Tag Archives: North Carolina Tar Heels

College Football: Week 6 Viewing Guide

Well, last week was once again unfortunate. So, as Longhorn fans hope for another 10-win season and a respectable bowl invitation, we can still enjoy the best games each week. Texas is mercifully off this week, but there’s plenty else to keep you entertained.

The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

Settle in for some indifference! Here’s the Week 6 viewing guide.

Saturday, October 9
12:00 PM ET
Indiana at #2 Ohio State (ESPN/ESPN3D)

Ohio State is easily rolling along through their schedule. Don’t expect an upset, but this is an opportunity to see one of the best teams in the country.

3:30 PM ET
#1 Alabama at #19 South Carolina (CBS)

Alabama looks unstoppable based on the way they’ve dominated so far this season. Yet they struggled the last time they went on the road against a ranked team, needing a second half comeback to pull off the win against Arkansas two weeks ago. You can bet the Ol’ Ball Coach picked up some pointers he hopes to exploit.

Check the coverage maps to see where to find which regional game will be on in your area. The regional games this week include:

#11 Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (ABC)
If you can catch it in your area, A&M facing Arkansas at Cowboy Stadium should bring back Southwest Conference memories.

#17 Michigan State at #18 Michigan (ABC/ESPN)
Michigan hosting Michigan State will finally be interesting again, especially with one of the most exciting QBs in the country under Rich Rodriguez’s tutelage.

Clemson at North Carolina (ABC/ESPN)
Once again, ACC country gets a horrible game in the mid-afternoon regional lineup.

7:30 PM ET
#8 Auburn at Kentucky (ESPN2)

Auburn is yet another SEC team that’s rolling right along and looking like a legitimate threat to Alabama’s hopes for SEC domination this season. Auburn will be looking for a little payback going to Kentucky having lost to the Wildcats at home a year ago.

#12 LSU at #14 Florida (ESPN)
Urban Meyer should have asked Nick Saban for a safe word in last week’s throttling. Either the wheels have fallen off or the Gators will be looking to make a statement against unbeaten LSU.

We also have a pair of regional games in the prime time slot:

8:00 PM ET
#23 Florida State at #13 Miami, FL (ABC)

The history in this game makes it intriguing to watch every year. This is the rivalry that brought us “Wide Right” and Jenn Sterger. Both teams are on the upswing for the first time in what seems like forever so it’s nice to finally have some meaning in it once again. If you’re east of the Rockies, this will be your game.

Southern California at #16 Stanford (ABC)
For those on the West Coast, you get the PAC-10 matchup. Both teams took their first loss last week, and the memory of the drama following last year’s Stanford win is surely fresh in everyone’s mind.

10:35 PM ET
San Jose State at #21 Nevada (ESPNU)

Your night cap game this week gives you a look at suddenly surging Nevada. Could they pose a legitimate threat to Boise State later this year? Take a look for yourself.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing contributions to EyesOfTX.


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Game Preview: Texas Longhorns v. North Carolina Tar Heels

Saturday, December 19
2:00 p.m. ET

In what is building up to be one of the biggest games in recent Texas basketball history, the unbeaten and #2-ranked Texas Longhorns will face off on Saturday afternoon with the storied #10-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in the new Texas Stadium in Arlington.

#2 Texas Longhorns (9-0)
The ‘Horns have yet to face an elite opponent in the 2009 season, yet after starting off the year ranked #3, they’ve quietly crept their way up to #2 right behind Big 12 Conference foe Kansas. As you may know, the 2009 squad is loaded with talent, including returning seniors center Dexter Pittman (13.7 points and 6.2 rebounds/game) and forward Damion James (15.4 points and 10.1 rebounds/game), not to mention a swath of talented freshman from across the country that allow Texas to go deep in to games with fresh players. All told, the ‘Horns have five players averaging double-digit points per game, but they will need to rely upon the experience and leadership of the seniors on the big stage, and lay off the 3-point shot, which has been their go-to shot selection early in the season.

