Posted by Ryan Clark at 4:08PM

Texas moved up two spots in each of the polls this week, sliding into the #10 slot in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today rankings, while Kansas holds steady at #2. The Big 12 has five teams in the AP poll with Kansas State (22nd), Texas A&M (23rd) and Baylor (25th) all hanging around on the lower rungs.

Stefhon Hannah could miss the rest of the season after a brawl outside a Columbia nightclub late on Saturday night. The Tigers still have to tackle a rematch with Kansas, a pair of showdowns with K-State, and roadies in Waco and Norman. Without their leading scorer, Mizzou could be a lot closer to the cellar than anticipated.

This afternoon, Luke Winn introduces us to twin brothers and UNC commits Travis Wear and David Wear, Jr. The 2009 class for Roy Williams is looking absolutely ridiculous when you add in Dexter Strickland and Round Rock product John Henson, who had Texas in the mix before committing to the Heels earlier this month.

Joe Lunardi is high on the Big 12 this week, putting six of the conference’s teams in today’s Bracketology. Kansas still leads the way with a 1-seed, while Texas is slotted as a 3 in Little Rock. K-State (6 seed), Baylor (7), Texas A&M (9), and Oklahoma (9) make up the rest of the conference’s dance card.

Missed Scott Drew’s interview on Sportscenter after the 5-OT thriller on Wednesday night? Thanks to the technical know-how of an LRT co-traveler, you can watch the video through the interweb tubes. Check it out below, and be sure to check out the rest of his Longhorn videos on his website.

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Posted by Ryan Clark at 1:32PM

If you’re into the recruiting game, tonight there’s a high school match-up between Plantation American Heritage and Monsignor Pace (8 PM CST, ESPNU). This marks the first time a Florida high school game is going to be aired nationally, and it’s a chance to showcase some big-name stars. Heritage center Eloy Vargas has already signed with the University of Florida, as has one of his opponents, guard Ray Shipman. Pace’s frontcourt is also pretty nasty with stud junior Rakeem Buckles and Terrance Saintil, a VCU signee.

As for college hoops, ESPN’s got three games on their pair of channels, while Full Court has a few Big 12 match-ups. On to the games…

Cincinnati (8-8 overall, 3-1 Big East) at Notre Dame (12-3, 2-1) – 6 PM CST, ESPNU – South Bend is not an easy place to win, but Cincy hopes to continue their hot start when they travel there tonight. Former druggie Kyle McAlarney is averaging 15.6 PPG and 5 APG in conference play for the Fighting Irish.

Ohio State (12-4 overall, 3-1 Big 10) at #11 Michigan State (14-2, 2-1) – 6 PM CST, ESPN – The Spartans are going to be fighting mad after only scoring 36 points in a loss to Iowa on Saturday. Ohio State certainly has their work cut out for them in this one.

Creighton (12-3 overall, 3-2 MVC) at Northern Iowa (10-6, 2-3) – 6 PM CST, ESPN2 – It’s a topsy-turvy world in Mid-major Land this year, and the Metro Valley is no exception. Drake and Illinois State are both atop the league with perfect records, while Creighton and Northern Iowa are having some struggles this season. The loser of this one is going to be mired in the middle of the standings for quite some time.

Oklahoma State (10-5 overall, 1-0 Big 12) at Baylor (13-2, 1-0) – 7 PM CST, FSNSW/ESPN Full Court – Oklahoma State surprised a lot of folks with their emphatic win at home over Texas Tech on Saturday. Are the Cowboys putting things together, or is Tech really that bad? And after an impressive non-conf run, just how good is Baylor? There are a ton of questions in the middle of the Big 12, but this game might start to answer a few of them.

Kentucky (7-7 overall, 1-0 SEC) at Mississippi State (11-5, 2-0) – 8 PM CST, ESPN – Kentucky pulled out an overtime win over a previously-unbeaten Vandy squad, but they are still in the midst of a very average season. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are riding a six-game winning streak and hope to maintain their perfect conference mark.

New Mexico (14-3 overall, 1-1 MWC) at Texas Christian (9-6, 1-1) – 8 PM CST, CSTV – Despite a solid record, the Lobos have an RPI in the low 60s thanks to a weak schedule. If they are going to be serious about the bubble, they can’t afford to mess around in conference play. Unfortunately for New Mexico, the pressing TCU Horned Frogs might present a problem in Fort Worth tonight.

There are a handful of other games on ESPN Full Court tonight, including the aforementioned OSU/Baylor tilt for those who can’t catch it on Fox Southwest. Here are those listings…

Stony Brook (4-11 overall, 1-2 America East) at Binghamton (6-10, 2-2) – 6 PM CST – Yikes.

