Friday, March 21, 2008

Any Advice From Duke?

Duke pulled their latest magic trick last night, angering a majority of the nation, as they escaped the 15 seed Belmont 71-70, with a last second layup. Duke shouldn't have won that game, and it's a shame that Belmont couldn't PICK UP THE MAN WITH THE BALL ON THE FAST BREAK!!!! It's only the first thing they teach you when defending the fast break, man! But that's another gripe for another day.

The bigger question is what we can learn from the Blue Devils after their run in with Belmont. I think they would tell you that you must watch out for a small conference, small school, with a bunch of white guys from Middle Tennessee, that just shoot threes. Oh well good, fortunately, what are the odds that we're going to run into another #15 seed with those credentials. Oh wait, where's Austin Peay from? Oh damn.

The Governors hail from somewhere in Middle Tennessee. I suppose I should know this since I now reside in Tennessee, but I was too lazy to look it up. Hopefully the Longhorns will not be too lazy to do their homework against Austin Peay. Hey! It's in Clarksville, TN. See Longhorns, we must not overlook any detail!

But when the Longhorns lineup today they will be looking across at a lineup that for once makes theirs look big. With a front line that stands 6'5", 6'5", and 6'4" you would think Texas has the ability to dominate inside. However, Drake Reed and Fernandez Lockett (Yes, I'm aware he has two last names) are physical and play above their small stature inside. Combined they're averaging 25.5 ppg and 12.5 rpg. Since Texas traditionally doesn't attack inside, they should be spared somewhat. But Texas needs to attack the lane and DJ Augustin has to take advantage of a lack of height inside to contest his drives. Also, Damion James should have a field day on the offensive and defensive boards, and Connor Atchley should be able to cause some problems defensively with his length inside.

So you are probably thinking, finally Texas can match up well with somebody. Well, that would be the case until you realize that outside of their 5'9" point guard Derek Wright (11.7 ppg/4.8 apg/41 % 3P) they have 6'5 guard Todd Babington, 6'5" swingman Kyle Duncan, and 6'3" gaurd Wes Channels coming off the bench. This could mean that AJ Abrams will be drawing an assignment against a taller guard, which fortunately he has only been dealing with that since the 2nd grade.

However, I have yet to address the number one concern with Austin Peay. They shoot threes. Alot of them. And they happen to make a lot of them too. Derek Wright and Todd Babington are the leading culprits shooting 41% and 38%, with Babington coming off a 9 of 14 3-point performance in the OVC championship game (The Ohio Valley Conference, fyi). But don't count out Kyle Duncan who will also shoot some threes at a rediculous 57% (42 of 71) and Channels also shoots a healthy 36% from three. If Texas leaves them open looks, lets them gain confidence, and get on a roll, this game could be close the entire way. And the longer the Horns do that, the longer Austin Peay will look an awful lot like Belmont.

Texas will probably have to rely on DJ Augustin, Damion James, and AJ Abrams for much of the game. Though any continued support from Justin Mason who has been amazing over the last ten games, offensively, defensively, and intangiably would be greatly appreciated. It would be nice to see Gary Johnson back and healthy and contributing after a lower leg injury sidelined him for all of the Big XII Touranment. But most importantly it would be nice to see a shread of confidence return to the shooting stroke of Connor Atchley. Unfortunately, unlike AJ Abrams, he won't keep jacking it if it isn't falling. Connor is a great weapon inside and out and it takes away an offensive weapon when his shot isn't falling.

What we need from the rest of the kids, is solid defense, hustle, and rebounding from Wangmene, Pittman, and Chapman. But as a whole, Texas needs to come focused, with intensity and put this game away before it even gets started. I wasn't really concerned about this game, until I watched the Duke game. I don't know if I should thank Duke for the wake up call, or hate Duke for making me nervous as hell for a 2 v 15 matchup.

I know.

I hate you Duke, you should have lost.

No comments: