Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s January 23rd — 23 down, 343 to go.
And 50 till Selection Sunday.
YESTERDAY: The Warriors beat the Pacers, their 38th straight home win dating back to last season. The Cavaliers — who are leading their division — fired head coach David Blatt. (Oh, but the GM wants everyone to know that LeBron James isn’t running things in Cleveland.)
TODAY: The Texas men play at Kansas (1 p.m., ESPN). The women host Oklahoma (11 a.m., FSN). And former Longhorns standouts Eric Metcalf (48) and Phil Dawson (41) celebrate birthdays.
TOMORROW: The AFC and NFC championship games are played (Broncos-Patriots at 2:05 on CBS, followed by Panthers-Cardinals at 5:40 on FOX). The Rockets host the Mavericks (2:30, Fox Sports Southwest).
Jan. 23 has a sports history. On this date, Martina Navratilova’s 58-match winning streak was snapped in an Australian Open finals loss to Hana Mandlikova (1987); Bjorn Borg retired from tennis — at the age of 26 (1983); Willie Mays was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1979); and the New York Yankees came up with a revolutionary idea — placing permanent numbers on the backs of uniforms to help fans quickly recognize players (1929).
Last year on Jan. 23, we lost Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks. He was 83.
Today’s sports birthdays: J.T. Barrett (21), Hakeem Olajuwon (53) and Jerry Kramer (80).
Trivia question: It’s a Daily Double. When the Yankees introduced uniform numbers in 1929, who was assigned to wear No. 3 and No. 4 — and why? (Answer is at the end of Breakfast.)
Top of the menu: Texas vs. Kansas.
Earlier this week, ESPN basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla told our own Kirk Bohls that if Texas — which was 11-6 at the time — could win at least nine more games to get to 20, they’d end up making the NCAA Tournament.
That was before Wednesday night’s 56-49 win at No. 6 West Virginia in Morgantown. Today, the Longhorns visit historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Since 1994, the Jayhawks are 297-15 there, a .952 winning percentage. It’s the last chance for Texas’ seniors to experience what it’s like to win at the Phog, our own Brian Davis wrote in his advance. The Longhorns’ last won there in 2011.
“They’ve really got to protect their home court, and they’ve got to win a road game,” Fraschilla said of Texas. “They’re capable of shocking someone somewhere.”
Texas (12-6 overall, 4-2 in the Big 12) has 12 games left after today, home matchups against TCU, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas and road games at Baylor, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Then there’s the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, which begins on March 9.
Since 2011, the series has been controlled by Kansas, which is 7-2 against Texas in regular-season home-and-home matchups. Texas plays Kansas much closer at the Erwin Center, where the Jayhawks’ margin of victory has been 7 points, than in Lawrence (18).
Here’s how the Texas-Kansas regular-season matchups have gone, in that span:
2011: Texas won in Lawrence, 74-63.
2012: Texas was swept, losing 69-66 in Austin and 73-63 in Lawrence.
2013: Texas was swept, losing 64-59 in Austin and 73-47 in Lawrence.
2014: Texas won in Austin, 81-69, and lost in Lawrence, 85-54.
2015: Texas was swept, losing 75-62 in Austin and 69-64 in Lawrence.
Seeing a trend there?
Saturday’s key guys? For Texas, watch Isaiah Taylor. He went 0 for 8 in Morgantown, which can’t happen again. But he did have three assists, and two steals, and was 4 of 4 at the line. And he didn’t have a single turnover. But he’s got the best game résumé against Kansas than any other Longhorn — last year, Taylor led all scorers with 23 points in the game in Austin, and led Texas with 17 points along with eight assists and six rebounds in Lawrence. And in 2014, his freshman season, Taylor had 23 points in Austin. He struggled in Lawrence, though (five points on 1-of-14 shooting, and five assists).
How other Longhorns have fared in past Texas-Kansas games: Demarcus Holland has been hot and cold — in 2015, he had six points, four rebounds and four turnovers in the home game, but then a season-high 15 points in Lawrence. In 2014, he matched a career high with 11 rebounds in Austin, but then had only two points and two rebounds in 21 minutes in Lawrence. Prince Ibeh had four rebounds in eight rebounds at home last year, and had four blocks in Lawrence; in 2014, he had four blocks at home, then matched a season high with eight rebounds in Lawrence. Javan Felix has a bad history vs. KU. In 2015, he had no points, one rebound and one assist in 17 minutes at home, and then no points, four assists and three rebounds in 16 minutes in Lawrence; in 2014, he scored nine points against Kansas at home, but was only 2 of 9 from the field in Lawrence.
