Texas forward Myles Turner announced Monday that he will declare for the 2015 NBA draft. Turner averaged 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes per game during his freshman year at Texas.
Texas freshman forward Myles Turner announced early Monday through Twitter and a YouTube video that he will be entering his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“My name is Myles Turner, UT alum, and I’ve decided to forgo my education and enter my name into the 2015 NBA draft,” Turner said in the video.
Turner, who was as a one-and-done candidate as soon as he put on his burnt orange bucket hat and committed to the University of Texas last spring, is a projected lottery pick.
“It’s really hard to say goodbye, but this is a decision I had to make,” Turner said. “I will forever be indebted to the Longhorns fans and the University of Texas.”
Turner, who came to Texas as a five-star prospect, never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him so early in his career, despite earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and finding a spot on the All-Big 12 third team.
He averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just 22.2 minutes per game, with most of his big games coming against weaker competition, such as St. Francis and Lipscomb, in which he scored 25 and 26, respectively.
Turner led the Big 12 in blocks, and he was consistent throughout the season with his quick, face-up, high-release jumper from the post.
“I love the University, love the atmosphere here,” Turner said in the video. “Great education, great people, great basketball program and facilities — given everything I need to succeed.”
Turner turned 19 years old last week after playing the full season at age 18. His announcement came a day after head coach Rick Barnes officially left the program after 17 years.
Sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz scored 16 points against Xavier in the Big East tournament quarterfinal. Chrabascz is one of Butler's most prominent players offensively.
Few Texas fans know much about Butler. Heck, even head coach Rick Barnes admitted he doesn't know much about Butler. While he analyzes them frantically on his Synergy Sports app on his iPad, I will attempt to fill you in.
The trio of junior forward Roosevelt Jones, junior guard Kellen Dunham and sophomore forward Andrew Chrabascz handle the bulk of Butler’s mediocre offense.
Jones is a driver. That’s it. He averages 11.2 shots a game, with every single one of those coming from beneath the arc. He’s a 6-foot-4 forward because he doesn’t have a shot. Inside the arc, he has a bevy of unorthodox ways to get to the cup—and he does it well. He averages 12.6 points per game.
Dunham is the Bulldogs’ go-to man. He is their best shooter, and, at 6 feet 6 inches, finds ways to score from all over. He shoots 41.5 percent from behind the arc to the tune of 16.7 points per game. He also finds his way to the line, where he shoots nearly 86 percent, with ease.
Chrabascz may have been the missing link for head coach Chris Holtmann. The 6-foot-7 forward does most of his damage in the paint, but he can also stretch the defense out to the 3-point line. His weakness is at the line, where he shoots under 60 percent.
The rest of the Butler roster is the supporting cast on offense. Senior guard Alex Barlow can hit some threes. Senior forward Kameron Woods can bang down low. Each averages over 30 minutes a game but attempts just 12.5 shots per game combined.
The only Bulldog who adds anything significant is freshman forward Kelan Martin. He’s most efficient in the lane and averages 7.3 points per game.
As a team, Butler is just average offensively. The offense is not the Bulldog's bread and butter; they can do a little bit from all over but nothing exceptional. One glaring weakness for them is their free throw shooting. Despite Dunham and Barlow shooting at incredibly high rates, the team still shoots just 68 percent. Every other Bulldog to get significant minutes shoots below the 70-percent mark.
The Bulldogs also find themselves on the other end of a rejection quite frequently. With an undersized lineup, they get turned away at the 279th highest rate. Not good news for them going against Texas’ leading shot-block unit.
While they aren’t great offensively, they work hard and do the fundamentals. They will attack the glass while rarely turning the ball over, especially against a Texas team that forces next to none.
This is Butler's strength. The Bulldogs' prides themselves on their defense. They aren’t big, but they play as a team, making things difficult for opponents. They run opponents off the 3-point line and keep them off the glass extremely well.
The 5-foot-11 Barlow leads the defensive unit, which plays with tenacity on that end. They work hard around screens, chase down shooters and make everything difficult. They are best in man-to-man but will use the zone occasionally.
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. That’s all Rick Barnes wants heading into tournament play.