Nebraska (11-3 overall, 0-1 Big 12) at Colorado (8-7, 0-1) – 8 PM CST – The Cornhuskers weren’t able to make a statement in their home opener against Kansas, but who can really blame them? Jeff Bzdelik’s weak team should make for a nice punching bag as Big Red takes out its frustrations in Boulder.

Wake Forest (11-4 overall, 1-1 ACC) at Maryland (10-7, 0-2) – 8 PM CST – This one doesn’t have quite the appeal of some past match-ups between the two schools, but there ought to be a desperate Terps squad on the court trying to avoid a crippling start to conference play.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:00AM

I finally graduate in about nine hours, which means that I’ll be missing a lot of great hoops action this afternoon. But the good thing about a noon ceremony is that it leaves enough time afterwards to travel to Houston for the Rice game, which tips at 7 P.M. tonight.

And speaking of the Rice game, two people out of the eleven in our group will no longer be able to make the trip. They are really great seats only four rows up from the baseline beside the Texas bench, and I’m being asked to try to resell them at face ($16 each). If you’re interested, leave me a comment with your phone number as they are moderated and will not be made public. I leave town at 3ish, so that will have to be the cut-off.

Not much going on in NCAA hoops last night, but UTA won on a running jumper with 6.3 seconds at Wichita State to move to 8-0 on the season. The Mavs are one of only 17 undefeated teams left in Division I hoops, and are certainly one of the most surprising ones. In the other game of interest to Texas fans, UC-Davis was embarrassed at home by Oregon State, 73-59.

Today the television is full of quality hoops action. Arizona kicks things off at Illinois (11 AM CST, ESPN), while Duke hosts Michigan and new coach John Beilein (1 PM, CBS). Duke will roll, but it’s a chance to see how Beilein’s style translates to a new, troubled team. DePaul faces Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse with Brandon Rush on the court (1 PM, ESPN), with Pitt and Washington tipping just an hour later way out west (2 PM, FSN). Kentucky also faces IU (3 PM, CBS), Purdue travels to Mizzou (3 PM, ESPN2), and Texas A&M hosts Texas State (7 PM, FSN). But perhaps the most interesting televised matchup of the day is the grudge match between Marquette and Wisconsin, airing at 5 PM on ESPN2.

Some more games of note not on TV today: Michigan State faces their last real test before Texas when they travel to BYU (3 PM CST) and Colorado looks for a road win in Wyoming (3 PM). While I mentioned that UTA was one of the most surprising undefeated teams remaining, the other two shockers are Ole Miss and Sam Houston State. Both are in action today, with the Bearkats facing Ian Mooney’s old school, St. Louis (7 PM) and the Rebs traveling to Central Florida (6 PM).

If you’re going to that Texas/Rice tilt and want to catch some high school hoops action, your ticket also gets you into a doubleheader starting at 1 P.M. Fans can get a preview of some future Big 12 action when two class of ’08 recruits face off in the first game. Baylor commit Anthony Jones plays for Yates, who will square off with Texas verbal commit J’Covan Brown and his Port Arthur Memorial team. The second half of the high-school doubleheader features Madison against Duncanville and highly-touted ’09 prospect Shawn Williams.

While it’s not basketball, the fantastic Texas volleyball team will be televised in their Elite Eight match against USC at 3 PM CST on ESPNU. And if talented girls in spandex beating the crap out of the Trojans isn’t enough to entice you, then I’m just not sure what else I can throw out.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 5:00AM

Leave town for a weekend to watch the biggest regular-season upset in your school’s history, and you miss all sorts of shit. It was a fun couple of days though, and I’ll eventually get over the fact that the DVR fried sometime on Saturday, leaving me with part of a Gonzaga/UConn game and none of the Big 12/Pac-10 games. Ouch.

We lead with the best news of all, which would be that Bill Walker pissed in a towel on the sidelines last Thursday. Yes, that’s right. Stuck a towel down his pants, drained the snake, and then soiled a second towel just for good measure. And all of this occurred in front of a sold-out arena and a rightfully disgusted equipment manager. Oh, did we mention that the Wildcats still lost?

Friday night, Baylor jumped out to a big halftime lead against #6 Washington State, but ultimately couldn’t hang on. The Cougars fought back behind a suddenly-hot Derrick Low, escaping Waco with a 67-64 win. Meanwhile, I was drinking alone in a DFW airport bar while waiting for a 10 P.M. flight to Los Angeles. Still want to do what I do?

