From the stands: Around the Horn with Texas athletics
The Horns are about to start a run in the Big 12 Basketball Tournament that will rival... Okay, I realize how absurd that sounded as I was typing it... But hey! Anything can happen (more on hoops in a bit). Right now the kids are in the middle of spring break and there isn't much going on, so let's go Around the Horn.
Around the Horn
See what I did there? Horn? Topical and funny. See? I can’t believe I don’t write sitcoms. Let’s take a stroll around campus, shall we?
The Horns are in the middle of spring practice and will pick back up next week. Some highlights of the last week:
- David Ash is the clear, undisputed starter and leader of the team and is playing well in the new offense.
- The battle for No. 2 is on between Jalen Overstreet and Case McCoy. Tyrone Swoopes, the true freshman qb, is much better at this point than many thought he would be.
- With Trey Hopkins (stress fracture) and Josh Cochran (broken leg) out this spring, the o-line young and inexperienced.
- Bryce Cottrell (end) and Adrian Colbert (safety) are names to watch in the second half of spring.
- Tevin Jackson is out with a collarbone injury. NO MORE HURT LINEBACKERS.
- Cayleb Jones is in some real trouble.
- Quandre Diggs to safety? Yes, please.
And back to hoops. For the first time since 1998 and the first time in the Rick Barnes era, the Longhorns will not be going to the NCAA Tournament. With everyone chasing their NBA dreams or graduating, there were no upperclassmen for the team to lean on and they sputtered and stalled. They lost to Chaminade. CHAMINADE. Oh, and the whole Myck Kabongo mess.
That’s the bad news. The good news is they played much better down the stretch, going 3-1 to finish the regular season, including the win over ou, which was awesome. They play Wednesday night at 8:30 against TCU in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. The No. 7 seed, Texas will face Kansas State in the second round if they get there, and if you haven’t seen them play, they are good. Really, really, really good. Texas could shock the world and win a few games in the tourney, but you can’t count on it. But who knows?
Texas is the youngest team in the NCAA. Literally. There are like 345 Division I college basketball teams in the country and Texas ranks first in youngest rosters. That’s just nuts, isn’t it? It isn’t an excuse, though: the rim is the same height, the same rules apply and throwing the ball to the other team rather than your own guy is still frowned upon. Still, they can only get better.
I’ve seen TCU play and Texas should advance to play No. 2 seed Kansas State on Thursday in what will not doubt be a pro-purple house. A good chance it all comes to an end Thursday night, but you don't know until you play, right?
The Horns will have better seasons, starting next year.
As for the ladies, they are done. They lost to K-State, 51-49, in the Big 12 Tournament and their season ended with a 12-18 record. I expect Texas to be much better next year. They can't be much worse, am I right?
Fresh off a sweep of UC Santa Barbara, the Horns are winners of five straight and sit at 11-5. They start Big 12 conference play this weekend with Texas Tech in Austin, first game Friday night. The Red Raiders come to town 10-7 and will be a good gauge as to where Texas stands in the conference.
This team still has some trouble hitting at times, but I like the mix of young players and vets and they seem like a true Texas Longhorn baseball team. I think they are definitely on their way back to the national spotlight.
The one down side was the dismissal of junior Cohl Walla from the team. While not a surprise to those that follow the team closely, it was surprise to many fans. Walla was a star in 2010, but injuries limited him in 2011 and cost him all of 2012. The red shirt junior, let go for the-always-popular-but-never-disclosed “violation of team rules” was 0-4 in limited duty in 2013. Good luck, kid.
It's early, but I like this team to do some serious damage. Looking at the rest of the league, no one seems invincible.
The softball team has reeled off four straight after the debacle in Florida and head to Fullerton, CA this weekend for a tournament that seemingly everyone in the country is in. They play No. 3 Arizona State Thursday at 8:30 and have a double header on Friday: vs. Penn State at 7:30 and No. 19 Washington at 9:30. They play two more on Saturday, facing NC State at 5 p.m. and DePaul at 9:30 p.m.. The following weekend they had to Waco to start Big 12 play with Baylor.
You know what you are getting with Connie Clark's girls: they are great fielders, have great fielding and get timely hits. They had a hiccup earlier in the year at the tournament in Florida, but it seems everything back on track.
One of the cooler things about Longhorn Network is the ability to watch tennis matches. I've seen several and they are pretty cool. To be fair, though, I only watch the girls play, because, you know. Just because.
The men are ranked No. 21 and host UNC and UVA this weekend. The ladies are looking to snap a 3-game (match? contest? how do you say that?) losing streak with a West Coast run to play USC in LA and USD in San Diego on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Big 12 play starts in two weeks for both teams.
The defending National Champion Longhorns are ranked No. 2 in the nation and are headed to the Schnekel Invitational... That sounds made up. I'd check and make sure it isn't a scam, fellas. I've seen Identity Thief, I know how this could go down. The Horns are right where they should be.
I don't understand the track schedule. The Big 12 Indoor Championships are going on right now, but the outdoor track season is about to start. What's the difference? What is “indoor track?" Isn't running on a track running on a track? Why does location of the track matter? I am so confused.
I was in track. I threw the shot put and discus. Well, I threw them in practice. I was an alternate at the meets, meaning if someone couldn't throw, I would take their place. That never happened. And the thing about throwing shot and discus is you go first at a track meet, meaning you spend the next 9.5 hours in the stands watching everything else. You have no idea if your team is winning because everything is going on at the same time, so you are just sort of there. I got out of multiple football off-season workouts because of track, though, so it was totally worth it.
Now you are all caught up on the what's what for the sports in season at Texas right now. Amaze your friends at SXSW parties, or amaze them as you avoid downtown Austin like the plague. Or amaze them in other cities as well.
See you next week with a wrap up of basketball season... Or maybe not, because they are still playing. But yeah, basketball wrap up.