However, his team is riddled with inconsistency.
Senior forward Jonathan Holmes, who was the most consistent Longhorn, just turned in a disaster of a month. Junior center Cam Ridley seems to pick and choose when he shows up to play.
Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor goes from 40 minutes one night to 15 minutes three games later because of his poor defensive effort. Freshman forward Myles Turner plays like the Big 12 Freshman of the Year some nights and then like a true freshman the others. Sophomore guard Kendal Yancy transformed from passive role player to slick-shooter overnight.
And Barnes has no idea which one of his players will show up on any night, leaving him frustrated.
“We need Jon Holmes. We need Cam Ridley. We need Javan [Felix],” said Barnes, frustrated after the Iowa State game at home.
Only junior guard Demarcus Holland “has been as steady as a rock all year.”
Holland locks down defensively each and every night; he hustles after loose balls, and his shots result in a 49 percent clip from deep to lead the team.
“I embrace my role,” Holland said before the season. “If it takes me guarding the best player, I’ll do it. If I have to rebound, I’ll do it.”
Now, Barnes just needs to get the rest of his players to embrace their roles.
“All we are simply trying to do is to get each guy to do what he does best,” Barnes said Monday morning in a teleconference. “If we can get the consistency of that, we feel good about where we are at.”
Texas has as much talent in the Big 12 as anyone, yet, because of its inconsistency, the team enters Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Wednesday as the No. 7 seed and on the bubble of the NCAA tournament.
Just look at the top of the Big 12 standings to see what consistency can do. Junior forward Perry Ellis has been leading No. 1 seed Kansas, and junior point forward Georges Niang heads No. 2 Iowa State. Junior guard Buddy Hield guides No. 3 Oklahoma. Junior forward Rico Gathers leads No. 4 Baylor, and senior guard Juwan Staten is a veteran for No. 5 West Virginia.
Those players — who also make up the All-Big 12 First Team — have been as consistent as any in the nation all season. Game in and game out, those teams know what they are going to get out of their stars.
With its NCAA tournament hopes on the line, Texas is going to need everyone to make a difference. The Longhorns start off against No. 10 Texas Tech in Kansas City, Missouri at 8 p.m. Wednesday. A loss could end their tournament dream. A win would help them avoid disaster and keep their tournament résumé void of that bad loss.
“We’ve got another game right now with Texas Tech,” Barnes said. “We got to go play. This is as big a game as we’ve played all year.”
A win against Tech would pit them against No. 2 Iowa State in a quarterfinal matchup Thursday night.
“We’re never going to feel like we’ve done enough,” Holland said. “We got to take care of our next couple games.”
Friday marks the start of the 20th season for Major League Soccer.
Or at least it should.
Currently, there is still no CBA, Collective Bargaining Agreement, between MLS and the players, which, if unresolved by Friday, could result in a player’s strike and games not being played.
But we’re going to go on the assumption that the games will be played as scheduled this weekend.
This season should be an exciting and intriguing year for MLS as soccer is at an all-time high in the U.S. after a tremendous showing in television ratings for the World Cup last year and heightened popularity of the English Premiere League.
Attendance last year for MLS was up across the league, if you take away the stats from now-defunct Chivas U.S.A. The average attendance for the league was just over 19,000, which is roughly near capacity for most of the teams’ stadiums (CenturyLink Field obviously notwithstanding).
There are a number of key storylines going into this year that should keep things intriguing from March to Decemeber. (We’re going to hold off on the CBA issue here.)
First, there are the two new teams coming into this season: New York City F.C., a joint venture between Manchester City and the New York Yankees, and Orlando City F.C. The intrigue here is both on and off the pitch. Both teams ought to do well with their solid rosters and the fact that they’re both in the weaker Eastern Conference. And then there’s the attendance watch for both teams in their first years. Orlando has already announced that their first match on Sunday, coincidently enough against New York City, at the Citrus Bowl is sold out. Whether that keeps up and whether New York City can put up good numbers at Yankee Stadium will be something to keep an eye on.
