Thursday, November 17, 2005
Texas rolls to Guardian's semifinals; Texas Tech KOed by Syracuse.
P.J. Tucker elevates over Samford's Jerry Smith (Austin American-Statesman/Ricardo B. Brazziell)
OK, the games were against Southern and Samford. However, the fact that the Longhorns came out and completely dominated two teams that shouldn't even be sharing the same court with them signals that they are right on track.
Why? Great teams beat bad teams badly. Great teams don't play to the level of their competition.
The most impressive performances came from the two Longhorns who missed significant time last season. P.J. Tucker, who missed last season due to academic suspension, had 18 and 22 points in the two games (an average of 20 PPG even). LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed most of last year with an injury, had a double-double both games and led all Longhorn scorers with 19 points in the Southern game.
They face their first real test in their next game against West Virginia, who knocked out Texas Tech in last year's regionals, almost knocked off Louisville in the regional final, and returns most of the core of that roster.
And if they get through that, it's the winner of Iowa-Kentucky in the finals of the Guardians Classic.
Meanwhile, this year's Texas Tech team just realized how far away from elite status they really are. A sweet 16 team last year, the Red Raiders were demolished by Gerry McNamara and the Syracuse Orange. in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer classic. It could be a bad sign for things to come as the Raiders' big guns, Jarrious Jackson and Martin Zeno, melted under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and a Dickie V ESPN telecast. Also, the Raiders were unable to handle Syracuse's 2-3 zone, something the Raiders handled better last year when they had Devonne Giles.