Thursday, June 01, 2006


The Big 12 as a whole seems to be in a state of (hopefully temporary) decline, as every team besides the Jayhawks and Aggies have very questionable prospects for next season.

The Texas Longhorns figured to remain in the national mix, even given the expected departure of LaMarcus Aldridge. But in recent weeks P.J. Tucker has hired an agent (even though many project he won't even go in the first round) and Daniel Gibson has also made himself available for the draft. Plus, reserve forward Mike Williams is transferring even though he would have been a starter next year. (Rick Barnes doesn't seem to inspire much loyalty).

However, a recent article in CNNSI gives Texas fans (and Kansas fans, I think) reason to take heart.

First, Texas has the third-ranked recruiting class in the nation, including #2, forward Kevin Durant and #19, guard Damion James, who just backed out of his original commitment to Oklahoma, plus four other blue-chippers. Second, apparently the new personnel has inspired Barnes to install a run-and-gun offensive system a la the Phoenix Suns--probably the most exciting team in the NBA. This would be a refreshing change from the primitive, brutish offense previously employed by Barnes (and soon to be employed in Manhattan, KS).

With Kansas already playing an uptempo game befitting the talents of Rush, Wright, etc., and a similarly talented group of young Longhorns who are ready to run teams out of the gym, we could be looking at some epic games between these two programs as UT's players develop, much like in the T.J. Ford heyday a few years back.

Remember, also, that new Mizzou coach Mike Anderson plays an up-tempo full-court press game in the Nolan Richardson mode. So despite Bob Huggins' unwelcome entrance into our league, we could be looking at some very entertaining matchups over the next few years.

P.S. I'm ready to eat my words regarding the Miami Heat and the Detroit Pistons, but I won't actually eat them until the clock reads 0:00 and the Heat have won that fourth game. I heard on the radio this morning that the Pistons have now faced 13 elimination games since 2003 and have won 11 of them! They just don't seem to play their best until they're looking down the barrel of a gun.

Meanwhile, check out these D-Wade acrobatics from Game 4:

He actually MADE this shot! And one!


  1. Deron, didn't you say that the Cavs would have to upset the Pistons for the Heat to have any chance of making the Finals?


    I TOLD YOU SO!!! (and stuff.)

  2. It's nice that you've rejoined the blog for the first time in weeks just to stick it to me, SJ.

    But yes, I am now officially eating my words.

    I still don't understand how the Pistons went from playing like champs all season to chumps in the playoffs. I guess Larry Brown deserves more credit than he's been getting lately.

  3. Can always make time to stick it to ya, Deron! :)

    Any predictions on the Finals?

    I say Heat in 5. I don't know who the Mavs have to guard Shaq. Dampier is not going to cut it.

  4. You're forgetting about DeSagna Diop ...

    I'd agree the Mavs can't guard Shaq, and they won't stop D-Wade either.

    But they beat the Spurs without stopping Duncan, Parker, or Manu. Why? Because the Spurs couldn't keep up with them on the defensive end, even though D has always been their specialty. The Mavs are quick, aggressive, and deadly shooters from anywhere on the floor, plus unlike Phoenix they play just enough defense to make the opponent sweat a bit.

    The Heat have played much better D lately than they did in the regular season, but I don't see them stopping the Mavs. Who's going to guard Dirk, Howard, Terry and Stackhouse? At least if it comes down to it the Mavs can hack-a-Shaq, but Miami doesn't have that option.

    I'll say Mavs in 6 or 7. Homecourt will help a lot. Still, the way Miami played against Detroit it wouldn't shock me if they pulled it off. Should be an exciting series.

  5. Bad Keegan Quote of the Day:

    "In Wade, Simien teams with the closest thing to Michael Jordan since Jordan. Simien has an all-time great teammate at center in Shaq. Simien also has the worst seat in the house: the bench."

    Um, wouldn't that be the BEST seat in the house?