Tubby Smith had to essentially start over...again. Gone were Crockett and Kravic (to graduation). Those were expected. Unfortunately for Smith, also gone were Hannahs and Tolbert (to transfer). Those were not.
High noon on the Monday after Christmas is probably not an ideal tipoff time for a major college basketball game. It certainly didn't appear to be ideal for the Texas Longhorns, who beat Rice 66-55 at the Erwin Center despite what seemed to be a sure case of holiday doldrums.
Following a heart breaking loss to Stanford in Austin last week, the Longhorns (10-2) look to regroup in their final tuneup before Big 12 action on Monday against the Rice Owls (3-7) in what is hoped to be the last game Texas plays without star point guard Isaiah Taylor.
Texas is playing with the big boys now – in more ways than one. The Horns will not only face the most storied program in college hoops Friday when it travels to No. 1 Kentucky, they will tipoff against a lineup that is longer than on most NBA teams. The Wildcats boasts seven players who stand at least six-foot-eight, including seven-footer Willie Cauley-Stein.
With perhaps a wandering eye toward Friday's huge matchup with No. 1 Kentucky, a sluggish Texas basketball team pushed past University of Texas-Arlington for a 63-53 win Tuesday night at the Frank Erwin Center.
After two of the most successful seasons in program history under head coach Scott Cross during the 11-12 and 12-13 years, UTA (3-3) took a step back during the 2013-14 season, going 15-17 overall and 9-9 in the Sun Belt. Making matters worse, the Mavericks lost their top two scorers in Reger Dowell and Brandon Edwards. This shouldn’t be a particularly close game.
It was a lesson of how to lose a game. UConn came into the game with two guys who could hurt a defense scoring the basketball (Boatright and Hamilton)...they scored 37 of UConn’s 54 points. UConn needed to generate second chance opportunities and turnovers because of that lack of scoring depth...the Longhorns gave up 12 offensive rebounds at turned the ball over 13 times.
After a successful (if unfortunate - read: Taylor, Isaiah) trip to New York City, the Texas Longhorn basketball team returns to the friendly confines of the Erwin Center to face the Saint Francis University Red Flash (the one 90 miles out of Pittsburgh, not the one in Brooklyn).