UT Volleyball Ignores Patrick Ewing, Thrives

Texas begins their 2010 title quest

Destinee Hooker
Destinee Hooker (Photo courtesy of UT)

Some theories are foolproof, like the theory of relativity. I have no interest with that. I prefer theories that need to be tested, analyzed, and retweaked. More preferably, I prefer theories that focus on sports, and not physics or astronomy. That's why I'm thankful for the Ewing Theory.

In 2001, Simmons introduced to the world “The Ewing Theory,” a concept created by a buddy of his that suggests a team will perform better as soon as their alpha-athlete leaves the team. The full explanation with examples can be found here


The theory has always been fun to tinker with and imagine certain teams proving the Ewing Theory to be legit. Most recently, as a Husker fan, I'm picturing the Nebraska defense shutting down Landry Jones in the Big XII championship game more dominantly than Ndamukong Suh's blackshirts did last year versus Colt McCoy. The only letdown to this will be that Husker fans won't be able to yell "Suuhhhhh" every time Jones goes down. I guess the Ewing Theory would work if the Huskers were the winners after 60 minutes, and not 59:59.

Living in Austin, the interesting thing about the Ewing Theory is that Texas fans chose to completely ignore the phenomenon and paid the price. Texas football had just lost Colt McCoy, the NCAA's all-time leader in wins (45) and were about to start Garrett Gilbert, a man whose college experience can be described as "getting pummeled by Alabama." Rule No. 2 of the Ewing Theory demands that everyone immediately writes off the team for the following season. But what happened at the beginning of this season? Texas was preranked No. 5 in the country and Longhorn fans were smelling a national title. If anything, their 5-7 record this year was the reverse Ewing Theory, or what I like to call the "What you should have expected … theory."

Sometimes it's okay to ignore the Ewing Theory, like Texas' volleyball program did after they lost Destinee Hooker, one of UT's all-time greats. After she graduated in 2009, the 2010 team was still ranked No. 3 in the preaseaon – no one wrote them off – and as they head into the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night, they come in as the No. 9 seed riding a 15-match win streak. The difference with them is that they replaced her with Juliann Faucette, the eventual 2010 Big XII player of the year. Essentially, instead of rebuilding like the football program had to do, the volleyball program simply reloaded.

It'll be interesting to see how the Ewing Theory plays out next year with Faucette gone. The volleyball program has been a model of consistency over the past few years, but then again so was the UT football program.

Until then, let's just enjoy the ride that the volleyball team has been on (and forget that this football season ever happened). They've been playing great and should cruise through the first two rounds on their way to regionals (which will also be hosted in Austin).

And hey, if Juliann Faucette goes down with an injury in either tonight's or tomorrow's game, don't worry. You'll have Patrick Ewing on your side.

NCAA first round: American vs. UCLA: Fri., Dec. 3, 4:30pm. Texas vs. UTSA: Fri., Dec. 3, 6:30pm (or 30 minutes after game one). Second round: Sat., Dec. 4, 6:30pm. Gregory Gym, 2101 Speedway. All-session passes: $20 reserved; $12 adult general admission; $6 UT student/youth. Single-session tickets (on sale Friday, 9am): $10 reserved; $7 general admission; $5 UT student/youth.

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