Dogus was a wizard last night.
Rick Barnes spent his post-game radio interview singing the praises of his seniors after Texas' 79-46 rout of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Gary Johnson scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, Jai Lucas hit three of four three pointers in scoring 13 points and grabbing 6 boards, Matt Hill had 3 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks, and Dogus Balbay anchored a suffocating Longhorns defense with an inspiring 5 steals in just 10 minutes of play. Texas had 13 steals and 8 blocks on the night and forced 23 Arkansas turnovers, while committing just 10 turnovers themselves.
Texas wasn't particularly great on the offensive end, but they were effective for the majority of the game, and demonstrated their understanding of how to attack Arkansas, which forewent the zone defense they have been playing for most of this season to test Texas straight up in man. That in itself is notable, as fans no doubt remember that the book on defending Texas has been to pack in a zone. You can't do that against this Longhorns team, both because of the shooters on the floor and the exponential improvement in Barnes' approach to attacking zone defenses.
All in all, it was a mismatch, and while the Arkansas team Texas ran out of the gym was not a good one, heading into this season none of us would have predicted that this UT squad was so drastically better as to blow out the Hogs. We're a very good team that keeps getting better, and has much higher potential than was imagined in November. There's ample credit to be shared between Rick Barnes, Todd Wright, the fantastic freshmen, and the impressive improvement from Hamilton, Brown, and Johnson.
This is as fun a Texas team to watch since 2006-07.
Next Game: Saturday at home vs UCONN