Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:15PM
The Fast Break is our consistently inconsistent hodgepodge of links, numbers, YouTubes, and other randomness from the world of college basketball. (And sometimes, other worlds, too.) Once upon a time, “morning” was in the title, but it turns out that sleeping late is a really enjoyable activity.

Earlier in the week, SI put out their Midseason Crystal Ball, with Seth Davis tabbing Texas for the Final Four, while my fellow stat-nerd, Luke Winn, selected the Horns as a Final Four “dark horse.” Meanwhile, Andy Glockner, Twitter’s most-responsive sportswriter, points out that Pat Knight should be on the hot seat in Lubbock.

With the UConn game just two days away, ESPN’s Andy Katz has a nice feature on Jordan Hamilton and the Horns. It’s an excellent read, so take a few minutes to click on over and read about the team’s revival.

Winn gets another mention for a pair of articles he put out this week. First, his look at Ohio State’s foul-aversion included eye-popping numbers and insightful quotes from top Buckeyes. If you’re into tempo-free numbers, you absolutely have to check out this piece. The stats will floor you.

Today, Winn’s weekly Power Rankings returned from a holiday hiatus, with the Longhorns ascending two spots to the No. 7 ranking. ESPN’s weekly power poll also saw a two-spot move by the Horns, who are now 10th.

The consistently impressive play of Jordan Hamilton is gaining some attention from the national media, as TSN’s Mike DeCourcy put the sophomore on his mid-season All-American team. Hamilton’s numbers also allowed him to just crack the top ten of stat guru Ken Pomeroy’s Player of the Year rankings.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 12:29PM

After Saturday’s loss to OU, the Longhorns dropped to 14th in both major polls. The Jayhawks maintained their comfortable hold on the No. 1 ranking heading into tonight’s game, while Kansas State moved up to 9th in both polls. Baylor is 25th in the Associated Press rankings, but fell into the “Others Receiving Votes” category in the Coaches Poll. A&M, meanwhile, is on the cusp of both polls, with only Saturday’s road game at Tech standing between them and a ranking next Monday.

Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology slots Texas as a 3-seed in the Salt Lake City regional, where Villanova is projected as the 1-seed. Lunardi has the Horns in New Orleans, with a potential second-round match-up against Georgia Tech and freshman phenom Derrick Favors. Interestingly enough, in this hypothetical bracket, a potential rematch with Michigan State could await Texas in the Sweet 16.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:45AM

Kevin Durant was named an NBA All-Star on Thursday
(Photo credit: Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman)

On Thursday night, Kevin Durant was named to the Western Conference All-Star team as a reserve. It’s the first time a former Longhorn has been tabbed for that honor since superstar Slater Martin’s seven-year All-Star run from 1952 to 1959. Durant is averaging 29.3 points per game through Oklahoma City’s first 45 contests, along with 7.3 boards and three assists.

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The Texas road win against Arkansas looks a little better after the Hogs knocked off Mississippi State in Fayetteville last night. Courtney Fortson dropped 35 points in the victory on 53% shooting from the field. Elsewhere, the Pitt Panthers needed a second-half surge to knock off visiting St. John’s, while Long Beach State edged out Cal State-Northridge. Unfortunately, that was the extent of the good news for the Longhorn strength of schedule, as Cal-Irvine, Western Carolina, USC, and Gardner-Webb all lost last night.

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Texas tumbled to 7th in Luke Winn’s latest Power Rankings, but what interests us most in his column is the conversation with NBA scouts. Winn reports that the consensus is that Damion James is a mid- to late-first rounder, and that the scouts would prefer to see Avery Bradley stay in school for another year, even though he’d be selected early in this year’s draft. Can we get extra copies of that column sent to AB in April?

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We squeezed in lots and lots of work on the photo galleries tonight. Our latest update includes albums from the UNC, Rice, and Kansas State games, with the ones for Arkansas and UConn likely coming your way this weekend. Click here to browse all of the photos currently available.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 12:50PM

If you had a chance to watch the Davidson/Oklahoma NIT regional final last night, you may have been watching the two best players in the country go back and forth. Perhaps it’s a bit of hyperbole, but it’s tough to not gush when watching Blake Griffin dominate with a sick line of 25/20 against a Davidson team led by Stephen Curry‘s 44 points. As a Texas fan, I’m certainly not looking forward to the combo of Little Griffin, Big Griffin, and Willie Warren twice this year, but am looking forward to seeing Curry and the Wildcats take on West Virginia in person just before the Horns play Villanova.

The Texas cities making bids for the Final Four went two for three earlier today, when the NCAA named Arlington and Houston future Final Four sites. The 2014 event will be held at the new Cowboys space station out in Arlington, while Reliant in Houston will follow up their 2011 Final Four with another in 2016. San Antonio was one of five cities whose bids were not selected.

It seemed that perhaps Ole Miss could make a run as a darkhorse NCAA candidate with the SEC having a bit of a down year. But after losing Trevor Gaskins at the start of the year, the Rebels took another huge blow when junior guard and leader Eniel Polynice had season-ending knee surgery. It’s a tough break for Andy Kennedy and the Rebs, who were bringing in a serviceable freshman class to compliment the nucleus of a team that started 13-0 last year.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 9:04AM

Hoops is certainly back in full swing, with ESPN broadcasting college basketball all damned day. Unfortunately, we’re not quite in full swing here at LRT with insanity at the McJob and cramming to get everything ready for Maui by Friday. We’ll try to get back to the daily content sometime this week, and look for some cosmetic changes around the site before December arrives. You can thank the 20-plus hours on airplanes to and from Hawaii.

The Big 12 is off to a hot start, with its members logging a perfect 19-0 record through last night’s games. The conference probably won’t match its solid RPI numbers from last year, when it spent most of the season slotted as the second-toughest league in the nation. But the Big 12 teams are taking care of patsies so far, something that couldn’t be said even during last season’s strong start — yes, we’re looking at you, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.

Oklahoma faces the league’s stiffest test yet when it hosts Davidson tonight in the NIT Season Tip Off. It’d be great to watch this Top 25 match-up on TV, but the “Worldwide Leader” has better things to show. Like Kansas hosting the mighty Florida Gulf Coast (ESPNU, 8 PM CT). Or maybe Billy Wrong Way Gillispie getting demolished by The Anointed Ones better suits your fancy (ESPN, 8 PM CT)? If you thought VMI was bad, Billy Clyde, just try not to clench the muscles…

Tulane preview will be headed your way this afternoon. In the meantime, you can find us in a basketball coma with remote in hand.

Edit (3 P.M. CT): ESPN2 will now be broadcasting the Davidson/Oklahoma game at 8 P.M. You’ll definitely want to check that one out once the Horns are finished discarding the Green Wave.

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