Texas is Ballin’

The state of Texas is generally known for its domination in the sport of football – from the  University of Texas Longhorns, who have been  to the national title game twice in the last five  years, to the Dallas Cowboys, who have long  been dubbed “America’s Team.” From the time  kids are in PeeWee football, the sport is  something that most Texas families are a part of  in one way or another. Although I was not an  athlete during high school, I was a part of the marching band and in a spirit club – high school football was my life. However, this year in Texas, football season was quite a disappointment. While it may seem a bit surprising, it is great to see Texas getting some national recognition for another sport – basketball. Although most of our youth grew up making tackles on the football field rather than shooting hoops on the playground, Texas teams are making an impact right now in the rankings.

The Texas Longhorns are rolling after big wins over Texas A&M, Kansas and most recently, Missouri. The boys will travel to College Station on Monday evening for an 8 pm rematch with the Aggies in the Lone Star Showdown. Texas is currently riding a 6-0 streak in Big XII conference play, their first since the inception of the conference. The last time Texas was 6-0 (in the former Southwest Conference) was the 1989-1990 season. The Longhorns have freshman Tristan Thompson to thank for some of their success – the rookie is leading the team in blocks, is tied for the team lead in rebounds and is second in scoring, steals and double-doubles.

In the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks are enjoying a four-game win streak after the return of power forward, Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs are sitting at third in the Western Conference, behind only the Lakers and the Spurs. The big question remaining for Dallas is how they will adjust to roster changes and injury. Caron Butler is still out with a knee injury and Dallas opted not to sign Sasha Pavlovic after his second 10-day contract expired. Next up for the Mavericks is a home matchup with the Washington Wizards at 7:30 pm at American Airlines Center on Monday night.

Heading south on I-35, the San Antonio Spurs are riding high at the top of the Western Conference, with a record of 40-7. Despite preseason criticism that the team was “too old,” the Spurs are getting it done with the likes of Manu Ginobli, who is averaging 18.8 points per game. Veterans Tony Parker

(leading the team in assists) and Tim Duncan (leading in rebounds) are also a big part of the team’s success. The Spurs are also excited to welcome back their first-round draft pick this week, James Anderson, who has been sidelined the past two months with a stress fracture. Anderson just finished up a conditioning stint with the Austin Toros, in which he contributed a total of 29 points in limited minutes in two games. The Spurs will start their “rodeo road trip” against the Trailblazers on Tuesday, February 1st at 9:00 pm.

Speaking of the Austin Toros, have you made it out to Cedar Park Center to catch a game yet? In case you are unfamiliar with the team, the Toros are the NBA D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs. The team made it all the way to the D-League finals last season, losing only to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the championship game. This season’s squad has a few familiar faces, but as is the case with developmental leagues, there is a great opportunity to see the players of the future. The Toros just finished off a four-game home stand in which they split contests with New Mexico, won over Reno and lost to Utah. They will return home for a Saturday noon matinee game on February 5th after a road game in South Dakota on Thursday.

The Toros recently announced that FOX Sports Southwest will broadcast four games this season, which all can be seen at your neighborhood Third Base. In addition, Third Base has the NBA League Pass, so you can follow your favorite NBA team, whether you root for the Spurs, Mavs, Rockets or a team far away! Finally, catch college basketball action throughout the week on one of our many big screens.