four straight 30+ point games) and has shown tremendous improvement in his second year in the league. ESPN's J.A. Adande takes a look:
Maybe then he can even be an All-Star. He's making every other logical progression you could expect from a second-year player, taking his Rookie of the Year-winning numbers of 20.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game and adding five points and two rebounds to the averages. Most of all, he's a better shot-taker and shot-maker.
Durant's at 48 percent this season. For a little perspective, Kobe Bryant has taken 13 seasons to get his field goal percentage to a similar number. Durant's 3-point percentage has gone from 29 percent as a rookie to 42 percent this year.
Speaking of NBA Longhorns. Rookie DJ Augustin returned from an injury this past week and immedeiately blew up for 27 points. Augustin added 6 assists, 2 rebounds and a steal in Charlotte's loss to Miami.
NFL Draft coverage is (still) a joke. With each passing year I'm more and more convinced that NFL Draft coverage is the biggest sham in sports media. The best of the best do a decent enough job, but for the most part the field consists of a swarm of hacks who know NFL team needs reasonably well but clearly haven't watched the players enough to say much worthwhile. Evidence abound, but this interview with the NFL Network's Mike Mayock takes the cake. He's got Texas' standout DE Brian Orakpo playing outside linebacker in the NFL. Christ almighty.
UPDATE: Several readers think Orakpo could play on the outside in the 3-4. I see him best suited to the 4-3, but the commenters have at the least convinced me that I picked the wrong example to make my point. So there. I suck at Draft coverage too.
Morning lines. A few items to get you through your morning:
- The Statesman interviews Mike Silve, chairman of this year's NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
- New blog for 'Canes fans (that's you Wiggo): The Seventh Floor.
- Colorado bloggers on Kansas State's 2009 recruiting class.
- TB argues the Big 12 North is better than the South in hoops this year. For once that may be true.
- Excellent coverage of the Mike Leach contract negotiations: Double T Nation.
- Odds to win the 2009 NCAA basketball national title.