Longhorn Swimming and Diving Dominate, but their Social Effort Doesn’t

The University of Texas at Austin Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team are dominating swim meets, but losing in their social media efforts. Longhorn Women Swimming and Diving team are currently undefeated with wins against Florida, Indiana, Texas A&M, North Carolina State, and North Carolina. Longhorn Men’s Diving swept the 2017 UT Diving Invitational. However, their social media efforts to build their following base, capture attention, and produce audience engagement on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are consistently falling. The Longhorn swim meet wins and swimmer statistics are definitely outweighing their attempt to generate a higher social media fan base. With competition from Texas Football, Basketball, Volleyball, and Soccer teams, it is unfortunate these Olympic Longhorn swimmers are not as recognized and supported compared to other UT athletics.

Longhorn Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving low fan base, support, and recognition is due to their relaxed posting timing and non engaging post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If the social media team did a better job producing interesting content such as clips from swim meets, quotes from swimmers and divers, information on where to purchase student tickets, and excitement for swimming and diving meets as wells as highlighting our UT Olympic and high achieving swimming and diving athletes. UT Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving team is competitive and talented similar to the rest of Longhorn athletics and deserves more recognition. Here are some of the featured members on the Longhorn Swimming and Diving team:

Men’s Swimming and Diving:

Townley Hass—2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist for The United States in 4x200m freestyle relay, 2016 Rio Olympics finalist in 200m freestyle 5th place

Joseph Schooling—2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist for Singapore in 100m butterfly, 2012 London Olympian and 2016 Rio Olympian for Singapore

Jordan Windle—Two-time qualifier for the FINA World Championships

Women’s Swimming and Diving:

Meghan O’Brien—2016 and 2017 NCAA Championship qualifier, 2016 and 2017 USA Diving National Championships qualifier

Joanna Evans—represented The Bahamas at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Allison Gibson—2017 NCAA World Champion in 1-meter diving

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The Beard for MVP?

The 2016-2017 MVP race was definitely a remarkable one as Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the season, Lebron showed us why he’s the best player in the NBA, and James Harden shaped into what we would consider a triple threat, a real Nash 2.0. Unfortunately, Harden came in second for this race, as Westbrook took the title of MVP. But did this slim margin fuel Harden?

The 2017-2018 season has started off to an amazing start for the Houston Rockets, as Harden has led them to 1st in the Western Conference, majority without his co-star Chris Paul, and this success has led him to be considered as an early front runner for the 2017-2018 MVP award.

According to the Washington Post’s Poll, James Harden is leading the voting by a large margin over Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, and etc. Screen Shot 2017-12-06 at 3.51.04 PM

This poll, clearly shows that Harden is the fan favorite, and at the pace he is playing at, there looks to be no stopping him. He is currently averaging a career high of 31.7 points per game, on pace to being selected to his 6th All-Star Game, and is also on pace to winning the Offensive Player of the Year.

Harden has fallen short of the MVP twice in his career, the overall question is: third times the charm?

 

 

 

Texas vs. Mizzou in the Texas Bowl

The Texas Longhorns will meet the Missouri Tigers in the Texas Bowl on December 27, 2017. The 8:00 pm game will be played at NRG stadium in Houston, TX. This matchup is interesting because it is the first time Texas will face Missouri since Missouri left the Big 12 conference. Missouri joined the SEC in July of 2012.

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Missouri had a rocky start to the season with a record of 1 – 5 through the first 6 games. The team had an incredible turnaround, and has won the last 6 games to finish 7 – 5 for the year. Missouri has not won a game against a top 25 ranked team all year, and the losses to ranked teams were by a large margin. It will be interesting to see if Missouri can keep the momentum rolling against the up-and-down Longhorn team.

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Texas finished the year with a 6-6 record. The first game loss against Maryland came as a surprise to the players and coaches. The defense stepped up their game for the rest of the season. Texas had close losses against multiple ranked opponents, including: USC (ranked 4), Oklahoma (ranked 12), and Oklahoma State (ranked 10). Texas had one win against a top 25 ranked team. Texas beat West Virginia, ranked 25, 28 -14. The offense struggled with injuries and poor quarterback play. Texas is looking to gain momentum for next year with a bowl win this December.

The Texas bowl gives an interesting matchup between the SEC and Big 12 schools. Conference bragging rights are on the line. Missouri has already locked up a winning season, while Texas is trying to earn a winning record for the first time since Mack Brown led the team to an 8 – 5 record in 2013. Let the bowl mania begin!

 

 

Christian Pulisic, Remember The Name

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Have you ever heard of Christian Pulisic? Probably not, and your likely going to have to wait a few more years until you hear his name again.