Then there’s the Western Conference that, much like it’s NBA counterpart, is absolutely stacked with competitors. Last year the conference produced about six or seven teams that would have made the postseason had they been in the Eastern Conference. That goes off both points and the fact they would have had an easier schedule. This year it only gets stronger with the addition of Houston and Sporting Kansas City, though MLS has added an extra playoff slot for each conference which helps. It’s still a long season, but I’d venture a guess that there are four to five teams in the conference with a legitimate shot to win the MLS Cup and another two that could be contenders.
Within that conference are two teams are the biggest contenders to win it all, each with its own big storyline.
First, the Los Angeles Galaxy are going to have to figure out a way to play without Landon Donovan, who retired after last year. The Galaxy are in a good spot, however, with Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes up front on the attack. Still, it’s worth watching to see how the defending champs without the league’s best player.
And then there’s the Seattle Sounders who, despite their regular season success, find their trophy cabinet MLS Cup-less. Last year the Sounders were one round away from making it to the MLS Cup final, but fell short to the Galaxy. Seattle returns the same basic squad, minus defender Deandre Yedlin, so expect them to be contenders this season.
These storylines, along with a host of others, will (hopefully) be answered this year in what will likely be the best season in the history of the league.
That season has to start without a strike, but hopefully those differences are settled before the season begins or without a work stoppage. But that’s another story for another day.
· Supporters’ Shield – Seattle
· Western Conference playoff teams – Seattle, Los Angeles, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, Houston
· Eastern Conference playoff teams – D.C. United, Orlando City, New York City F.C., New England, Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls
· MLS Cup matchup – Seattle vs. Orlando City
· MLS Cup Winner – Seattle
1. Seattle – The Seattle Sounders were the best team in the regular season last year, taking home the Supporter’s Shield and winning the U.S. Open Cup. But the Sounders couldn’t quite catch that elusive MLS Cup title that has dogged them the past few years. This year they’re set up once again to be favorites to take the title with forwards midfielder, and Texan, Clint Dempsey and forward Obafemi Martins, as well as a talented supporting cast. With the experience and passionate fan base, Seattle has to be considered a top team in MLS, if only for the start of the season.
2. Los Angeles – The Galaxy will take a hit in their chance to repeat with U.S. legend Landon Donovan retiring, but there’s more to this team than Donovan. Forwards Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes made a significant impact up front for Los Angeles last year and will again team up to be a potent attacking duo. Add in Steven Gerrard at the summer transfer window and the Galaxy are in a great spot to repeat as champs once again.
3. Orlando City – Of the two expansion teams joining the league this season, Orlando City is the most likely to make some noise and potentially find itself in a position to make it to the MLS Cup. Of course, everyone knows about Brazilian forward Kaka, but City features more than that. Orlando should set in goal with Jamaican national team goalie Donovan Rickets. And if midfielder Brek Shea can find the same success he had a few years ago with FC Dallas, City might have a solid attack.
4. New York City F.C. – Of course, the biggest name team coming into this year is New York City F.C. under the combined ownership of Manchester City and the New York Yankees. While some uncertainty still looms over whether or not midfielder Frank Lampard will make the transfer from Manchester, City have a solid team in place anyway with forward David Villa, midfielder Mix Diskerud and defender George John. With a relatively weak Eastern Conference, NYC F.C. will certainly be contenders to make it to the MLS Cup.
5. Sporting Kansas City – Last year was a disappointment for Sporting K.C., dropping out of the postseason in the wild card round a year after making it to the MLS Cup. And things won’t get much easier for them this season either as Kansas City, along with Houston, make the jump to the stacked Western Conference. Still, SKC boasts of U.S. national team players midfielder Graham Zusi and defender Matt Besler, and forward Dom Dwyer became a force to be reckoned with last year. It won’t be easy in the Western Conference, but Sporting will not be an easier out for anybody this season.
The Bench – 6. Real Salt Lake, 7. New York Red Bulls, 8. D.C. United, 9. Houston, 10. FC Dallas
Games to Watch
· New York City F.C. at Orlando City, 4 p.m. Sunday, ESPN2
Great scheduling from the MLS scheduling crew resulted in the two expansion teams facing off against each other to start off the season. But while it seems like a gimmick, this should still be a great match. Both teams come is as contenders right off the bat to top the Eastern Conference. Both teams also feature big names such as Kaka and Villa. This game should be the best game of the weekend.
