• Defense focuses on fundamentals before Iowa State

    Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford addressed the media Wednesday to discuss Texas' matchup in Iowa on Saturday. Here are some takeaways from Bedford's address.

    Texas looks to improve defensively on road

    Bedford said Wednesday the Longhorns need to play better defense to improve their chances on the road.

    “We can’t give up big plays on defense,” Bedford said. “You go back to Notre Dame and TCU, and it’s big play after big play. Against Notre Dame, we gave up third down and long seven times. We need to be effective on third down and get off of the football field.”

    Texas surrendered an average of 44 points per game in its two away games – both losses – this season. The Longhorns gave up 30 points in the first quarter alone at No. 5 TCU. Now, Bedford is focusing on the fundamentals before facing Iowa State on the road.

    “We need to tackle better,” Bedford said. “When we do have coverage, we have to make a play on the football. We have to be aggressive. … When they throw the football we need to be in position and go and make a play.”

    Defense benefitting from improved offense

    Texas’ offense is finding an identity in running the football with over 270 rushing yards in each of its last two games. The running-game’s renaissance has translated to more first downs, more points and more wins. Bedford says the improved offense is also injecting some life into the Longhorns’ defense.

    “What [rushing success] means is that their offense is on the sideline and we’re eating up clock,” Bedford said.  “Now, we’re a lot fresher on defense.”

    Time of possession is proving key for the Longhorns’ defense. Texas kept the ball longer than its opponents in each of its last two games, and picked up two wins. The defense also had its two best performances in those games holding No. 14 Oklahoma and Kansas State to 17 and 9 points respectively.

    “My father – and some of other coaches I’ve been around – said the best way to win a game is to keep the defense on the sideline,” Bedford said.

  • NBA season preview: Teams to watch

    San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) drives up against Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Spurs 97-94. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) drives up against Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Spurs 97-94. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

    The 2015–2016 NBA season tipped off Tuesday, with the season continuing until June.

    Many of the NBA’s prominent contenders belong to the Western Conference. Last season, three teams in the East achieved 50-plus wins, while seven teams in the West did. The top teams from 2014–2015 have reloaded in hopes of claiming the title in June.

    The defending-champion Golden State Warriors are led by a high-scoring offense with sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who are expected to post similar results to their 67-win performance in 2014–2015. Retaining defensive weapons Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala makes Golden State dangerous on both sides of the ball.

    ^

    Stephen Curry
    23.8 PPG
    7.7 APG2
    2.0 SPG
    .443 3PT%

    >

    LaMarcus Aldridge
    23.4 PPG
    10.2 RPG
    0.845 FT%

    <

    Kawhi Leonard
    16.5 PPG
    7.2 RPG

    2.3 SPG (league best)

     

    Top: Winslow Townson | Associated Press Bottom: Daren Abate | Associated Press

    The San Antonio Spurs faced a first-round exit in 2015, but the 2014 NBA champions won free agency when All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge decided to join Gregg Popovich’s system in San Antonio. The Spurs’ reloaded roster features veterans Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and a budding star in Kawhi Leonard, the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers were the champions of the Eastern Conference, but they were without All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in the NBA Finals. Four-time MVP LeBron James looks to lead the Cavs to their first-ever championship.


    Ron Schwane | Associated Press

    The Houston Rockets reached the Western Conference Finals last season, but were handily beaten by the Warriors. James Harden, the only player to score 2000 points in 2014–2015, runs the Rockets’ three-point oriented offense. A Finals appearance in a stacked conference may be a challenge, but the addition of point guard Ty Lawson makes this offense a force to be reckoned with.

    Ben Margot | Associated Press

    These contenders are the primary teams to watch this season, and the NBA champion will likely be one of these four. However, factors such as injuries and breakout players may come into play to alter the balance of power.

    The 2015–2016 tipoff is here — ­basketball is finally back.

    Interactives by Tom Li

  • Texas women&#039;s golf places seventh at Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown

    Texas completed its final tournament of the fall season with a seventh-place finish at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown on Wednesday, shooting a three-day 25-under par for a total score of 839.

    Sophomore Sophia Schubert led the team with a top-five finish, shooting a three-day score of 203. Schubert made seven birdies and one bogey for a round of six-under par to finish in fourth, overall.

    Senior Tezira Abe and junior Haley Mills finished tied for 45th at two-under par for the tournament. Mills finished her third round with a bogey-free three-under par while Abe carded two bogeys for a round of two-over par.
     
    Junior Julia Beck and freshman Maddie Luitwieler tied for 53rd after they both shot a one-under par round of 71. The pair ended even par for the tournament.
     
    University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Vanderbilt charged up the leaderboard to tie for first place. The teams finished 33-under par for a 54-hole score of 831. San Diego State finished in third place, just three strokes behind, as Tennessee’s Anna Newell finished in first place, individually.
     
    Texas finished in the top ten in all of their tournaments this season. The team will open the spring season on Feb. 21st in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Kenny Vaccaro shines in NFL

    Former 2013 first-round draft pick Kenny Vaccaro is on pace for a career high in tackles this season. During the Saints’ victory over the Colts on Sunday, Vaccaro recorded five tackles, including his first sack of the season. Just six games into the season, Vaccaro has already totaled 44 tackles. With nine games to go, Vaccaro expects to surpass his previous marks of 74 tackles in 2014 and 79 in 2013.

    Vaccaro attributes much of his recent success to overcoming a rash of injuries. At the end of his rookie season, Vaccaro injured his ankle. He returned to the field four months later for what was considered a year-and-a-half-long recovery process. The injury continued to bother Vaccaro for months, and in his first game of 2014, Vaccaro tore his hamstring. He then suffered a quad injury that was never officially reported and continued to trouble him through the season.

    “I’m one of those guys that’s going to be hard to sit on the bench,” Vaccaro said. “I’m going to play through any type of injury so I can be on the field.”

    Vaccaro played safety for the Longhorns from 2009 to 2012. His brother Kevin, now a Texas safety, has 15 tackles this season. Kenny Vaccaro was a defensive captain at Texas alongside Alex Okafor. He was also a first-team All-American his senior year.