Unfortunately for Pulisic, Team USA and the United States, on October 10th, 2017 Team USA lost their World Cup qualifier game to Trinidad and Tobago. Team USA needed to tie or win the game to qualify for the World Cup and they came up short 2 – 1. This loss was not only devastating to Team USA because it is the first time the team has not made the World Cup since 1986, but also the team is not going to be able to showcase their new and youngest star Christian Pulisic.

Christian Pulisic 19, was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania and was raised by his mother and father who were both collegiate soccer players at George Mason University. Pulisic quickly excelled through youth programs, and at age 16 was signed to Borussia Dortmund’s U17 Team. After a few months, he was moved up to the U19 team and then promoted to the first team, where he has been nothing short of impressive.

The 2018 World Cup in Brazil was going to be the perfect opportunity for Team USA to reveal their new superstar and market him to all of their fans. This tragic and unexpected loss to Trinidad and Tobago will hinder Pulisic’s fame in the USA, however if he continues to play and impress the way he has been, he will likely become an all-star in the UEFA Champions League. Pulisic is still young and will be able to play for many years to come but missing the biggest soccer event in the world will hide him from the spotlight amongst US soccer fans.

 

The duo that was not supposed to work

The Houston Rockets are leading the way in the Western conference right now and big part of that is due to the success of the new superstar duo of Chris Paul and James Harden. With these two at the helm the Rockets offense has become the scariest in the league. The funny thing about this is that things were not predicted to go this way.

When the trade first happened most analysts predicted that the combo would not work because neither Harden or Paul could share the basketball with each other but Coach Mike D’Antoni figured out a solution to the problem. It was a simple idea Put Harden and Paul on the court at different times. Harden and James have only been on the court a total of 18 minutes per game but it has worked perfectly. The team is better than last year and James Harden is getting the much needed help he needs to lead this team to a the championship that the team desires.

The Rockets are also being boosted by the fact that another trio of players was supposed to help the Oklahoma Thunder be a competitor has sputtered out of the gate. This is the trio of Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Russel Westbrook. This duo will be one to watch for the rest of the season as the playoffs get closer.James harden chris paul

 

Dallas Mavericks: Looking Down The Pipe

After suffering a few difficult loses, the Dallas Mavericks look to rebound their season by leaning on the talent of younger players. It is well known that Dirk and the other veterans have been the backbone of this organization for a while now, but sadly the Mavericks are slowing down. However, after acquiring some new young talent things look promising for Dallas if the new young guys can start playing better as a team.

The Mavericks need to combine their young speed with the knowledge and discipline of the older players. In fact, head coach Rick Carlisle was recently quoted after Monday’s disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs saying, “balance is a very important thing, but it’s all a little bit pointless to me if the result isn’t where you need it to be.” I agree with coach Rick, the Mavericks need to do everything they can to produce flat out results and win games. If the older guys aren’t getting the job done, then its time to lean on the younger guys. With that being said, the Mavericks will look to play faster offense as the season progresses. Given the talent of the younger players, the Mavs should seek to out condition their opponents by playing fast paced aggressive basketball. It is to no one’s surprise that the formulated play calling offense hasn’t been extraordinarily productive given the players lack of time spent playing with one another before this season. Dallas Mavericks writers do a splendid job of breaking down the offense by position in their article below.

https://www.mavs.com/faster-better-mavericks-offense/

All things aside, the Mavs have great coaches and an extraordinary front office. If they can work together more cohesively this season, their should be no doubt that we could easily see them in the post season and from there, who knows what can happen. However, if Dallas has any realistic chance of bringing back the trophy to their city, they will need to defeat the powerhouse Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. Both of which are equipped with game changing players that have the ability to take over at any moment. This is one factor that the Mavs unfortunately lack, but as they say, “teamwork makes the dream work.” Their is no substitute for cohesive team oriented basketball and thats precisely what the Mavericks will need to establish if they have any chance at winning it all.

 

KD in 2017

2017 has been a huge year for Kevin Durant. He won a championship with his new team, secured a contract extension in the offseason, and was just named GQ’s Champion of the Year. So far for the 2017-2018 season KD is averaging 25 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Being on a team with stacked players has hurt his overall numbers but Kevin brings a selfless attitude to the court and so he is able to fit perfectly on the Warriors. The Warriors are off to a great start and are second only to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference. Seeking a 4th straight title run this Warriors team still has not reached their potential during this regular season.

