Texas Longhorns: Is this the year?
On Saturday, the Texas Longhorns traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana to face the Purdue Boilermakers in Mackey Arena. The Boilers had won 18 straight games in what many call one of the best atmospheres in all of college basketball. Under Shaka Smart, the Longhorns have been just good enough to win more than they lose but not quite a program that could consistently make the NCAA tournament.
Well, that may be beginning to change as of Saturday. After a shaky start in front of a raucous crowd, the Longhorns found a way to win a game that they may have lost in previous seasons. The win on the road against a well respected BIG 10 program will go a long way toward an NCAA bid in March. Here are 5 takeaways about Texas from the win.
Matt Coleman is valuable
Coleman scored, assisted and defended at a high caliber all evening. He single handedly led the Longhorns 7-0 run in the last three minutes that game Texas the lead for good. His decision making was outstanding as he found numerous teammates open for good looks. Coleman scored 22 points and had seven assists in 39 minutes.
Shaka Smart believes in his guys
Coach Smart was very forward in the post game press conference in how much he believes in his guys to execute and make good decisions. He praised his players ability to overcome a tough start. There have been a lot of questions about the direction of the program at Texas, we believe that it is headed in a positive direction under Shaka Smart.
Long and Lengthy
The Longhorns are full of long and lengthy athletes. They can apply a lot of pressure on the ball and defend in the lane. Purdue struggled shooting from 2 hitting 17-46 for 37.8%. The Boilers missed several shots at the rim.
Rebounding must improve
The Longhorns were out rebounded 36-24 on the night and gave up 17 offensive rebounds on the night. Coach Smart commented that while they are long and lengthy they must be more physical in the rebounding game.
Andrew Jones is an inspiration
Andrew Jones cannot be stopped. This is very true on the court and off the court. On Saturday, the Paint Crew (Purdue student section) posted a banner with those words on the baseline by the Texas bench. Purdue having embraced Tyler Trent and his struggle with cancer supported an opponent on Saturday. Class act by the Boilers. Jones scored 7 points in his 19 minutes and hit some key FT’s down the stretch. Congrats to Andrew for the hard work it takes to get to this point.