Texas center Dexter Pittman

To be successful in this game, and down the stretch, head coach Rick Barnes has to get more production out of his players at the free throw line, where they have been miserable to-date with only two players shooting better than 70 percent from the line. Those “free” points will help Texas extend and hold a lead late in games, and it will be critical not only to Saturday’s match-up, but to their long-term success in 2009.

Coming in Saturday’s game, the ‘Horns have a few key injuries including guard J’Covan Brown (who has been cleared to play) and forward Shawn Williams (who will not play) – both sustained left ankle injuries in the game against Texas State last week.

#10 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-2)
The Tar Heels are young and talented as well, and despite two early season losses to #24 Syracuse and #4 Kentucky, they have knocked off #15 Ohio State and #9 Michigan State. In addition, the Tar Heels have experience on the bench against the ‘Horns by way of former Kansas coach Roy Williams, who led his Jayhawk teams against Barnes in year’s past. Williams’ current squad is led by two strong forwards in Deon Thompson (averaging 17.1 points and 8.1 rebounds/game) and Ed Davis (14.0 points and 9.5 rebounds/game), but also get strong play from their point guards Marcus Ginyard and Larry Drew II. All told, those four players average about 28 minutes a game, and the Tar Heels are capable of playing deep in to their bench just like the ‘Horns. Without a true center, however, it will be interesting to see how they match-up against Texas’ Pittman in the paint, not to mention guard/forward James who can play inside or out for the Longhorns.

For a full preview, including strengths and weaknesses of both teams heading in to Saturday’s match-up, check out this article on ESPN.

Hook ‘em!

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College Football: Week 13 Viewing Guide

It’s Thanksgiving week, which is also Rivalry Week. We’ll be light on commentary this week, because most of these games speak for themselves. Many of these rivalries are sullied this year with dominant teams facing off against their historic opponents in rebuilding years. However, for those teams with nothing else to play for, these match-ups will be their “championship” because it would bring a team – like Auburn or Texas A&M – no greater pleasure than to spoil the BCS title hopes of their nemeses. So, don’t be surprised to emotional play lead to some surprising upsets this weekend.

Remember to check the TV coverage maps, and note that all rankings are the current BCS standings. Enjoy your leftovers and save room to indulge in your week 13 viewing guide.

8:00 PM ET
#3 Texas 49 v. Texas A&M 39
This was…unusually close. Despite the loss, the Aggies might have played their best game of the year – at least offensively. QB Jerrod Johnson looked fantastic, and will continue to be a threat to Texas in the next couple of years. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be irate after the way the defense played Thursday night, but my guess is that emotion and momentum kept the Aggies in the game much longer than expected because the ‘Horns offense clicked most of the game. If you’re running behind on Eyes Of TX content, the in-depth game preview can be found here. There is no asterisk as division champs this year, as Texas has plowed their way to the Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska on December 5th.

11:00 AM ET
Rutgers at Louisville, ESPN2
Exciting! Not. But, football season’s almost over….let’s feast while we still can.

12:00 PM ET
Illinois at #5 Cincinnati, ABC
One final test for the Bearcats. Rumor has it former starting QB Pike will make the start this week. Eyes Of TX says, “why mess with a good thing?” Hope that doesn’t backfire for Cincinnati, but an upset sure would make the BCS happy.

2:30 PM ET
#2 Alabama at Auburn, CBS
Can ‘Bama overcome their biggest rival to give themselves a shot at #1 Florida, the SEC championship and the national championship? We’ll see how Auburn gets up for this game after a killer start, but a late season let-down. If head coach Gene Chizik pulls off the upset, sadly, he will be enshrined as the best coach ever at Auburn.

3:30 PM ET
Nebraska at Colorado, ABC
Nebraska has clinched the Big 12’s North division and will face #3 Texas on December 5th for the Big 12 conference title. This will be the last opportunity to see what Bo Pelini’s squad has to offer, in particular his offense, and while most thought it will be Colorado’s last chance to help head coach Dan Hawkins keep is job, the university confirmed that he would be coaching in Boulder again next season. The NCAA might as well give CU the “death penalty” because they’ve definitely rolled over this year.