Durant has also been in the news for things off of the court. He recently was in a social media scandal for posting back at critics with fake twitter accounts. He was caught doing this when he forgot to switch accounts and tweeted from the real Kevin Durant account. This was very embarrassing for him and his teammates as Kevin has always said that he doesn’t ever listen to his criticizers. Kevin apologized for the incident and stated, “I played a little too much, and that really hurt me. To know that i affected Billy Donovan and the thunder- like i love those people and I don’t never want to hurt them”. He also told USA Today that he hadn’t slept in two days and two nights and he couldn’t eat because he was so mad at himself. Kevin obviously took this very seriously and is sorry for his actions and the implications that have occurred.

Kevin hopes to move past this with his teammates and secure another championship while locking up the Number 1 seed in the Western Conference. This will be tough though because anything can happen and injuries could play a major role. All of this said, the Warriors are loaded and are the clear favorites to go back-to-back.

Maybe They’ll Go to…Austin?

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Chants of “Save Our Crew” rang out boisterously during the first ten minutes of a match between Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew. On a frosty November night in Columbus, over 21 thousand people lit up Mapfre Stadium at the start of a historic Trillium Cup encounter. The Crew are facing their ‘rival’ in an Eastern Conference Final, yet this playoff series for the ages seemingly is taking a backseat to another battle off the field.

One question reigns supreme over the rest: where did it all go wrong for the Crew? Columbus was the site of the first soccer-specific stadium built for an MLS team all the way back in 1999. The Crew have had a playoff culture about them for many years now, with the franchise going as far as winning the MLS Cup in 2008. On top of that, Mapfre Stadium has become a fortress for the United States Men’s National Team, the famous site of the “Dos A Cero” scoreline in 2013. So, why are the Crew considering a move away from the original soccer city of the United States?

SI initially broke the Columbus to Austin rumors last month. Columbus’s loss will be Austin’s gain as the Crew are considering a move to Austin by 2019. If this move is approved by all the involved parties, the Crew would become Austin’s first ever professional sports franchise. How did this move even become a possibility? A common doctrine of life is the fact that being the first doesn’t necessarily mean being the best in the long-term. Although the Crew had the first stadium built for a club in the MLS, their stadium (and its location) have become outdated in the last decade, thus prompting Crew owner Anthony Precourt to demand the construction of a downtown stadium in Columbus.  On top of that, the Crew’s most attended season is still the inaugural season of the MLS (1996). With city officials getting cold feet about his downtown stadium proposal, Precourt is likely going to take his assets to Austin.

After five years of increasing attendance figures for the Crew, 2017 average attendance for the team experienced a near ten percent dropoff from its 2016 figure (from an average of 17125 in 2016 to an average of 15439 in 2017). Overall, the Crew had the 3rd-lowest average attendance this season in the MLS (only the Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas had worse attendance figures this year).  Despite these possibly glaring figures, Crew fans have come out in droves this postseason, starting up the hashtag #SaveTheCrew across various social media platforms. Surely this will be enough to keep the team in town, right? Not quite. Toronto FC and USMNT captain Michael Bradley bluntly stated the Crew have not kept pace with the rest of the MLS.  

Finally, another question arises: how would Austin receive a professional soccer club? The “MLS2ATX” mls2atxcampaign has already kickstarted; the Austin City Council also unanimously approved a play that will see city officials start to look for potential locations the Crew can call home in Austin. Only time would/will tell how a city immersed in the other football like Austin would take to MLS.

What does this all mean for American soccer? Austin and Columbus are similar TV markets (#39 and #32 respectively), so it’s not as if moving the team to Austin will be a huge step up in market exposure.  Is this a move emblematic of a shifting of the guard in MLS as expansion sides like Atlanta, Toronto, and New York City FC dominate the attendance charts? Is this all a bluff by Precourt to get the Crew to move to a downtown Columbus location? Or is this a move that shows the standards for American soccer have already increased from minimalist expectations only a decade? I know one thing that’s certain: the Crew fanbase won’t go down without a proper fight to save their dented ship.

JJ Watt: Houston Hero

WATT1JJ Watt has played for the Houston Texans for his entire seven-year career in the NFL. He has quickly established himself as one of the league’s best on and off the field. He has become the face of the Houston Texans for his incredible playing but also his charitable work. This year Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, the worst hurricane to hit the Gulf of Mexico since Katrina and the worst to ever hit Texas. JJ Watt immediately stepped up to the task of fundraising for relief efforts and did something incredible.

