Powered By: A Five Game Losing Streak
On The iTunes: Owen Temple: "Right Here And Now"
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Over at the ESPN main hoops page, they're asking online respondents to vote for the player of the year. Durant (43% of the vote) leads Greg Oden (19%), Acie Law (17%), and Alando Tucker (13%) comfortably. I only bring this up because I spent Sunday afternoon watching the Buckeyes and Badgers play, and had a few strong feelings after watching the game.
- Ohio State's offense is a problem. They do rank fifth nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, but their overall numbers are misleading, skewed by some grotesque blowouts of inferior competition in the beginning of the year. If I'm a Buckeye fan, I worry about this team scoring enough to get to the Final Four.
- Alando Tucker is -not- a serious Player of the Year candidate. He shouldn't be, anyway. The guy has no game outside the paint, and while he's a very solid collegiate power forward, he's really just a well-built fifth year senior who does what he's supposed to around the rim. It's embarrassing to talk about Tucker and Durant in the same sentence, though. Especially when Tucker's not even the best player on his own team - let alone the entire nation.
- Thad Matta was impossible to watch coach. When he wasn't busy looking like a cow (chewing on gum), he was thrashing about the sidelines like a fish out of water, protesting any and every call that didn't go his way. On one particularly stunning outburst late in the game, he got so wrapped up in arguing with the officials throughout the entire thirty second timeout called by Wisconsin that his players had no idea what to do when the game resumed. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, meanwhile, had been busy coaching, drew up a play, and had his players execute it. They promptly scored a bucket, took the lead, and would have won the game had Taylor made his free throws down the stretch.
The NFL Combines are through five days of workouts in Indianapolis now, and the NFL is providing a gluttony of coverage. Streaming videos, report cards, rumors, gossip, projections, rankings, Wonderlic drama, and more. I went to NFL.com hoping to get a quick and easy update on how our six Longhorns were faring in their workouts, but surfing the encyclopedia of available information was dizzying.
"NFL.com info on Aaron Ross' 40 time, please?"
"No problem, sir. Right through this hedge."
I did learn that Brian Robison recorded the fastest time in the "Three Cone" for his defensive end group. So, my time wasn't totally wasted. Right?
In recruiting news, Beaumont DT Kheeston Randall visited Austin yesterday and committed, bringing the number of '08 commits up to 15 already. Texas has a few outstanding offers to key targets in the state, but you may see the next wave of efforts extend beyond the Texas borders as Mack looks to round out the rest of his class.
I'll conclude with a word on seeding, and take a cue from Jedi Garrido in doing so. After Texas made a series of uncharacteristic mistakes in trying to overcome a late-inning lead they'd given up to Washington State on Sunday, Garrido noted that the moment you get away from taking things pitch by pitch and at-bat by at-bat, you get away from the very things that actually matter in winning and losing the game.
Tying this in to our hoops frenzy: as we enter late February and early March, with tournament and seeding talk reaching a boil, it's important to remember that as interesting as it is to talk about seeds and matchups and all the rest, you still have to win four games to reach the Final Four, and no matter your starting position, you're going to have to play great basketball; there are no free passes in the Big Dance. And that's why I think - in sorting through all the interesting posts on BON about all this - both sides are probably right. Playing a pitbull of an underdog is just as scary as playing a behemoth of a #1 seed. There are no easy paths to the promised land; the teams that play the best basketball will get there - no matter who they have to play. Regardless of opponent (or their seed), the road will be treacherous, and only the strongest will survive. We'll learn a lot about Texas' Final Four chances this week - no team in the nation has a tougher final pair of games.