7:00 PM ET
#9 Pittsburgh at West Virginia, ESPN2
Does anyone else think Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt has a funny mustache?

10:00 PM ET
Nevada at #6 Boise State, ESPN2
Close out the night with this late game. Boise State could be shut out of the BCS this year despite being #6 and undefeated. It’s too bad their weak schedule didn’t allow us to see just how good they can be, and perhaps Oregon helped them look better than they actually are… With #5 Cincinnati and #4 TCU as mid-major schools ahead of them in the BCS, it will be a disappointment for the home of the blue turf.

12:00 PM ET
Both of these games are intriguing for the in-state bragging rights implications. Neither matchup is particularly compelling but in the context of Rivalry Week, they’re definitely worth watching.

#18 Clemson at South Carolina, ESPN
The ‘ol Ball Coach tries to make a stand in Columbia against a ranked opponent. Win or lose, they could keep Clemson RB C.J. Spiller from winning some post-season awards if they can hold him to a sub-par performance.

North Carolina at North Carolina State, ESPN2
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound? In the shadows of the Appalachian mountains, its basketball season folks.

12:21 PM ET
#25 Mississippi at Mississippi State, check local listings
If you can find this, see the same reasons as above. If anything, Texas fans can relish in the fact that when the pressure was on to deliver a big year for Ole Miss, former Longhorn back-up quarterback Jevan Snead fell flat in 2009.

12:30 PM ET
#12 Oklahoma State at oklahoma, Comcast Sports Net
Another one that will be hard to find, unfortunately, because it’s always nice to watch ou struggle. With this year’s ‘Pokes team rolling to a potential BCS at-large bid, it’s hard to imagine them dropping this one, even though they’re away from home.

3:30 PM ET
Florida State at #1 Florida, CBS
Florida’s won the last 21 games of this series, if memory serves. For Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden, the good thing is he’s old enough to forget each game. Florida wins big, and sets up the ultimate SEC Championship match-up of #1 v. #2 Alabama for the right to play in the national championship.

#14 Virginia Tech at Virginia, ESPN
Virginia is an absolute debacle this year. Expect the Hokies to roll the ‘Roos at home.

#17 Miami at South Florida, ABC
This might actually be interesting, as South Florida started out the year strong, as did Miami. We’ll see what the ACC has to offer up the bowl committees besides a surprising Georgia Tech. Can Miami step up?

(Also in this slot on ABC is Arizona at Arizona State, and Missouri at Kansas.)

5:00 PM ET
#21 Utah at #19 BYU, CBS College Sports
A great in-state matchup between two of the best non-BCS conference teams.

7:00 PM ET
Arkansas at #15 LSU, ESPN
LSU has found out they weren’t quite as good as they thought, in part due to horrible coaching by Les Miles last week. Arkansas has been inconsistent, but could pull off the upset. Unfortunately, Death Valley isn’t an easy place to play, especially the week after an LSU loss.

8:00 PM ET
Georgia at #7 Georgia Tech, ABC
Who would have thought the best team in Georgia would be out of Atlanta? Georgia Tech’s triple-option has proven surprisingly successful this year. Go Yellowjackets!

Notre Dame at Stanford, ABC
What could be head coach Charlie Weis’ last game at Notre Dame will be shown in most of the country. Meanwhile, Stanford will try to stamp their ticket with another win against a big-time program.

Thanks again to LilPete for his 2009 season viewing guides.

