We don't chest thump very often here at BON, but as we've taken our lumps for our glaring mis-picks, it's nice when we get one right. Our good friends at the Phog Blog wrote a positional breakdown of the Horns and Jayhawks that I found, um, a little bit charitable to the young Kansas players.
I countered with a different perspective, highlighted by this concluding gem, which I will remind you of in a nice bit of self-congratulations:
See? We know what we're talking about! Sometimes, anyway.
Anyway, this was a huge game for the Horns, and certainly a more meaningful victory for us than a bad loss for Kansas. They're young and played on the road against the class of the conference. They got whipped solidly, but they're still a strong young team that can, and will, learn from their loss.
The important thing is that Texas flexed its muscles and got back on track after two lackluster performances against Oklahoma State and Kansas State. The win puts the Horns on the inside track for the outright conference title and all but assures at least a split title. The big win also inches the Horns closer to a #1 seed, which, as I've been saying, matters insofar as it means you can be assured of not facing Duke or UCONN before the Final Four.
A few random thoughts from the game:
*After watching Julian Wright play, I must say I was impressed, but the Magic Johnson comp from the Phog author was befuddling. He -did- look like some goon from the late 1980s, but his game was nothing like Magic's. Just a weird player comp, I thought. That said, he was solid. A nice young player.
*The Big 12 Player of the Year is PJ Tucker. The best player in the conference is Lamarcus Aldridge. What a spectacular duo. Aldridge looked every bit the NBA Lottery Pick on Saturday night, hitting long jumpers, fadeaways, strong post moves, and blocking shots. The best all-around player Texas fans have seen in a long time; maybe ever. If he plays that well in the tournament, we're going to the Final Four. Tucker, meanwhile, is Tucker. Some head scratching plays, but still the most tenacious and assertive player on the court. You gotta love the guy.
*AJ Abrams is really coming along, much more so than I expected. His development and contributions have caught me by surprise, I must admit. He's really made the case for playing 20+ minutes per game.
*Kudos to Rick Barnes for mixing in more man-to-man defense against the young Jayhawks, who undoubtedly spent most of their offensive gameplanning preparing for the zone. Opening the game in tight man to man against a young and inexperienced team was a smart coaching move. It affected the Jayhawks, even though they started the game shooting pretty well. You want a young team to be a little bit uncomfortable on the court, and Texas made that happen.
*Daniel Gibson wasn't much of a factor scoring wise, but he had a solid game, in part because he didn't just stand around jacking threes and in part because we did a good job working the inside game. Gibson's four assists and no turnovers were nice to see. He also added two for four shooting from beyond the arc. Let's hope that the Horns realize that working the inside game will open up the easy jumpshots that lead to 10-20 shooting from three point land, as we saw Saturday.
*Anyone heard from Rock Chalk lately?