Dallas Colleges: Big 12 basketball
The Longhorns open the 2012-13 season with a home date against Fresno State (Nov. 9), coached by former UT assistant Rodney Terry. Texas hosts Coppin State in the regional round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational (Nov. 12).
The Longhorns then head to Maui for the championship rounds of the EA Sports Maui Invitational (Nov. 19-21). Texas will be joined in the eight-team tourney field by: Butler, Chaminade, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, North Carolina and USC. Matchups for the championship rounds in Maui will be announced at a later date.
UT returns to Austin for a pair of home contests against in-state opponents Sam Houston State (Nov. 27) and Texas-Arlington (Dec. 1). The Horns travel to New York City to play Georgetown (Dec. 4) at historic Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic. Tip time for the UT-Georgetown contest has already been set for 6 p.m. Central (7 p.m. Eastern), and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Texas then faces UCLA at Reliant Stadium in Houston (Dec. 8) before returning to the Erwin Center for contests against Texas State (Dec. 15) and North Carolina (Dec. 19). Texas registered a 74-72 against No. 11 UNC on Dec. 30, 1995, in the Tar Heels’ only previous matchup against the Longhorns in Austin.
The Longhorns will travel to East Lansing, Mich. to face Michigan State (Dec. 22) at the Breslin Center. Two years ago, UT snapped Michigan State’s 52-game home win streak against nonconference foes with a 67-55 victory (Dec. 22, 2010).
Texas will conclude its nonconference slate with a home game against Rice (Dec. 29).
The Big 12 Conference schedule has not been finalized at this date. UT’s complete television schedule for the 2012-13 season will be announced at a later date.
Miller averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 37 games, with 35 starts.
The announcement comes one day after teammate Perry Jones III declared that he is leaving Baylor to enter the NBA draft.
But in fairness, probably only the hiring of hometown basketball hero Jamie Dixon could have done that. And TCU tried hard to get him, though it's unclear how close Dixon came to actually leaving his post at Pittsburgh. It wasn't meant to be (the fact that his contract is through 2018 at Pitt was one of the obstacles). They talked to Buzz Williams, one of the biggest names around thanks to his success at Marquette. They called Ben Howland.
In the end, TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte settled on a coach that fit his criteria. He wanted someone with a track record of turning around a program that was struggling (Johnson did that at Nevada) and someone who had taken teams to the NCAA tournament (he did that at Nevada, Stanford and LSU). But he also wanted someone who would run the program with honesty and integrity. Johnson has done that at every stop.
Johnson inherited some good teams at Stanford and LSU, and in Baton Rouge, after going to the NCAA tournament his first season, Johnson's teams struggled the next two seasons before going to the NIT last year with the same number of wins as TCU had under Christian.
What does it all mean? We'll see. The bottom line: The only buzz that matters is on the recruiting trail and, consequently, on the court. TCU loses its three top players next season and the roster has players from all over the place, though not that many from the Dallas-Fort Worth area (or Houston, for that matter). Those are two fertile recruiting areas and Johnson recruited some there while at LSU. It's critical that his staff establish relationships with those coaches. Maybe the move to the Big 12 will get more players interested.
"It's extremely important that some of the best players in the area and in the state attend the university for attendance purposes, for family purposes and you look at the good programs and the good players stay home," Johnson said. "It's about relationships."
Johnson mentioned Robert Hughes at Fort Worth Dunbar and said he's going to go about establishing those relationships. Good. He needs to do that to create a solid foundation.
Johnson said all the right things at his news conference on Monday. Then again, what new coach doesn't win the introductory presser? But I thought Johnson was more impressive once he wasn't standing behind the podium. He's a bit feisty, and I like that. He's confident and I think that's important for his team to see. It sounds like practices will be closed to the media, because he feels like that's his private time with his players. Normally, that might make me suspicious. But I like Johnson's reasoning on it. He's going to run a tight ship and reports from his previous stops say his teams play very hard and with energy.
Is all of that enough to win? How is that different from Christian? We'll just have to wait and see.