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Season Preview: Texas Longhorns Basketball’s Yellow Brick Road Leads to Indy

While Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and the rest of the Texas football team wind down their to-date undefeated season and a possible berth in the National Championship in Pasadena, Calif., in January, the #3-ranked ‘Horns basketball squad have taken the court in the Drum in 2009 with one goal in mind: make the Final Four in Indianapolis in March. The Burnt Orange faithful don’t need reminders of Texas’ painful early second round exit in last year’s tournament against the Duke Blah Devils and Mike Wizzuwooski. Mark Eyes Of TX’s words, this year will be different and here’s why:

After flirting with the possibility of entering the NBA draft, both Dexter Pittman and Damion James decided to stay for their senior year. With Pittman’s 6’10”, 290-pound frame clogging the middle and James’ Energizer bunny playing style, Texas already has two deadly weapons who can dominate the game on both offense and defense.

Adding to the experience Pittman and James bring to the Longhorns, head coach Rick Barnes used his Wil’ E. Coyote super genius recruiting prowess to sign the third best freshman class in the nation, which includes guards Avery Bradley and J’Covan Brown and forward Jordan Hamilton. These three frosh are instant impact players and their contributions were witnessed in Texas’ first win of the season against UC-Irvine. Don’t count out forward Shawn Williams this season either, another top recruit brought in as a scorer but who will also provide a strong rebounding and defensive presence.

There’s an old saying in basketball, “Deep benches, deep in the tournament.” Well, maybe that was made up on the couch, but it definitely applies to the success of past 25-win teams with multiple Final Four appearances. With nine returning players from last year’s team and the additions of junior guard Jai Lucas from Florida and six freshman (four of which could start any game), Barnes has one of the deepest, most talented teams in his tenure at Texas. It will be interesting to see how Barnes uses the veteran leadership from Gary Johnson, Dogus Balbay, Varez Ward and Justin Mason – all starters at one point last year – in combination with Pittman, James and the four freshman phenoms. This might lead to various starting lineups during the season, but at least Barnes has those options and can call on anyone from the bench for an immediate impact.

Although Texas has the coach, the talent and the fan base to get through the season with more than 25 wins and advance deep into March, there are a few roadblocks in the way. Oh, just the #1 Kansas Jayhawks, #2 Michigan State Spartans, #6 North Carolina Tar Heels, and #12 Connecticut Huskies to name a few – all viable, NCAA championship-caliber teams, giving the ‘Horns the most difficult schedule in the Big 12 Conference this year. Of course, those aforementioned games don’t even count the two tip-offs against #17 oklahoma this year in the hardwood version of the Red River Rivalry. Who knows what Barnes was thinking when he made the 2009 schedule, but there’s something to be said for challenging his team this year – not a bad move considering Texas might face these teams again in the NCAA tournament. If Texas can escape those top 25 match-ups with a 4-2 record and stay healthy the rest of the season, the Horns are on their way to a 25 wins or more season and a Big 12 Championship matchup against Kansas in March.

Let’s hope Texas’ season-opening 89-42 victory against UC-Irvine is a tell-tale sign of how the rest of season will pan out. With five players scoring in double digits (Pittman 21, James 21, Brown 13, Hamilton 12 and Bradley 10) and 13 total players getting minutes during the game, the ‘Horns showed they can score from every position and Barnes demonstrated his willingness to keep the team fresh. Check out these highlights from the game, which includes a sweet alley-oop dunk from Brown to James and a few moments of greatness from Bradley and Hamilton.

The Horns will try to keep the momentum in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic tournament against Western Carolina Wednesday (11/18) at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU and Iowa next Monday (11/23) at 8:45 p.m. CT on ESPN2. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the season. Keep your ‘Horns up!

Thanks to BigBopper for his Texas Longhorns basketball contribution!

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NCAA Football: Week 9 Viewing Guide

Hard to believe it’s already week 9 of the college football season, meaning we’re more than halfway to this year’s title game. Only seven unbeaten teams remain – #1 Florida, #2 Alabama, #3 Texas, #4 Iowa, #6 TCU, #7 Boise State, and #8 Cincinnati – the latter four being a bit of a surprise. At #5, a one-loss USC team.

