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Post-UNC Praise For Longhorns Keeps Rolling In

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Let's start with John Gasaway over at Basketball Prospectus, who promised me a couple weeks ago he'd talk Texas, but only after he got a chance to see 'em take on the Tar Heels. John delivered on that promise today (read the whole thing):

Weekend in Hoops: No One Looks Better Than Texas

This year I’ve seen Carolina outplayed and schematically frustrated by Syracuse, and I’ve even seen them matched athletically by Kentucky. But I literally can’t remember the last time I found myself bestowing mid-major-variety "You poor overmatched dears" pity upon a Tar Heel team. Next to a physical specimen like Dexter Pittman, Ed Davis looked like John Henson. (Don’t ask me what Henson looked like.) To see a Roy Williams team operate at a clear horespower deficit is, to say the least, rare.

[...]Give Pittman most of the credit for UT’s stellar showing on the offensive glass. The big guy recorded 12 offensive boards in just 26 minutes of playing time. From my chair Pittman’s performance in this game (he recorded a 23-15 double-double) marked something of a return to 2008-09 form. I realize he’s been garnering headlines this year for his unbelievable shooting (he is making 79 percent of his twos on the season), but what had interested me about that shooting was that these are not just put-backs he’s recording. Before he saw Carolina blue, Pittman’s offensive rebounding was actually down from last year. But after what I saw him do Saturday against a frontline stocked with future NBA players, I know that Pittman has the potential to achieve DeJuan Blair-level domination in any game against any team, up to and including Kansas.

More praise for Texas after the jump.

From Gary Parrish at CBSSports.com:

Sure, it's early... but 'Horns have that championship look

On this day, [Texas' frontcourt] ranked off the charts. As did Texas in general. And that's why Barnes, though guarded and careful like any coach, is no longer hiding from the reality that this might be the best team he's ever assembled, might well be better than the team he took to the 2003 Final Four.

"Could it be?" Barnes said. "Yeah, maybe, possibly. ... But we're not there yet."

No, they aren't.

It's still December, after all.

But after watching the Longhorns Saturday, it sure looks like they're on their way.

And finally, from ESPN.com's Jay Bilas' weekly wrap:

Nobody Played Harder Than: Damion James, Texas
James now has 41 career double-doubles, which is remarkable. The versatile and voracious rebounder is simply relentless, and he scored 25 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and had four steals against North Carolina. He was the toughest dude in Cowboys Stadium this weekend, and would have been even if the Cowboys had been playing at home.

Most Impressive Conference: Hands down, the Big 12
Whatever questions there were about the top and middle of the league have been answered in the affirmative. Kansas is the best team, although the Jayhawks' schedule has let them down. Who would have thought a road game against UCLA and a matchup with Michigan would have provided as much resistance as a Chihuahua pulling on its leash? KU played poorly against both and was never threatened. Texas got its first test against North Carolina and got an A-plus, while Kansas State proved it is for real by beating UNLV and Alabama away from home. I thought the Big Ten would have shown better, but the Big 12 has proven to be the best league.

Best Win: Texas out-toughing North Carolina
The Longhorns were not only tougher, but they were also more explosive and skilled on the perimeter and bigger and stronger in the post. Texas outrebounded North Carolina by 20, and by a whopping 17 on the offensive glass. This is Rick Barnes' best offensive team since he has been in Austin, and there is room for improvement.