The second part of the winning equation is up to Del Conte and the administration. And they're already working on it. The plan is to renovate Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in terms of locker rooms, concourses and the exterior. It's long overdue.
If Johnson can turn things around, he could be here for a long time. Or success could propel him to another job. But if he doesn't succeed, the university has at least sent a signal with the financial commitment that it is starting to get serious about basketball. That can't hurt if and when it has to make another hire.
Johnson knows it takes time but admits he's not patient.
"I'm just a grinder," Johnson said. "I'm a morning, noon and night guy. I wish I golfed. I wish I had some social life. My life is in the gym and sports and my life is based off of making sure kids get a good education and play good basketball and my family."
And there's one logical name: Jamie Dixon.
Before you roll your eyes and claim that TCU has no shot, know this: He's at the top of their wish list. And I wonder if the timing isn't right for him to leapfrog to Fort Worth.
There are some obstacles, obviously. He had a disappointing year in Pittsburgh (team didn't make NCAA or NIT, but won the CBI title), but has a contract worth, according to reports, between $1.6 and $2 million through 2018. TCU was paying Christian around $600,000. That's an awfully large gap.
But athletic director Chris Del Conte (with help from football coach Gary Patterson and others at TCU) helped get the financial backing for renovations to Amon G. Carter Stadium. Football, as it should, took priority. Now, the athletic department should focus on increasing resources for the basketball program. That has to start with renovations to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and Del Conte has said that's a major priority.
With the sports programs going to the Big 12 starting with the 2012 football season, there's no better time than to try to get the basketball program up toward competitive status again (last NCAA tournament trip was 1998 under Billy Tubbs and that team, a No. 4 seed, lost to FSU in the first round). It can get there. But it will take a commitment by the university and a big-time coach -- in that order, or they won't get the big-time coach.
That coach should be Dixon. But why would he do it? Because he was a star at TCU as a player and seems to have at least kept track of things in Horned Frog land since he left.
He was a star with TCU in the late 1980s, hitting a memorable buzzer beater against Texas in 1987 and playing on two Southwest Conference title teams for the Horned Frogs (part of Jim Killingsworth's "Killer Frogs"). TCU was a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament in 1987 and beat Marshall in the first round before losing to Notre Dame in the second round by one point. The game ended with some controversy when Dixon was whistled for a foul on Irish guard David Rivers, who made a free throw with four seconds left to give Notre Dame the win. TCU fans felt Rivers stepped out of bounds and wasn't fouled.
That's history, of course. But it's a part of TCU history that many current fans know. Dixon, though, has kept up with the Frogs. He talked with Del Conte in 2010 at a football game and is credited with helping to push TCU into the Big East. Though the Frogs never played a game in the conference, the move certainly couldn't have hurt with Big 12 officials as they looked for another program to join the conference in 2012.
Dixon has put together an impressive resume at Pitt. Yes, he had a down year this past season, but took the Panthers to seven consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and two Sweet 16 trips and one to the Elite 8 (2009).
He's got a track record and ties to TCU. He's a big name that would attract attention, not only of fans but of prospective recruits. It's time for TCU to raise the money and go after him.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Aaryn Ellenberg scored 21 of her 28 points in the second half, Whitney Hand added 12 points and 10 rebounds and Oklahoma defeated Michigan, 88-67, Sunday night in the first round of the NCAA women's tournament.
Playing on their home court, the Sooners (21-12) took control with an early 14-4 run and never trailed.
Oklahoma led by 12 in the first 8 minutes. The advantage grew to 19 as Ellenberg came out hot in the second half and Oklahoma held the Wolverines without a basket for the first 5 1/2 minutes.
Michigan (20-12), making its first tournament appearance in 11 years, got as close as eight with a flurry of 3-pointers by Carmen Reynolds before the Sooners closed it out.
Reynolds finished with 20 points to lead the Wolverines. Michigan's leading scorer, Rachel Sheffer, had only three points in a season-low 14 minutes.
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