Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Hardly-Live Blog: North Texas @ Texas First Half

10:25 PM - Ladies and gentlemen, if you are reading this, you may be reading history. Because, to my knowledge no one has EVER done a live blog of a game three and a half hours after the fact. Have I researched that? Absolutely not. And don't try to doubt me with your fact. Don't even try.

10:28 - So it's undefeated Texas, coming off a win at Pauley Pavilion against mighty UCLA, and North Texas, coming off of a comeback win against New Mexico State that they had to fight hard, 75-72.

10:30 - This game was to appear on FSN Southwest at 10:30. But just as I thought, the Stars probably went into overtime, and FSN is having postgame on a game that about 20 people watched. By the way, I worked with FSN SW for my senior year high school internship, and if I hadn't have lost the tape room number they'd be getting an earful right now.

10:33 - This gives me a chance to say screw you, who ever was doing the radio play-by-play for NMSU on Saturday night. We are NOT North Texas State University. And we haven't been since about 1983.
(Note to any Sun Belt fans: This gets us pissed off beyond almost anything else. Like you didn't know that.)

Of course, UNT's broadcasters were covering the Mean Green football game, which at the Sun Belt level of D-1A means absolutely nothing.

10:36 - If this is STARS postgame, then why am I seeing a Cowboys segment on my TV?

10:38 - And the broadcast is on! If North Texas is to win this game they have to play up-tempo and have Keith Wooden and Quincy Williams control the glass. The last time the Mean Green played against a team with this much talent, it was against Memphis in the NCAA First Round, a game where they hung around for a half and then some.

10:42 - It's almost criminal for me to not mention what Texas has done, how everyone is chipping in and how well they are shooting.

10:43 - Opening tip.

10:44 - First three by Texas, this could happen often. And on the other end three possessions, three turnovers for UNT.

10:46 - 7-0 Texas, Johnny Jones needs a timeout. Connor Atchley with five early ones.

10:48 - Make it four early turnovers for UNT. There's some silly play going on out there and they need to calm down.

10:49 - Under 16 timeout, and it's 17-3 Texas. UNT is not closing down on these shooters and Texas is making them pay for it. The Mean Green went down quickly against NMSU, but this is a totally different animal. And Keith Wooden has two early fouls on illegal picks. Ten possessions, six turnovers for UNT. Ken Pomeroy is not pleased.

10:55 - The problem with trying to play uptempo for UNT is that Texas is just as fast as they are in transition defense. And I'm starting to sound like I actually thought UNT would be in this game in the first half.

10:58 - Under 12 timeout and it's 23-8, Texas. Texas is obviously playing well, but UNT can do so much better on defense.

11:00 - Oh come on, guys, it's not like you're Hartford or anything! (Coincidentally, this is UNT's next opponent.) Nine turnovers already. Ben Bell and Collin Dennis don't even have their D games tonight.

11:04 - 29-8 Texas. This could be a horror show before all is said and done.

11:05 - Collin Dennis just got a great steal at midcourt...before missing the layup. Oh dear, Oh dear.

11:07 - Did the announcers just say UT's Dexter Pittman had a body fat percentage of 41 when he stepped on campus??? How do you get a scholarship being that out of shape? Thankfully, for UT, Pittman has lost 70 pounds since then.

11:09 - Josh White converts a four-point play for the Mean Green, 29-12 Texas.

11:12 - Things just a wee bit better for UNT, who are hitting some shots and playing better defense (although it couldn't have been any worse to start), 33-16 Texas.

11:14 - Longhorns have been playing 2-3 zone for much of this game, and UNT isn't able to exploit the holes. Hell, UCLA couldn't crack it either and the pollsters told me they were the number one team in the nation.

11:18 - AJ Abrams is now 5-5 from the floor. 37-18, Texas 4:30 left in the first half.

11:19 - Abrams finally misses a triple, and it's 37-20 with 3:58 left.

11:21 - Josh Bell, commentator X???? That would be Ben Bell. Or perhaps you meant Josh White.

11:24 - Johnny Jones gets T'ed up and basically for just asking why UNT had a foul go against them after DJ Augustin performed a rugby manuever. Ok, maybe not just that.

11:27 - Josh White now has 13 points, and is clearly the best player tonight for UNT. 41-24 Texas with 1:38 left in the half after Rick Barnes takes timeout.

11:29 - Harold Stewart gets an intentional foul called on him for doing nothing with intent seemingly. It's now 46-24 after an Atchley three.

11:31 - End of the first half, and it's 48-26 Texas. Great performance so far by the Longhorns and they are living up to that top-five billing. I don't have the possession stats, but I'd estimate Texas' O-PPP being somewhere in the 1.3 range. The Mean Green's best chance to keep this game close was with rebounding and the transition game, and Texas has more than answered on both fronts.

UNT has, however, been about even for the last 10 minutes in this game. If they can keep that up, play better defense against Augustin and Abrams (tough ask, I know), and have more than just Josh White contribute offensively; that will be a fair showing against one of the best teams in the nation.

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