Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“You Gotta Get Some Movement!” Or, Keep Your Head Up Frank Martin

Syracuse 84 Notre Dame 71 Question: who wins between Syracuse and Luke Harangody? Syracuse. But only because Jim Boeheim keeps a lock of Harangody’s hair next to his chest at all times. Seriously, though, Notre Dame didn’t have a shot.

Kansas State 71 Texas 62 So it’s come to this. Only one unbeaten team left in the country, and it isn’t Texas. K State played a great first half, and then Texas came out after the break and was Texas. After rattling off six points in the amount of time it takes to clean spilled beer with a ShamWow (no time at all, for the record), it felt like the Longhorns had taken control. And K State’s half-court offense was bad. For about fifteen minutes, it was putrid. Bob Knight could only repeat “you gotta get some movement” so many times before even he got sick of hearing himself. And right on cue, Jacob Pullen would bring it up the court while four of his teammates would stand like statues for 30 seconds, before Pullen would throw up an awful shot, and Texas was back on offense. ESPN had a brilliant cut shot at this point to Frank Martin, hunched shouldered, shaking his head in disgust.

So how did the Wildcats pull it off? When the dust settled, they got back on defense. As bad as their offense was, their transition d was amazing. Texas ended up with 18 turnovers, the same as K State, but the Longhorns seemed to turn it over at all the wrong times. Or, the Wildcats forced them at all the right ones. Either way, defense won this game last night as Dexter Pittman and Damion James were held to just 15 points and 14 rebounds combined. It also didn’t help that Texas only made 9 of 22 free throws. Yeah, it was that bad.

Final thought: As much as it kills me to admit this, Digger may have made a point at halftime…sort of. Phelps questioned the player rotation Rick Barnes was using. Namely, he thought he was subbing in too many guys, not allowing his starters to develop a rhythm. While this may have felt true in the first half, I would criticize Barnes for not subbing enough in the second half. Around the 11-minute mark it was clear that Dexter Pittman’s tank was running on empty. But Barnes just kept letting it run. Meanwhile Clint Chapman, who had done an outstanding job in the first half, didn’t see the floor again until Pittman picked up his fourth foul. So whether there was too much subbing in the first half, or too little in the second, it was evident that a set rotation hasn’t landed in Austin yet.

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