Bob Knight continues to baffle with his scheduling, as the Red Raiders dropped another road game to a horrible team. This time, Tech lost to Centenary, 70-66. Knight left the game at halftime, returning to the team hotel because he was feeling ill. But that didn’t stop him from lecturing some students who made a joke about his recent hunting accident as he left the court. I can’t help but feel that these road games against Sam Houston State and Centenary were nothing but a cheap way to earn a little more RPI credit while beating the bottom-feeders, but it’s certainly not working out that way for the Techsters.

With the last Big 12/Pac-10 game coming on December 22nd, the current standings are 6-5 in favor of the Pac-10. That doesn’t include the Kansas win on Sunday over USC, which was scheduled separately from the challenge. Of course, this is for nothing more than bragging rights, as there are no official tallies for this showcase and no trophies awarded. It’s really a shame that Baylor and A&M let their games get away from them, as this was certainly a chance for the conference to change some perceptions. Regardless, the Big 12 is currently ranked 2nd in Ken Pomeroy’s RPI approximations, which is a nice change of pace from the top-heavy league of years past.

Class of ’09 recruit John Henson was spotted enjoying himself at the UCLA/Texas game on Sunday night. And considering he was also seen at the Texas/Arkansas-Monticello game a few weeks back, I can’t help but think the talk of him not reciprocating Texas’ interest is nothing but white noise. The kid’s still looking at a lot of schools and he’s only a junior, but here’s to hoping that exciting upset win and the hometown draw keeps Texas high on the Round Rock Dragon’s list.

Beat #1 and #7, and people start to take notice. The Longhorns have climbed yet again in the polls, this time moving to #4 in the AP and fifth in the Coaches Poll. Texas actually snagged two first-place votes from the writers, as did Kansas. And if #9/10 Michigan State can get past tough games with Bradley and BYU this week, we’ll be looking at another top-ten battle when the Spartans and Horns face off on December 22nd.

What to watch tonight? Bill Walker brings his Depends to New York City when Kansas State and Notre Dame face off in the Jimmy V Classic (6 PM CST, ESPN). Later, the senior-laden Butler Bulldogs host Drew Neitzel and Michigan State (8 PM, ESPNU) while Memphis shows USC frosh O.J. Mayo how its done (8:30 PM, ESPN).

Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:10AM

The Wisconsin/Duke matchup left a lot to be desired, as Duke crotch-punched the Badgers, 82-58. At Assembly Hall, Indiana grabbed the sole win for their conference, edging Georgia Tech, 83-79. After two days of play, the ACC is on top by a 5-1 count and will coast to their ninth win in the nine-year history of the “challenge.” That’s compelling television.

In Big 12 action, Iowa State lost at home to Northern Iowa, 61-48, while Colorado took care of business against Denver.

In recruiting news, Syracuse signed two Rivals Top 50 players in Mookie Jones and Kris Joseph and added some third scrub to the mix.

Old news for many, but Luke Winn was all up on Texas’ jock after the pasting of Tennessee this weekend. And with good reason. That was perhaps the single most impressive Longhorn victory since — dare I say it? — the Final Four season.

Remember the solid student crowd that drove up to Austin to support the UTSA Turtles in the season opener? I’m guessing the four girls in the video below were a part of that group, and apparently were hopped up on some speed. We love the enthusiasm for college hoops, but for some reason I think more “Blue Danube” than DMX when I watch UTSA basketball. Regardless, I’d like to have these girls put together a new intro for UT basketball. The thing we’ve got now is more worn out than Teri Hatcher. (HT goes to March to Madness on the video.)

Posted by Ryan Clark at 7:13AM

Baylor won a championship!! It may have only been the Paradise Jam down in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but the Bears won three straight games, culminating with a 62-54 win over Winthrop in the finals. After knocking off Wichita State and Notre Dame in the first two rounds, one has to wonder if the Bears are going to be making some noise in the Big 12 this year. Let’s be honest — there’s Kansas, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Texas, and then a huge drop off. (And without Gary Johnson, Texas is not even in the conversation with the other three.) Baylor still has home games against Washington State and Arkansas and a shot to emerge from the pack of the Big 12, so perhaps we’ll be discussing their resumé come February and March.

The Longhorns flip-flopped with A&M in this week’s AP poll, moving up to 15th while staying put at 16th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. At the bottom, Davidson cracked the Coaches at #25 after nearly upsetting #1 North Carolina last week. The Wildcats still have a road game against #10 Duke left on the schedule…I’m just saying.