· New England at Seattle, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox Sports 1
Of the teams we know about and are returning, this should be the best match of the weekend. New England was oh so close to coming away with the MLS Cup last year, falling in the final minutes to Los Angeles. The Revolution have a bright star in midfielder Lee Nguyen and also feature U.S. national team defender Jermaine Jones. Seattle, as mentioned earlier, have been close to getting to the MLS Cup, but have yet to fulfill that goal. With the great Seattle fans providing the backdrop, this should be a fun one.
Rest of the Schedule
· Chicago at Los Angeles – 9 p.m., Friday, MLS Live, UniMas
· Montreal at D.C. United – 2 p.m., Saturday, MLS Live
· Colorado at Philadelphia – 3 p.m., Saturday, MLS Live
· Toronto F.C. at Vancouver – 5 p.m., Satuday, MLS Live
· San Jose at FC Dallas – 7:30 p.m., Saturday, MLS Live
· Columbus at Houston – 7:30 p.m., Saturday, MLS Live
· Real Salt Lake at Portland – 9:30 p.m., Saturday, MLS Live
· New York Red Bulls at Sporting Kansas City – 6:00 p.m., Fox Sports 1
From right, senior guard Tarale Murry, junior forward Brandon Allums and sophomore forward Danny Newsome cheer on the Longhorns from inside Madison Square Garden.
The walk-ons on most college rosters generally go unnoticed. They rarely get into games. When they do, the score is usually so unbalanced that many fans have already left. Even some of the biggest fans might not know their names.
But the 2014–2015 Texas men’s basketball walk-ons are making sure people know exactly who they are.
Sophomore forward Danny Newsome, a three-year veteran of the program, has the longest tenure of the five walk-ons. Senior guard Tarale Murry and junior forward Brandon Allums joined him at the beginning of last season, and sophomore forward Ryan McClurg soon followed suit in January 2014. Freshman guard Joe Schwartz rounded out the squad in December.
Individually, the five walk-ons don’t receive the same recognition as the Longhorns’ scholarship players do. But, as a unit, they’ve created their own online brand.
Their success on the Internet has arisen because of their Twitter account, @UTBBallWalkOns, in which they call themselves the “LastOnesOffTheBench.” The account currently has more than
Newsome said the idea to create the account arose during the team’s trip to Arizona for a scrimmage against Gonzaga. He said he wanted a way to document the adventures of the Longhorns’ least prolific players. He pitched the idea of a Twitter account to McClurg, and they became the co-creators and the lone password holders for the Twitter account.
“We really had no idea what we were going to get out of it,” Newsome said. “We knew we wanted it to be very funny and sarcastic and very promoting of the team.”
They decided the best way to do this was to upload stoic photos of all of the walk-ons standing at the half-court line of each of the team’s road venues.
They tweeted their first picture on Nov. 20 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, where they received 64 “retweets” and 94 “favorites,” and they’ve continued to tweet pictures ever since.
At first, Murry gave his teammates a hard time about the Twitter, joking that he wouldn’t take part in the photos. He eventually agreed to participate — under the condition he would never look at the camera in any of the pictures.
“It seems like a paradox,” Murry said. “Because I’m drawing attention to myself by not looking, but I’m [acting like I don’t want attention].”
Of course, the walk-ons possess a far more important role on the team than simply garnering attention on social media.
They serve as Texas’ scout team– studying the tendencies of the Longhorns’ next opponents and then emulate them against the scholarship players in practice.
“It gives the guys a better look at how [teams are going to play against us],” McClurg said. “They aren’t going to remember plays, but they’re remembering general actions, and those things kind of stick. That’s kind of our way that we can help them.”
While the fans may not be aware of what the walk-ons do in practice, the scholarship players realize the significance of their contributions.
“They’re really the behind-the-scenes guys on this team,” freshman forward Myles Turner said. “They put in the extra work when we’re not here just to [learn] the personnel of the other team [for] scout [team]. They do a lot of stuff with this team that goes unnoticed.”
Beyond functioning as the scout team, the walk-ons help out in drills and fill in during practice if someone is hurt.
