Bob­cats set for chal­lenges WAC sched­ule will bring

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By steve Ha­bel amer­i­can-states­man cor­re­spon­dent larry KOLVOORD / amer­i­can-states­man

SaN MaR­cOS — Doug Dava­los has spent the bet­ter part of seven sea­sons piec­ing to­gether com­pet­i­tive bas­ket­ball teams from dis­jointed parts, so he can iden­tify a bit with Texas’ early dif­fi­cul­ties.

But the Longhorns — who host Dava­los’ Texas State team on Satur­day — have it easy com­pared to the Bob­cats. Af­ter three sea­sons of lim­ited schol­ar­ships, play­ers deal­ing with aca­demic prob­lems and dif­fer­ent tal­ent lev­els, Dava­los brings to Austin what might be his best team yet at Texas State.

Still, be­cause of the Bob­cats’ move to the WAC and the tougher sched­ule that came with it, Texas State has won only four of its nine games. One of those losses was to SMU, which is 8-1, and three oth­ers came to peren­nial NCAA tour­na­ment teams Char­lotte, Oral Roberts and Utah.

“If I would have had this team last sea­son, we would have been 8-0 be­fore we played Texas,” Dava­los said. “The sched­ule we had last sea­son was very easy com­pared to the one we have this year, but that’s the price of mov­ing to a dif­fer­ent con­fer­ence and up­ping our ex­pec­ta­tions across the board.”

Dava­los has had mixed re­sults at Texas State, go­ing 84-106 in his six­plus sea­sons. The Bob­cats’ best sea­son un­der him came in 2010-11, when they were 16-16. Texas State was 13-17 last sea­son, in­clud­ing a 34point loss to Texas.

The ante has been upped by Texas State’s move to the WAC, cre­at­ing more name recog­ni­tion but also pro­duc­ing a new set of hur­dles such as travel, sched­ul­ing and re­vised study times for the teams.

“We went from bus­ing to just about ev­ery away game (in the South­land) to fly­ing across the coun­try ev­ery week,” ath­letic di­rec­tor Larry Teis said. “It’s been tough on all our teams be­cause the com­pe­ti­tion we are fac­ing is just bet­ter than what we faced in the past.”

Dava­los, who is in the last year of his con­tract, said his sched­ule was built to be able to give his team the things it needs when the WAC sea­son be­gins, and that he ex­pects the Bob­cats to be com­pet­i­tive. For the most part, they have.

“As a coach, you want your sched­ule to be in­dica­tive of your team’s tal­ent level and the ex­pec­ta­tion of how you team will im­prove as the sea­son pro­gresses,” he said. “I don’t think about what kind of af­fect our sched­ule is go­ing to have on my fu­ture at Texas State — all I can do is get my play­ers ready to play the best I can and do the best in sit­u­a­tions on the court dur­ing the game if they don’t.”

Teis said that, like all the Texas State coaches, Dava­los’ progress with the Texas State pro­gram would be as­sessed af­ter the sea­son.

“The pub­lic only sees the wins and losses,” Teis said. “But we al­ways look past that to how our coaches are build­ing their pro­grams, for how they are work­ing with our play­ers and their aca­demics for what they are do­ing in the com­mu­nity.”

Texas State coach Doug Dava­los’ Bob­cats are 4-5, but most losses have come against good teams.

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