I want to lead with some recruiting news that we learned last night from the Rivals staff: Mack Brown has informed the state's #2 prospect, Van running back Jermie Calhoun, that Texas will not be recruiting him. The Longhorn coaches informed Calhoun last night that he would not be getting an invite to work out in Austin and that the coaches would not recruit him, period. If you remember last Thursday's Morning Coffee notes, I wondered aloud whether the loss of Stephen Good to OU would mean Mack Brown relaxing his standards to nab Calhoun. It looks like we have our answer, though there are a lot of fans who aren't happy about it.
On the Rivals message board, there's been a full fledged meltdown, with fans dividing into groups of sheer panic, anger, confusion, and more. Reader Alex White emailed me expressing his displeasure with the development, counting himself among the folks upset that we aren't recruiting this kid.
This is the space where I'm supposed to offer judgment on what's gone down, but it's so unclear what the exact reasons are for not recruiting Calhoun that it's near impossible to say for sure whether this makes any sense or not. Considering Calhoun's talent, and reported leadership, it's very tough not to like him. On the other hand, there's something there that's keeping the coaches away. Something big enough to bypass all he brings to the football team. For now, I just raise my eyebrows and hope Mack knows something that we don't, because Calhoun immediately told Rivals he now wants to go to OU.
I spent an hour last night watching the second half of Kansas and Kansas State, which wound up being a display of suffocating Jayhawk defense. Bill Self's squad flashed out on perimeter screens, switched with quickness and determination, beat the Wildcats to shooting spots, and generally made life hell for KSU on offense. I knew Kansas' defense was strong, but I was blown away by how good they looked, which prompted me to look up KenPom's Defensive Efficiency Ratings. Sure enough, there was Kansas at #1.
Rick Barnes could really do the 'Horns some good by showing them tape of that second half in Manhattan. Kansas never let the Wildcats get into a rhythm - inside or out. It was as good a defensive half as I've seen from any team this year.
Offensively for the Jayhawks, it's all about freshman Sherron Collins, who may already be the glue of that team. Without him, Kansas is a top 20 team. With him, they're a Final Four threat.
The author of SBN's Philadelphia Eagles blog Bleeding Green Nation asked me a series of questions about Michael Griffin in preparation for the NFL draft. My general conclusion? Griffin's probably not going to be an All Pro and looks more like a safer second or third round pick than a first rounder. Be sure to let BGN know what you think if I've sold Griffin short.
The 'Horns have climbed to 19th and 20th in the AP and Coaches Polls, respectively, something that's less important for the team, but more important for Kevin Durant's Player of the Year chances. None of that matters as much as where and how Texas gets seeded, however. Texas is currently a consensus #8 seed, but right on the cusp of moving up to a #7. We'll have much more tourney and seeding talk in the near future, but the 'Horns really need to play their way up to a #6 or #7, as there aren't any #1 seeds outside of Wisconsin that Texas looks like they could handle.
Rivals' Gerry Hamilton posed an even more interesting thought yesterday: if the 'Horns aren't going to make a strong run down the stretch that boosts their resume into a solid seed, they might just be better off stumbling into the tourney with a series of losses, including a first round Big 12 tournament loss, that dropped them to a #10 or #11 seed. Not only would they slip out of the dreaded #8-#9 game, but they'd get some much needed rest heading into March Madness. It's certainly an intersting thought, as I've noted how tired Durant is looking these days.
Last, thank you to everyone who emailed with tips on graphic design help. I've got a lot of interesting leads to follow up on this week. Much, much appreciated.