“We do whatever the coaches need us to do, basically,” Allums said.
When the Longhorns are holding a healthy lead over their opponents, the walk-ons actually get to hit the floor during a game’s closing minutes. Each time they’ve made it to the court this season, their entrance has elicited loud cheers from the fans.
Newsome and Allums lead the walk-ons with five appearances this season, and McClurg and Murry each have four.
On Dec. 16 against Lipscomb, Schwartz’s first game on the active roster, all five of the walk-ons played during the final few minutes. Each walk-on scored.
Schwartz connected on a 3-pointer in his only shot attempt in the game, and he hasn’t played since.
“He’s now 100 percent from three,” McClurg said. “I told him not to take another shot in his career.”
Although the opportunities to play are rare for the walk-ons, Schwartz considers their overall contributions to the team to be as significant as anyone’s.
“I think our role is just as important as everyone else’s,” Schwartz said. “We’re here to bring energy. We’re here to do the best we can on scout team. We’re here to be tough on the guys when we need to, and we’re here to have the guys’ backs.”
For the walk-ons, those responsibilities seem to be a perfect fit.
“We want playing time because if we get playing time, that means we’re up by 30,” McClurg said. “But we really don’t want playing time. We just love being a part of the program and love being around the guys.”
While sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor had 17 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds, a few errors in the final minute led to a loss for the Longhorns to Kansas on Saturday, 69-64. The Longhorns dropped to 17–12 on the season and 6–10 in conference play with the loss.
With hopes of an NCAA tournament berth hanging in the balance, Texas men’s basketball came close to pulling off an improbable victory in college basketball’s toughest road venue Saturday.
But, as it almost always seems to do, No. 8 Kansas once again found a way to win in front of its home crowd.
Now, with just two games remaining on the schedule, Texas finds itself in jeopardy of missing the tournament for the second time in three seasons.
The Longhorns will fight Monday to keep their postseason hopes alive when they return home to face Baylor, which handed them their worst loss of the season last month in Waco. For a chance at redemption versus the Bears, Texas will need to quickly put Saturday’s tough loss in Lawrence, Kansas behind it.
The Longhorns led well into the second half in the 69–64 loss to the Jayhawks, leading by as many as 6 points with under 10 minutes remaining. But Kansas got hot from the field and the free throw line late, closing the game out with a 16–10 run in the final 6:52 to ice the victory.
Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis was at the forefront of that second-half surge, scoring 12 points in the final 9:30 of the second half. He finished the game with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. It marked the third consecutive 20-point game for Ellis, who has emerged as a front-runner for Big 12 Player of the Year.
Texas missed on a couple of opportunities late to tie the game. With Texas trailing 66–64 with 48.3 seconds remaining, sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then, with the score the same and 6.1 seconds remaining, Taylor missed an off-balance layup attempt on a play in which he appeared to be fouled — though the referees didn’t call it.
Taylor led the Longhorns with 17 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds, but the final minute didn’t go as hoped.
Despite Ellis’ impressive game, the Longhorns turned in one of their better defensive performances of the season. They held Kansas to just 36.2 percent shooting from the field and, remarkably, limited the sweet-shooting Jayhawks to just one made 3-pointer in eight attempts.
Texas’ interior defense was especially impressive. Freshman forward Myles Turner racked up five blocks in the game, while junior center Prince Ibeh had four. Texas had 14 blocks in the game.
With the victory, Kansas improved to a perfect 15–0 at home this season. The Jayhawks have now won 24 consecutive home games, and improved to a remarkable 189–9 at Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bill Self.
The Longhorns dropped to 17–12 on the season and 6–10 in conference play with the loss. A victory would’ve greatly improved their résumé as they try to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, and now, with just two games remaining, they’re very much on the bubble to make the Big Dance.
A win over Baylor might at least keep Texas in the discussion for a NCAA tournament berth. A loss at home to the Bears, however, would damage their postseason hopes even further.
With hopes of an NCAA Tournament berth hanging in the balance, Texas men’s basketball came close to pulling off an improbable victory in college basketball’s toughest road venue Saturday.