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Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas on August 25th. On August 26th, the outer band of the storm began to pummel Houston with heavy rains, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes. The storm hovered over Houston for five days, dropping FIFTY inches of rain in some areas of the city and surrounding areas. Governor Greg Abbott called for over 30 counties along the coast to evacuate but not everybody was able to leave their homes. The country watched the heroics of brave everyday people brave the storm and take to their boats or trucks to save those caught in their homes.

Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 1.43.26 PMOn August 27th, the day after Harvey hit Houston, JJ Watt took to Twitter to start fundraising efforts for his city which was at the time being pummeled by the massive storm. Watt was evacuated to Dallas before the storm hit. He began a donation drive with the goal being $200,000. He kicked things off with a $100,000 donation personally. He reached the $200,000 goal in two hours. By the end of the day August 29th, the drive had reached $4.5 million. Athletes, celebrities, and even rival teams were donating huge sums of money. On August 30th, Ellen Degeneres announced on her show that she would be donating a million dollars. The drive nearly doubled that day alone. The drive kept reaching new heights. Every day, Watt took to Twitter to keep the donations coming and thanking the extremely generous people and organizations contributing to the relief effort. Watt eventually closed the donation drive to begin to focus the money towards the relief effort. By the end, his fundraising drive had raised $37 million! That is a huge step up from the original $200,000 goal. JJ Watt will forever be remembered for his efforts to help rebuild the city of Houston.

What’s a Maverick to do?

1200px-Dallas_Mavericks_logo.svgThe Dallas Mavericks now have the second highest cap space available in the NBA at $12.5 million.[1] This creates a fair amount of options for the team to increase their winning in the 2017-2018 season which stands at 5-16. The question now lies in what Mark Cuban decides to with the remaining salary allowance and the three players (Dorian Finney-Smith-power forward (r), Devin Harris-shooting guard/point guard (r), and Jeff Withey-center (r)) who are all on partial guarantees for the season.[2] Besides these few, there are 22 other players in the league which are currently pending their full season guarantee. This is not including any other free agents available, five of which will be from the Mavericks trade exemptions following the trade deadline. With a cutoff date of February 8th for the NBA trade, this gives them eight games between then and the playoff eligibility time.
The Mavericks have been working toward reforming their team since their backbone consists of one of the oldest age-averaging teams in the NBA. Given the nine new players added this season far exceeding the three that they lost, is Cuban going to simply allow these players to adjust to their new surroundings?[3] This may be the best method to abide by. With the 2017 game record not looking the good thus far, the push to qualify for playoffs with the newly adjusting team seems like a bit high of an expectation. Between the salary leniency and the option to either resign or guarantee the eight pending Mavericks, focusing on next season to spend their remaining salary allowance would be most beneficial. Although this isn’t the greatest news for the Mavericks and their fans, this may present a lot to look forward to for the team in the future.

2017-18 Dallas Mavericks Media Day

 

[1] “NBA Team Salary Cap Tracker” < http://www.spotrac.com/nba/cap/&gt;.
[2] “Dallas Mavericks Team Salary” < http://www.basketballinsiders.com/dallas-mavericks-team-salary/&gt;.
[3] “2017-2018 Dallas Mavericks Preview:” http://uproxx.com/dimemag/dallas-mavericks-season-preview-nba-2017-2018/&gt;.

A New Team Rises

res.cloudinary.com20171110_Texas_NWSt_923_h-42a286a5f6c2b07d4186d4728bcee5cb4a5fd105The University of Texas has always been known as a football school. But several sports teams are making their rise to fame proving they belong on this campus. One of those teams are the men’s basketball team.

Head coach Shaka Smart is in his third season with the team and we have already seen some great additions he’s brought to the team this year. Last year he lead his team to a losing season. The Longhorns finished with a 11-22 record overall and were win less on the road! Thankfully Smart has be able to turn things around this season with the help of two power house athletes the crowds are hyped for.

Freshman power forward, Mo Bamba, is one of these athlete. USATSI_104345481The seven foot athlete has dunked his way into the hearts of students across campus as he seems to be the focal point of the season. Bamba has played in only four games but still has some of the highest game averages on the team. He averages 27 minutes of play time, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks and 10 points per game.

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However, Mo Bamba isn’t the only player dribbling his way to help this winning team. Tulane transfer, Dylan Osetkowski, has been a driving force on the court and the numbers prove it. The junior forward has played in all five games this season so far and averages 30 minutes of play time, 8 rebounds and 12 points per game.

These two athletes have meshed well and have helped a limping team stand tall with pride again. The Longhorns are currently first in the Big 12 with a 4-2 record. Although the season has just begun, the Longhorns already look like a new team who is ready to fight to the end. They already have the fans on their side but only time will tell how this rising team will fair by the end of this long season.