Okie State won their opening-round game in Maui, taking out LSU 83-77. Mizzou looked incredibly impressive in the CBE Classic semis, but fell just short against a quality Michigan State team, 86-83. They refused to quit despite falling significantly behind a couple of times, and Stefhon Hannah almost singlehandedly willed them to victory in the final few minutes. That January road game in Columbia might not be too much fun for the Horns.

Romeo Miller signed his LOI to attend USC yesterday with future teammate DeMar DeRozan beside him at a press conference in the ritzy Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. That’s right, folks. Lil Romeo is going to play for the Trojans. The LA Times article raises a very good question, namely whether or not the USC staff offered Lil Romeo a scholarship in order to earn points with DeRozan, the much more talented of the two friends.

Big, big game on tap tonight featuring two Texas opponents, when #1 UCLA takes on #11 Michigan State in the championship of the CBE Classic out in Kansas City (9 PM CST, ESPN2). The consolation game should also be good, with Maryland and Mizzou meeting at 6:45 CST on ESPNU. Second-round action out of Maui includes LSU/Chaminade (12:30, ESPNU), Princeton/Arizona State (3:00 CST, ESPNU), Marquette/Oklahoma State (6:00 CST, ESPN), and Duke/Illinois (8:30 CST, ESPN).

Posted by Ryan Clark at 9:10AM

The early signing period starts today and runs through November 21st. Bob Gibbons of Scout confirms the J’Covan Brown whispers that have been swirling, saying he would not be surprised if the Memorial High star signs with Texas this week. Other UT targets — Tyreke Evans, Wesley Witherspoon, and Jeff Taylor, Jr. — are all expected to wait until spring to sign.

Texas A&M looked solid in their opening round game of the Preseason NIT, dispatching Oral Roberts, 67-53. Freshman stud DeAndre Jordan looked like a manchild among boys, grabbing seemingly every offensive rebound in his 23 minutes on the floor and then flushing it with authority. Chinemelu Elonu had a great game off the bench and provided the announcers a great five-minute diversion while they discussed the merits of a nickname for the guy. But to be completely honest, the kid who caught my eye was senior Beau Muhlbach. He only played 11 minutes off the bench, but seemed to have an endless motor and a passion for the game. He’s the kind of guy you like to watch because you can tell the game is fun for him. It’s a shame he didn’t see more minutes under Billy Clyde Gillispie.

Remember Mercer, the Atlantic Sun squad that took out USC on the road last week? The Hollywood storyline ended far too soon, as they lost at home to Alabama, 90-83. Keep an eye on them in conference play come 2008, though. They were picked to finish fifth in the ASC by the media, but who wouldn’t love to see them rewrite the ending and earn that auto-bid to the Big Dance?

The preseason tournaments roll on, with Washington hosting Utah in second-round Preseason NIT action on ESPN at 9:30 PM CST. In other second-round action, Texas A&M hosts UTEP — the school they plucked Gillispie from — at 8 PM CST on ESPNU. But before all that, North Carolina and Tyler Hansbrough open the season at 6 PM CST on the Worldwide Leader.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 1:40PM

Xavier University (LA) at #15/16 Texas Longhorns
Tip: 7 P.M. | TV: None | Radio: None

The long wait of summer is over, and basketball has returned to the Forty Acres. The Texas Longhorns open the 2007-08 campaign with an exhibition game against the Xavier Gold Rush of the NAIA. Admission is free and seating is open, so be sure to get to the Frank Erwin Center early to grab the best seats. But for those of you who won’t be able to make the game, TexasSports.com is offering a free internet broadcast.

While Xavier missed its entire basketball season just two years ago due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Gold Rush have quickly bounced back from adversity. They finished last season with a 22-10 record and earned an at-large bid to the NAIA tournament, where they won their first playoff game since 1973 . This year, they find themselves ranked 10th in the NAIA pre-season poll.

Last year’s game was dominated by the Longhorns, who won 103-53 after a slow start. A hot-shooting A.J. Abrams was the story of the night, as he hit six of seven three pointers and finished with 24 points on the night. Damion James also looked strong in last year’s exhibition, scoring 15 points in only 22 minutes of work.

This year, injuries make the prognosis a little murky for the Horns. Dogus Balbay will be unavailable after going under the knife on Tuesday, and Matt Hill could possibly miss the entire season due to injury. Clint Chapman is sporting a protective wrist brace, while Dexter Pittman has been seen in a boot that is rumored to be only precautionary following a deep bruise. Gary Johnson, while cleared to play tonight, will be closely monitored and then re-evaluated following the contest.

That leaves the usual suspects for Rick Barnes in the backcourt — D.J. Augustin running the point, A.J. Abrams at the 2-guard, and Justin Mason. J-Mase has been hitting the gym with aplomb this offseason, and reports say he is in the best shape of his young career. Connor Atchley and Alexis Wangmene should see a lot of minutes down low, especially if Chapman and Pittman have their minutes limited.

