Sta­dium plan has UT set to re­join top tier

Project in DKR’s south end zone part of $140 mil­lion in im­prove­ments.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Cedric Golden

Even Godzil­la­tron has a shelf life. The re­al­ity hit home last week with the rev­e­la­tion that Texas is plan­ning to ex­pand the south end zone of Royal-Memo­rial Sta­dium as part of a $140 mil­lion project that’s re­port­edly pro­jected for com­ple­tion by the sum­mer of 2021.

The mas­sive score­board cost the univer­sity $8 mil­lion when it was con­structed in 2006. There will be an­other Godzil­la­tron but the ques­tion is where? The guess here is it will likely be built some­where where it won’t block the view of Tom Herman and his staffff from their brand new of­fif­fices, which will also be part of the project. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the long-range goal is to make DKR a mas­sive bowl, pre­sum­ably sim­i­lar in scope to Michi­gan’s Big House, which holds over 107,000.

It’s just the lat­est ex­am­ple of the mas­sive amount of rev­enue cre­ated by these ma­jor col­lege pro­grams and their will­ing­ness to spend those high rev­enue dol­lars as fast as they come in. Noth­ing wrong with that be­cause it’s what’s needed to win ma­jor recruiting bat­tles on a na­tional level. Herman has al­ready proven him­self to be a ca­pa­ble recruiter and with ath­letic di­rec­tor Chris Del Conte fol­low­ing the DeLoss

Dodds play­book to a T — spend, spend, spend, then spend some more — the Horns will re-enter top­tier sta­tus when it comes to the area of ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties.

Herman and Del Conte un­der­stand the recruiting mantra: 17-year-old boys love shiny new things and fans like state-of-the-art sta­di­ums.

And a few more wins won’t hurt.

Af­ter tak­ing two of three games at Okla

homa, Texas base­ball is in the mid­dle of its nicest stretch in years and coach David Pierce has a real find in red­shirt fresh­man des­ig­nated hit­ter Zach Zu­bia, who just earned con­sec­u­tive Big 12 new­comer of the week hon­ors.

Zu­bia is swing­ing some heavy lum­ber with eight homers, in­clud­ing a Satur­day blast to help spur a late Texas come­back in the se­ries clincher in Nor­man.

Don’t look now, but the Horns are 11-4 just past the mid­way point of con­fer­ence play. Texas has al­ready equalled its league win to­tal from last sea­son and it took only 14 games to do it. The Horns didn’t win their 11th Big 12 game un­til the very last day of the 2017 reg­u­lar sea­son.

Texas is 4-1 in con­fer­ence se­ries, in­clud­ing a sweep of Kansas. Last sea­son, the Horns started league play with three straight home losses to Texas Tech and never found any real mo­men­tum.

It’s a dif­fer­ent groove in 2018. Augie would be proud.

I don’t mind look­ing ahead to the sec­ond round of the NBA play

offs and if things go as ex­pected, we could have a real barn­burner be­tween Hous­ton and Ok­la­homa City in the West­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals.

Yes, I picked the Rock­ets to win it all but some- thing didn’t feel right about Sun­day night’s 104101 Game 1 win over the Min­ne­sota Tim­ber­wolves. James Har­den was un­stop­pable with 44 points, but the Rock­ets never re­ally put the of­fen­sively chal­lenged Wolves away. In a po­ten­tial matchup against OKC and the hu­man per­pet­ual mo­tion ma­chine Rus­sell West­brook and the re­ju­ve­nated Paul Ge­orge, it could just come down to a 3-point shoot­ing con­test, though I’ll have an eye on the Steven Adams-Clint Capela matchup un­derneath.

I’m rolling with Hous­ton ei­ther way, but this won’t be a cake­walk. It’s the play­offs, af­ter all.

Did Kirk Bohls and yours truly re­ally pick the Cleve­land Cava­liers to make it to the Fi­nals in our play­off pre­dic­tions?

We should have checked with Vic­tor Oladipo first.

LeBron James and Co. looked over­whelmed in their first-round open­ing loss to the In­di­ana Pac­ers and Oladipo, the star guard who said his team felt slighted by Cavs owner Dan Gil­bert, who in­di­cated the Pac­ers got the short end of the stick when they traded dis­grun­tled all-star Paul Ge­orge to Ok­la­homa City and brought in Oladipo and Do­man­tas Sabo­nis.

“You could say it added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo told re­porters af­ter the game. “But that was so long ago..”

Oladipo has pro­vided all the an­swers in his first sea­son in Indy. The ob­vi­ous choice for the league’s Most Im­proved Player, he ripped Cleve­land in the opener with 32 points, six re­bounds and four as­sists. The for­mer In­di­ana Hoosier was nails dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son with ca­reer-high av­er­ages in points (23.1), as­sists (4.2), and re­bounds (5.2). He also led the league in steals.

NICK WAG­NER / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Texas red­shirt fresh­man DH Zach Zu­bia has eight home runs and con­sec­u­tive Big 12 new­comer of the week awards.

RON­ALD CORTES / GETTY IMAGES

Hous­ton’s James Har­den (cen­ter) and Clint Capela could be look­ing at a tough sec­ond-round play­off se­ries against Ok­la­homa City.

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