Riddle Eyes Of TX this: USC comes in at #5, despite a loss to conference foe, and unranked Washington on 9/19; #9 LSU is the next-best one-loss team, having lost to #1 Florida on 10/10 and who beat U-Dub to open the season; #10 Oregon is the next one-loss team, are leading the Pac-10 conference race (ahead of none other than USC), and they lost to #7 Boise State in the first game of the year. Bias in the BCS? Eyes Of TX thinks so…

This Saturday will have a lot of ranked teams on display, so settle in for an entertaining set of games. Let’s get to it, the NCAA football week 9 viewing guide.

*All ranking shown here reflect the current BCS poll standings.

7:30 PM ET
North Carolina 20 v. #13* Virginia Tech 17
FINALLY! Can we give the Virginia Tech hype a rest? Or at least those hideous uniforms? Year-in and year-out, VT gets a ton of hype coming out of the ACC, and every year they manage to blow it. This time, two weeks in a row. Anyone that has seen them play has to know that they are not at the same level as the country’s elite football programs. Sure, there’s “Beamer Ball” which preaches success in the special teams game, but any guesses as to who has had better special team success over the past 8-10 years? Hint: They come from the Big 12 Conference. That’s right, Texas. Going in to a hostile environment, the Tar Heels come out with their first conference victory on a last-second field goal, and the Hokies can now write off their season to another second-tier bowl game.

8:00 PM ET
#21 West Virginia at South Florida, ESPN2
Finally a Friday night game worth watching. West Virginia is one of three Big East teams with a perfect conference record, and South Florida is a legitimate foe, especially at home. However, the Bulls are coming off back-to-back losses to both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the other two teams at the top of the conference board.

12:00 PM ET
Indiana at #4 Iowa, ESPN
Iowa is flying up the rankings, despite squeaking out a win at Michigan State with some last second heroics to maintain their perfect record last weekend. It’s doubtful any team in the “Little 10” will stand in the way of an unbeaten season for the Hawkeyes, but tune in for this early game to see what they’re about.

#8 Cincinnati at Syracuse, ESPNU
The Bearcats are quietly staking a claim as one of the best teams in the country, yet they get no love and no airtime. Flip over to this one when you have a chance; if anything, you’ll get to see a former NCAA basketball player play quarterback for the ‘Cuse. It’ll be like Michael Jordan trying to play baseball. Bonus: Greg Paulus getting posterized!

3:30 PM ET
#1 Florida vs. Georgia, CBS
Despite Georgia’s struggles this year, rivalry games always pose the threat of an upset, especially on a neutral field. Florida’s offense has been down lately, though their defense continues to dominate. Mississippi State wouldn’t have kept the score as close without the help of two Tim Tebow interceptions returned for touchdowns. Georgia has a legitimate shot if the same Florida we’ve seen the last few weeks shows up in Jacksonville.

Kansas at Texas Tech, ABC
ABC’s regional coverage will include this Big 12 matchup. Kansas has fallen out of the national rankings, but could still compete for the Big 12 North title. Check in during breaks from Florida-Georgia if this is on your lineup.

Other regional coverage games in this slot on either ABC or ESPN2 include: Michigan at Illinois, Miami at Wake Forest, and California at Arizona State. Check the coverage maps here to see what’s available in your area.

4:30 PM ET
#12 Penn State at Northwestern, ESPN
The tail end of this game will likely carry us through to the prime time games. Yep, Joe Paterno is still coaching, and Northwestern is still wearing purple.

8:00 PM ET
#3 Texas at #14 Oklahoma State, ABC or ESPN2 (depends on geography)
In this case, one of these teams will be taking their first conference loss, and with so many undefeated teams remaining at this point of the season, that will likely remove any national title hopes. McCoy and the Longhorn offense seemed to hit their stride last week in Columbia, while Okie State hasn’t let the losses of RB Kendall Hunter or Dez Bryant hurt their production. Bonus: Bet the over/under on the number of mentions that these two orange teams are playing on Halloween. Let’s set it at 4.5.