But, as it almost always seems to do, No. 8 Kansas once again found a way to win in front of its home crowd.
The Longhorns led well into the second half in the 69-64 loss to the Jayhawks, leading by as many as six points with under 10 minutes remaining. But Kansas got hot from the field and the free throw line late, closing the game out on a 16-10 run to ice the victory.
Junior forward Perry Ellis was at the forefront of that late surge, scoring 12 points in the final 9:30 of the second half. He finished the game with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. It marked the third consecutive 20-point game for Ellis, who has emerged as a front-runner for Big 12 Player of the Year.
Texas missed out on a couple of opportunities to tie the game late. With Texas trailing 66-64 and 48.3 seconds remaining, sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then, with the same score and 6.1 seconds remaining, Taylor missed an off-balance lay-up attempt on a play where he appeared to be fouled, but the referees didn’t call it.
Taylor led the Longhorns with 17 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds, but he wasn't able to finish the game the way he hoped.
Despite Ellis’ impressive game, the Longhorns turned in one of their better defensive performances of the season. They held Kansas to just 36.2 percent shooting from the field and surprisingly limited the sweet-shooting Jayhawks to just one made three-pointer in eight attempts.
Texas’ interior defense was especially impressive. Freshman forward Myles Turner racked up five blocks in the game, while junior center Prince Ibeh had four. Texas as a whole had 14 blocks in the game.
The Jayhawks managed to overcome their struggles from the field with a strong day at the free throw line. They finished the game 26-of-32 from the line, where the Longhorns went just 12-of-18.
With the victory, Kansas improved to a perfect 15-0 at home this season. The Jayhawks have now won 24 consecutive road games, and they improved to a remarkable 189-9 at Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bill Self.
The Longhorns dropped to 17-12 on the season and 6-10 in conference play with the loss. A victory would’ve greatly improved their resume as they try to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but now, with just two games remaining, they’re very much on the bubble to make the Big Dance.
They appeared close to finally earning a season-changing signature victory, but once again, they learned why many refer to Allen Fieldhouse as “the best home field advantage in sports.”
With a slew of absences on the court, head coach Karen Aston has been forced to switch things up.
Freshman guards Brooke McCarty and Ariel Atkins have been thrust into starting roles. Even freshman forward Diani Akigbogun, who hadn’t seen the court since last semester, played in the latest game.
Despite the pressure put on the two freshman guards to be major contributors, they give the Longhorns a big boost.
Atkins is averaging 11.4 points per game over the last five, while playing more than 30 minutes a game. McCarty was just named Big 12 Freshman of the Week after averaging 13.5 points and 3.5 assists during the past week.
“You could tell [McCarty] was really in control of the she moved her body,” Aston said.
Atkins and McCarty have started the past seven games and hope to build on their first conference road win where the Longhorns went up to Kansas to get. While in Lawrence, Kansas, the Longhorns also scored their most points since Jan. 19.
“[McCarty] played an energetic game and we need more of that,” Aston said after the last game. “She wasn’t afraid to take the shots.”
Falling in their first six road conference games, the Longhorns (16–8, 5–8 Big 12) finally broke through at Kansas with a 74–63 victory to end the road skid as well as a four-game losing streak. Four players scored in the double digits, including McCarty and Atkins.
“I thought we had so many players step up,” Aston said after the win Saturday night against the Jayhawks.
The Longhorns look to carry that momentum and start a winning streak of their own when they host Kansas State at the Frank Erwin Center at 7 p.m.
Kansas State (15–9, 5–8 Big 12) has other ideas, though, as it is searching for its first season sweep against Texas since 2012. In the first matchup between the two, Kansas State rallied from a halftime deficit to win by 9 points. During the game, sophomore forward Nekia Jones went down with a left knee injury that has her out indefinitely.
However, this time around, Kansas State will be on Texas’ court, giving the Longhorns a distinct advantage. In the Frank Erwin Center, dating back to last year, Texas is 26–4 and holds a +18.4 scoring margin.
Trying to take advantage of Texas’ young backcourt, Kansas State will pressure the Texas guards and try to force them into mistakes. Kansas State currently has a Big 12-leading 275 steals this season. Turnovers haven’t been Texas’ problem this season, though, as it is averaging its lowest amount of turnovers per game (16.2) in the last five seasons.