And Kansas? Perry Ellis roughed up Texas twice in 2015 — 14 points, five rebounds in Austin and 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in Lawrence. Frank Mason III (12 points, both in Austin and Lawrence), Brannen Greene (14 points in Austin, but only two points in Lawrence) and Wayne Selden, Jr. (21 points in Austin in 2014) also have had success.
So, what else is being written out there about the Longhorns?
Do you care what Bruce Feldman thinks about Texas’ recruiting class? If so, here you go. The Texas men aren’t the only Longhorns basketball team with a big game on Saturday. The women, ranked No. 4, host No. 19 Oklahoma. The Daily Oklahoman had a Q&A with Gioya Carter, who missed 11 games with a groin injury but returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday. Our advance centered on the NCAA’s new four-quarter system for women’s basketball, and how Texas is thriving in it. The Lawrence Journal-World’s advance coverage for the Texas-Kansas men included a look at the big game’s storylines, including the fact that two key Jayhawks recruits — 6-7 wing Josh Jackson and 6-11 forward DeAndre Ayton — will be there, watching. And the J-W’s Tom Keegan wrote about Horns coach Shaka Smart, noting that while Smart’s been on the wishlist of plenty of teams over recent seasons, he’s also never won a conference title.
AROUND THE BIG 12: The Dallas Morning News’ Kevin Sherrington is pretty sure he knows how to fix the ailing Big 12. It all starts with beating better teams, but there’s more to it than just that. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote about TCU’s Trevone Boykin‘s tough path to becoming an NFL quarterback. And the S-T also had a story on men’s hoops coach Trent Johnson being fed up using inexperience as an excuse for the Horned Frogs’ issues. The Waco Tribune-Herald wrote a feature on Baylor point guard Lester Medford. Texas sees him on Feb. 1. Texas Tech has a new volleyball coach — Tony Graystone, formerly of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. And the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal also reported that Red Raiders center Norense Odiase will miss six weeks after breaking a bone in his foot. Oklahoma picked up a couple of commitments on Friday, including four-star receiver Velus Jones, who used to be committed to USC. The Daily Oklahoman also wrote about Oklahoma State guard Jawun Evans, possibly the Cowboys’ next big thing.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES:
Baseball: Texas’ annual Fan Appreciation Day will be will be Feb. 6, before the alumni game. Disch-Falk Field gates will open at 11 a.m. and players and coaches will be on hand for autographs till 2:30. Disch-Falk photographs and schedule posters will be available for signing, but NCAA rules prohibit outside items (i.e. balls, helmets, etc.) from being signed. The alumni game will start at 3:30 p.m. It will be televised by the Longhorn Network. Huston Street and Brandon Belt are expected to play.
Track and field: This weekend, most of Texas’ squad is at the Conference Clash Power Five Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. Co-hosted by Auburn and Tennessee, it’s being billed as the SEC vs. Power Five. On Friday, Katie Ruhala won the 5,000 meters and freshman Meghan Lloyd took third. The men’s medley relay (Alex Rogers, Byron Robinson, Robert Uhr and Brady Turnbull) won, and Nick Phynn was second in the triple jump. Texas’ throwers and pole vaulters, however, will head to Albuquerque for the Cherry & Silver Invitational.
Tennis: Texas is at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event this weekend, at Alabama. The Longhorns face Purdue on Saturday, then either Alabama or Pennsylvania on Sunday.
On Jan. 23, 2002: Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan. He was murdered nine days later.
On Jan. 23, 1986: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted its first class — Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. As hall of fame classes go, that one wasn’t bad at all.
On Jan. 23, 1957: The Wham-O toy company bought the rights to a U.S. inventor’s creation of a flying disc. That later was named the Frisbee.
Trivia answer: When the Yankees assigned uniform numbers to players for the first time in 1929, Babe Ruth was given No. 3 and Lou Gehrig was given No. 4. They represented their batting order position in the lineup.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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