#5 USC at #10 Oregon, ABC or ESPN2 (depends on geography)
Oregon is in command of the Pac-10, and their only loss came in the opening game of the season to an undefeated Boise State team on the blue turf. USC has a bad history going on the road in the Pacific Northwest, so this could get interesting. USC head coach Pete Carroll will make his team playa celebrity tournament of “Duck Hunt” on Nintendo to “lighten the mood” in the locker room this week. Not really, but that’s something he would do and ESPN would love him for it.

Thanks to LilPete for his ongoing NCAA football viewing guide blog contribution.

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NCAA Football: Week 8 Viewing Guide

NCAA FootballA bit late, readers, but early enough on Saturday to still be useful for the day.

Wow, what a week 7. Although no one reading this blog probably remembers anything that happened after about 3:30 PM Eastern time last weekend, there were some exciting games following up the Texas Longhorns’ victory over oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Any weekend of college football would be a letdown by comparison, but this week seems especially so. Still we’ll find enough to keep us glued to the action – and plus, what seems like a 364-day baseball season is almost over, so Eyes Of TX can’t complain. Truth be told, all of our heart’s are collectively still recovering from last week’s victory. With that said, here’s your week 8 viewing guide, with all rankings based on the current BCS standings, as well as ESPN’s regional coverage maps for reference.

7:30 PM ET
Florida State 30 v. North Carolina 27
Close game, for two teams that were struggling for their first conference victory after an up-and-down beginning to the season. Isn’t that Bobby Bowden’s 2,000th win? Starting to think he’s a terminator on the inside — he just won’t go away.

8:00 PM ET
Rutgers 27 v. Army 10
With the most effective armed servicemen still serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan, is it any question why Army struggles? Just once, Eyes Of TX would like to see a real service academy (Air Force doesn’t count…they are actually capable of competing) – like Army or Navy – compete on the national scene. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

12:00 PM ET
Minnesota at #19 Ohio State, ESPN
Ohio State has a chance to bounce back after their road loss to Purdue. Don’t expect much from Minnesota here, although back-to-back Big 10 losses for OSU would be something for Buckeye Nation to get their sweater vests in a twist over.

12:30 PM ET
#15 Oklahoma State at Baylor, Versus
Oklahoma State has been efficient offensively even without suspended wide receiver Dez Bryant and injured running back Kendall Hunter, and things aren’t expected to be any different going in to Waco. This will be Texas’ last look at OSU before going to Stillwater, oklahoma on Halloween.

3:30 PM ET
oklahoma at #25 Kansas, ABC
ABC is going with regional coverage in the 3:30 PM slot so check your local listings. It would be nice for Kansas to take this one at home to protect their current ranking, but the loss to Colorado last weekend wasn’t a good sign. Texas faces only two more teams who are currently ranked, including the Jayhawks, and even though the ‘Horns are on course to play for the BCS championship as long as they win out, it’s still nice to have that strength of schedule to boost.

(Other games in this time slot are #13 Penn State at Michigan, #11 Oregon at Washington, and Clemson at #10 Miami)

7:30 PM ET
#1 Florida at Mississippi State, ESPN
Florida was the beneficiary of a controversial call last weekend, setting them up for the game-winning field goal to put away Arkansas at home. With that in mind, the Gators shouldn’t expect an easy game this weekend on the road, as Urban Meyer’s teams have lost four in a row in Starkville, Mississippi, and could get caught looking ahead to their rivalry game against Georgia next week.

8:00 PM ET
#3 Texas at Missouri, ABC
The Texas offense needs to reappear this week. While Texas continues their toughest three-game stretch this season, the Tigers face their third straight ranked opponent and are a dangerous challenger (especially on homecoming weekend in Columbia), although they’ve dropped the last two games. To upset Texas in front of their home crowd would make Mizzou’s season, so we’ll see if the ‘Horns are up to this task.

(Oregon State at #7 USC will also air regionally on the west coast at this time. Of note, the Beavers have defeated USC two of the last three years at home in Corvallis, but they’ve lost 21 straight to the Trojans in Los Angeles.)

Thanks to LilPete for these weekly viewing guides.