Meanwhile, Xavier coach Dannton Jackson will be overseeing a veteran squad this season. They return all five starters, including senior standout Mark Stewart, who already holds the record for most career three-pointers at the Louisiana university. Against Texas last year, Stewart led all Gold Rush scorers with 13 points despite coming off of the bench. Even the Xavier reserves are experienced, as five of last year’s six bench players are still on the squad this season.

With Xavier’s tallest player checking in at 6’9″, tonight should see the new Texas frontcourt dominating on the glass. Fans should also keep an eye on how Barnes mixes up the personnel with four new faces and a rash of injuries. While Justin Mason will likely be used in some three-guard sets, I fully expect to see some traditional lineups with the timely addition of Gary Johnson to the game plan.

For those of you in Austin, be sure to swing by the Frank Erwin Center before heading out for the bars and parties. Big-name recruit Tyreke Evans is in town, so it is even more important that the Texas fans show up and be loud. While we all know that is a far-fetched dream with Longhorns fans before Big 12 play, I’m going to live in denial of that fact until the game actually tips off. So, bring your friends, your family, and even your enemies……surprise me and give this team the crowd they deserve.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 11:54AM

Rivals.com is reporting that Greg Monroe, the top-ranked prospect in the 2008 class, has committed to Georgetown.

PF Greg Monroe (Photo credit: AJ Mast)

Just two weeks ago, Monroe had narrowed his list of schools down to five, including UConn, Duke, LSU, and Texas. Although it had long been believed that Georgetown was leading the hunt, most observers thought Monroe was going to take all five visits. Sources say that Monroe was originally scheduled to visit Texas this upcoming weekend.

Monroe apparently saw all that he needed to on Friday night at the Hoyas’ midnight madness. Fans lined up around the Washington, D.C. campus all day in order to secure the best seats. Once inside, they were treated to an unveiling of the newest Final Four banner and the hanging of recent alumnus Jeff Green’s Seattle SuperSonics jersey alongside other Hoya greats. Even Jerry Rice was in attendance, and danced to Soulja Boy at midcourt with Patrick Ewing, Jr.

This leaves Texas with a decidedly thin list of prospects for the current recruiting class. J’Covan Brown — who was in attendance at last season’s Texas A&M game — has yet to commit, although sources feel he is the closest thing the Horns have to a lock at this point. Jeff Taylor, Jr., who visited two weeks ago, is also still considering Texas.

But the biggest prize still on the table is Tyreke Evans, the Pennsylvania point guard who sources say will visit the Forty Acres the weekend of November 2nd. At 6-foot, 5-inches, Evans would add some much needed height to the Texas backcourt, and would also fill the vacancy at the 1 if D.J. Augustin declares for next summer’s draft. Early news claimed that Villanova and Louisville were leading the charge for Evans, but family members have denied those reports.

For now, the loss of Monroe is not a huge blow, as many felt his signing with Texas was nothing but a pipe dream. However, big commits are being scored every day across the country, and the Longhorns have yet to land one.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 2:22PM

Jeff Taylor
As the football team hosts Kansas State and Vince Young revists the Forty Acres, the UT basketball staff is also busy. Jeff Taylor, Jr. will be in Austin on a recruiting visit this weekend, and word on the street is that the Horns are extremely high on the kid. But before the weekend’s visit even begins, the basketball offices in Belmont are already riding high from great news elsewhere on the recruiting front. Louisiana’s Greg Monroe trimmed his list of schools today, and Texas remains a part of the exclusive club.

Monroe, ranked as the #1 recruit by Rivals.com, narrowed his list of schools to five, all of whom will receive a visit. The Greg Monroe tour starts next weekend with hometown school LSU, considered one of the two favorites in the recruiting chase. The following weekend, Georgetown hosts the high school star, and most think the Hoyas are leading the hunt. Connecticut and the Dukies join Texas in the final five, although the Huskies and Horns have not yet scheduled visits with Monroe.

Meanwhile, the Horns will be pushing hard for Taylor, a Swedish national and son of a former Texas Tech guard. Jeff played his high school ball back in the States, having lived in New Mexico with his uncle the last few years. Both Tech and New Mexico are working their ties to try to land the kid, but Mark Few and Gonzaga are still recruiting Taylor, who spent his summer playing for the U18 Swedish national team.

If you happen to see Jeff on campus this weekend, be sure to shout out a quick hello. It certainly can’t hurt to have him already feeling like the Big Man on Campus.

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