College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, February 13, 2010
Losers of 5 of their last 7 games, the question marks popping up around the texas basketball program were almost too numerous to mention.
Why can't they hit free throws? What's wrong with Dexter Pittman? Who's going to score after Damion James? Are they an elite team or just another Big 12 also-ran?
A few of those queries were put to rest on Saturday when the Longhorns posted their biggest conference win of the season, a 91-51 embarrassment of visiting Nebraska, spearheaded by 25 points from freshman guard Avery Bradley. Bradley smoked in the first half, hitting all five of his three-point attempts. After hitting one more in the opening minutes of the second half, Bradley missed, but by then, the Longhorns were already up by more than 30 points. Bradley finished 9-for-12, hitting 6 of 7 3-pointers.
As for the other questions, Texas made 20 of 33 free throws (73%), Dexter Pittman only played 16 minutes (he's too slow and clogs up the offense), and beyond James, who only scored 13 points, a trio of freshman will need to continue to produce. There was Bradley's 25, J'Covan Brown's 12 points and Jordan Hamilton's contribution of 16.
Whether Texas returns to elite team status will be determined over the next three weeks. The Longhorns play four of their final six games away from home, and after that, the conference tournament, which should provide more answers.