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Recognition for Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball

Big 12 Conference LogoAs sports fans, we all know football season is well underway. For Texas Longhorns fans, the excitement continues to build on a 4-0 start and a possible run to the national championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in January. But the University of Texas and the Big 12 Conference, traditionally known as a football school and conference, has something else to be proud of this fall. Several coaches, players and programs from the conference were given national recognition last week as part of The Sporting News analysis of NCAA basketball over the last decade.

In review, Eyes Of TX will review and provide some perspective on The Sporting News’ Big 12 Conference-relevant selections for their “decade” awards.

Rick Barnes, head coach of the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball coach for the past 10 years, was named the recruiter of the decade.

It shouldn’t be any surprise to Texas fans that Barnes deserves this award. During his tenure, he has recruited and landed some of the best talent in the country year-after-year. He’s brought 10 McDonald’s All-Americans to the 40 Acres, including Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford, D.J. Augustin, and Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, who all now enjoy successful NBA careers. Although most of those marquee players didn’t stay in school for more than two seasons, Barnes has proven his recruiting and coaching prowess during his time in Austin. And, it’s not just the NBA guys – Barnes has had just as many successful college players who never went on to the NBA.

Looking forward, Barnes continues to drive the Longhorns team and program forward with his upcoming recruiting class, ranked #2, #3 or as far down as #6 depending on the recruiting service, typically behind only Kentucky and/or Villanova – both schools that are dominate basketball programs. With the help of his assistant coaches, and a little luck from the John Wooden basketball gods, Barnes brings in four highly-touted players for the 2009-2010 season – shooting guards Avery Bradley (video) and J’Covan Brown (video), and strong forwards Jordan Hamilton (video) and Shawn Williams (“Next Step” video analysis). With the eligibility of former Florida Gators guard transfer Jai Lucas (video), these “four horseman,” combine with an already stacked veteran team lead by Dexter Pittman, Damion James and Dustin Mason.

Despite an injection of youth, the ‘Horns – behind Barnes’ coaching and recruiting genius – should give Kansas a run for their money in the Big 12 Conference, while turning some heads during the NCAA tournament next year.

While no longer in the Big 12 Conference, former Kansas Jayhawks and current North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams was tabbed the coach of the decade.

No surprise, and well deserved. Despite spurning the Jayhawks to take a job for his alma mater in Chapel Hill, Williams has been the model of consistency as a coach over the past decade. His teams – whether at Kansas or North Carolina – have been disciplined, talented, and wildly successful over the years. In 2003, he took Kansas to the national championship game, and in 2005 and 2009, he won national championships at North Carolina. That’s not a bad run. Keep in mind, current Jayhawks head coach Bill Self won the national championship with Kansas in 2008, and it is no secret who recruited the kids on that starting roster to Lawrence.

The Big 12 Conference’s Kansas Jayhawks were named the team of the decade.

Fairly obvious, minus a string of losses to team’s starting with the letter “B” in the NCAA tournament earlier in the decade. Building on the success of former men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, current coach Bill Self didn’t miss a beat. The Jayhawks have dominated the Big 12 basketball landscape throughout the decade – competing occasionally with Texas and Oklahoma for the Big 12 championship – but they are the only team to have consistent success in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, bringing home several conference championships, including the national championship in 2008.

While we’ll still be in the depths of the BCS and conference football schedule in November, both NCAA and Big 12 Conference roundball fans will be waiting patiently to see ESPN analyst Digger Phelps’ highlighter/tie combo, and whether or not Dick Vitale will have a heart attack when he learns Tyler Hansborough has graduated from North Carolina. Who will ESPN’s analysts drool over this year? Eyes Of TX’s guess? A to-be-determined Duke Blue Devils player. That’s sad reality people, really sad.

Contributions to this blog entry include EyesOfTX and BigBopper. More Texas Longhorns, and Big 12 Conference, basketball updates coming from BigBopper later this year on the EyesOfTX blog – stay tuned!

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