Daily Dribble: 1/17

January 17th, 2007
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3 OT's, 108 points, a crazy circus shot, two stars combining for 74 points, and a coach that looked like he was dying.. Texas-Oklahoma State had it all. I'm not sure which team I was more impressed with. Oklahoma State for managing to survive the end of regulation and three overtimes with their starting point guard and top defender having fouled out? Or Texas for simply going 3-OT's on the road at the #14 team in the country? The Cowboys hadn't lost a home game since February 13th last year, and even #7 Pitt couldn't topple the Boys at a semi-home game. Then again, Oklahoma State won with Tyler Hatch, a walk-on with 6 career field goals, playing 33 important minutes.

But then again, Texas is simply a bunch of freshmen and sophomores.. and seeing rookies like DJ Augustin and Kevin Durant making big play after big play was special.. Durant ended up with 37 and 12. Sure, his 13-31 shooting doesn't look to good.. but this was a freshman, that was double-teamed just about every play, and the lanes were filled with 3 guys when he drove. (Not to mention it seemed he was fouled at least 5 times that weren't called. Despite the fact two guys on OSU fouled out, it seemed like the refs were pretty content to let all types of banging and slapping happen.) But as good as Durant was.. Mario Boggan was every bit as good. The senior had 37 and 20 bords, and more efficient 13-27 shooting. Boggan played best when it mattered, and he even hit a rare three to win the game (just his 6th of the season).

It was definitely the best game I've watched this year. Sean Sutton's health was a whole sub-plot in itself. What was going on with him? I know he apparently slipped on ice the day before and was under some pain.. but he looked worse than that. Then you had Byron Eaton's crazy shot falling out of bounds which completely changed the complexion of the game. Texas scored 9 straight after half to turn a 38-36 deficit into a 7 point lead. Oklahoma State looked lost before Eaton's shot went in.. but suddenly the crowd exploded and the Cowboys defensive intensity rose another level. For young Texas, this was the perfect learning experience. I can't help but think that Texas will be the better team by season's end.. the team that has a chance to make a tourney run.

Besides Durant, the kid I really love is DJ Augustin. The kid is just so damn good at getting into the lane, and he's even shooting 47% from three. Our own Jason Tomassini had Augustin 5th in yesterday's Freshman 10 ranking, and thats some pretty high praise. But praise I agree with.. outside of Durant, Oden, Budinger, and Brandan Wright.. Augustin is playing the best ball of any freshman in the country. And it can even be argued that Augustin is more important to his team than both Budinger and Wright.

Oh, and there were also 21 other games last night. In yesterday's Dribble I predicted the outcome of all the games. Lets see how I did? I went 17-5 overall. I was wrong about Texas (though they went to 3-Ot's.. shouldn't I get half credit..), Air Force (surprising loss against 6-12 Utah, though the Utah have beaten Washington State and Virginia, so they're not as bad as the record looks), Cal Poly (losing to Sacramento State), Dartmouth (losing to UNH), and ULL (losing to South Alabama at home.) Overall, 77% for the day.. not bad, not good either.. pretty average.

Perhaps UNC and Clemson will create another instant-classic tonight. The #4 team heading to the #16 team certainly has the makeup of something special. There's a couple other potentially great games tonight.. at least in terms of being close and important. #25 Virginia Tech heads to 12-5 Florida State. The Hokies have all the momentum, but the Noles are a different team at home, with just the lone 2-point loss against Clemson all year. #20 Notre Dame heads to Villanova, where the Wildcats really need a win. They've been solid at 12-5 this season, but have yet to beat a Top 25 team. The Cats had the big road win at Oklahoma earlier.. but it turns out the Sooners aren't very good. The same can be said for Nova's win at Georgetown, the Hoyas might not even be a tournament team. A win over #20 Notre Dame would be a big boost to the Cats resume.

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