March 21, 2008

Roadtrip: Mullets not enough to slow down Texas

Friday at the Alltel Arena in Little Rock, the Texas Longhorns took the court to a cascade of boos. Less than a week ago, the announcement that Texas was playing in the Little Rock pod was made, a foot was firmly planted in the mouth a couple of days after and an a apology was made to no avail. With or without the comments made by Rick Barnes, Arkansas Razorback fans were laying in wait for the chance to bounce thousands of boos off the aluminum siding of Alltel Arena.

After parking the car and safely securing the vehicle, the walk to the Alltel Arena began. Nice day in a Little Rock and a buzz around the arena with the NCAA regional a little over an hour from the start.

As one closed in on the steps of the arena, they appeared. A few mullets that would make PGA tour golfer Charley Hoffman blush, some hats that appeared as old as the Southwest Conference and some similar pairs of jeans that had seen their better days and many a shirt asking for hog calls or the upside down Horns. We're just talking about a few, but they are the proud Razorback fans.

Upon walking into the arena, it was obvious that there would be a large number of Razorback fans laying in wait. Even the Miami Hurricanes couldn't run from the boo birds. It was a mild boo aimed towards the Hurricanes, so let's call it a warm up.

Shortly after the start of the second half of the Miami vs. St. Mary's game, the Longhorn pit band made an appearance. Quite honestly, their entrance wouldn't have draw my attention, but the first cascade of boos rang down with reactions of laughter from the Longhorn crowd.

The fun had begun.

After the Jack McClinton show concluded in the opener, one that doesn't need to repeat on Sunday, it was time for the entrance of the Longhorns.

A.J Abrams led the way, followed by D.J. Augustin. Loud boos rang out from what had to be 10,000 fans. Texas players got a chuckle as they had the prior day at shoot around, but were clearly focused on the tasks at hand.

The players were expected to hear the ringing boos, but not the pit band. After the players entrance it was time to put the deep hatred to the test with the entrance of Texas pom squad.

Even the most bitter of Razorback fan couldn't boo the ladies and who can blame them as some things are just too impressive to deserve anything, but applause.

Austin Peay took the court shortly after to a standing ovation and thousands of cheers. At that point, this was clearly a match-up of the Longhorns and Arkansas Peay. The Governors cheerleaders began to "Call the Hogs" in a move of brilliance. Bring the hostile crowd together in hopes of ending the favored Longhorns season.

This happened not once, but three times in the minutes leading up to tip-off.

It had all come together, the red and white attire worm by Arkansas fans and the red shirts worm by each and every Governors fan that made the drive from Tennessee.

With less than two minutes before tip off, the villain Barnes made his entrance onto the court with a security guard on each side. You got it, the loudest and angriest boos bounced off of the aluminum siding in the arena. Barnes laughed, walked to half-court to greet Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos, and then both laughed for a couple of minutes after a hand shake.

More boos came after each Longhorn starter was announced. Barnes again drew the loudest reaction.

It's game time.

The crowd is ready and Arkansas Peay err...Austin Peay is ready to become the fifth No.15 seed to pull off the major upset.

The ball is tipped and won by Texas.

Four minutes later it's 9-0 Texas. All that was left to hear were the hundreds of groans.

Game, set, and match.

The only question left to be answered was how much of the Longhorns blow-out victory could be endured by the Arkansas faithful. Judging by the stands emptying by the hundreds, about 10 minutes into the second half was the winning answer.

See you Sunday.


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