The Wildcats head into Austin fresh off an overtime loss to Texas Tech on Sunday.
The game will be aired on the Longhorn Network.
D.C. United’s trophy cabinet has a nice looking piece of hardware in it after this weekend.
No, not the four MLS Cups or the three U.S Open Cups. Instead, it’s the new armadillo trophy from Austin.
A 54th minute goal by forward Chris Rolfe gave United a 1-0 win over FC Dallas to take the inaugural ATX Pro Challenge and its armadillo trophy Sunday afternoon.
The game started heavily in favor of FC Dallas, who pressured the United defense, getting opportunity after opportunity, but never quite getting the final touch needed to capitalize. Towards the end of the first half, Dallas squared up a shot only for it to be blocked.
But United’s fortune would change early in the second half.
Earning a foul deep in FC Dallas territory, United’s free kick swung in towards the box and bounced around, only to fall to Rolfe. After taking a couple of dribbles, Rolfe drilled a shot from outside the top of the box past FC Dallas keeper Dan Kennedy and into the upper right corner.
FC Dallas would counter, looking for an equalizer for force penalty kicks, but like the first half came up empty in the end. Forward Danny Garcia had a shot in stoppage time with a free kick just outside the box; however, the kick was sent into the wall to seal the United win.
Meanwhile, in the consolation game, the hometown Austin Aztex again ran into tough competition against their MLS counterparts, the Columbus Crew.
The Aztex settled for a defensive game, allowing the Crew to control the majority of the possession, and looked for the counterattack. But the counterattack proved ineffective as bad passes and turnovers stymied most of Austin’s chances.
But as the game appeared set to go to penalty kicks, Columbus defender Chad Barson got enough of the ball off of a cross to sneak it by Austin keeper Cody Laurendi to take the win.
Austin will open up its inaugural USL Pro season at home on March 28 against Colorado Springs. FC Dallas and Columbus will open up their competitive seasons on March 7 while D.C. United will play two CONCACAF Champions League match before opening up its season on March 7 as well.
Goals came aplenty Friday night as Austin got its first taste of Major League Soccer action.
FC Dallas and D.C. United combined for six goals as both teams won their respective matches to advance to the final of the inaugural ATX Pro Challenge Sunday afternoon.
The first match between FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew featured the theme of many missed chances. The Crew created the match’s first real big chance as forward Kei Kamara managed to get the ball past FC Dallas keeper Chris Seitz, but the ball ricocheted off the post. On the other end, Dallas found itself with the ball in the box on multiple occasions, but failed to pull the trigger.
Finally, in the 29th minute, FC Dallas forward Blas Perez ripped a shot from just outside the box past Crew keeper Steve Clark to put the Texas side up 1-0.
Then the match became the Fabian Castillo show.
Just minutes after the Perez goal, Castillo got the ball in space on the left side of the pitch and beat his defender. The subsequent shot was blocked by Clark, but midfielder Ryan Hollingstead was there to get the rebound and double the FC Dallas lead.
Six minutes later, the Columbian forward repeated the same play, getting a shot on goal only for Hollingstead to put the ensuing rebound into the back of the net to give FC Dallas a 3-0 lead into halftime.
Columbus would score 20 minutes into the second half as midfielder Kristinn Steindorsson finally managed to get a shot past Seitz; however, FC Dallas managed to hang on in the end for a 3-1 win.
D.C. United’s match against tournament host, the Austin Aztex, proved to be much easier.
Fielding a starting lineup of primarily second and third teamers as well as one trialist, United opened the scoring nine minutes into the match as midfielder Miguel Aguilar drilled one past Aztex keeper Devin Perales.
Less than 10 minutes later, United forward Connor Doyle capitalized off of an Aztex turnover to double the lead.
Austin had its fair share of chances, however, it was thwarted primarily by the offsides flag. The Aztex were called offsides four times in the first half, including once where the ball ended up in the back of the net.
FC Dallas and D.C. United will square off for the tournament title at 3:15 p.m. Sunday with Columbus and Austin preceding that at 1 p.m.