How about them unranked UConn Huskies? Who knew we would make them look like the 2009 Huskies?
Instead of rehashing the horseshit we saw take place in Storrs, let us look at what Texas does well and how we can emphasize those positives down the stretch.
Man Pressure Defense
Our help rotations are Henry James post national championship/So Cal hooker apocalypse night ugly right now. Hot Garbage. But, we can still get out and pressure the basketball for stretches with the correct personnel in the game. Dogus and Bradley need lots of court time together to pressure and create offense off of our defense. Right now, I would be playing a big lineup with Gary Johnson at the three because he is probably our third best pressure defender. Whither, Varez Ward? That injury was a major blow to our depth defensively and our testicles offensively.
When we have our pressure defense in there, we need to extend full court and make teams really work to get in their offense. Full court can be as effective hiding Dexter and Damion's man-to-man deficiencies for the first 10-15 seconds of the shot clock as a 2-3 zone would be. There are much more basketball intelligent pundits than I screaming for the 2-3 (like Gerry Hamilton and Matt Cumro over at Inside Texas), but I don't think limiting our aggressiveness is what this team needs.
Run Our Offense Through Damion James
Really? Did I just type that? In both of our losses we went long stretches without Damion touching the ball. We played just as poorly against A&M, yet Damion got lots of touches and torched the Aggies. Right now, Damion is the only guy we have getting to the bucket and finishing with consistency. His decision making this year has been above average. He can get his jump shot off against any college three or four we are likely to face. He is our best player. We need to run some sets designed to get him involved when we need a tough bucket.
I should be carping about off the ball motion on offense and working the high post with Gary and Damion, but we haven't ever had good motion on offense and evidently the high low graduated with Chris Owens. We have had good personnel to run it for several years, but we don't, so I am not getting my hopes up now.
More Offensive Ideas
Wait, there are ideas more offensive than running the game through Damion? Evidently, there are. The obvious adjustment is to get Justin Mason off the floor. He really has played pretty well, but he is giving Dexter the death of a thousand cuts. We ain't winning anything in March without the big fella.
One of our glaring offensive weaknesses is spacing. These guys have no concept of passing triangles or any other nuance that gives the floor passing and driving lanes. My salve for this idiocy is more four out one in offensive sets. That will open the lane some for the dribble drive, and let guys like Damion, Gary, Jordan , and Avery crash the backside glass. In our wins, offensive rebounding has been a huge positive, and we need to emphasize it in the absence of an offensive system.
The problem with four guys on the perimeter is that it limits motion other than back door cuts. Barnes' Victorian prudishness prohibits any kind of backdoor offensive action, so I don't think we take advantage of this if we utilize a four out offense.
I think the four out offense also works well with a big lineup that features Damion or Gary at the three. It will make us a better rebounding team offensively and defensively. I also think that we would be better off with Gary Johnson pressuring the other teams three defensively as I said above. Obviously, Gary is not ready to be shooting threes and dribble driving against teams third guards, but I think the pluses outweigh the minuses there.
Unfortunately, that is all I really have. Our offensive woes are endemic to the way we coach offense. I don't think this will change any time soon.
I wouldn't mind seeing Texas in the 2-3 after applying at least token full court pressure to eat some shot clock. A full shot clock for a well coached team against our 2-3 seems like a recipe for disaster.
The things we do poorly in man (losing guys in motion away from the ball, over rotating, under rotating, etc.) don't translate into good 2-3 zone defense to me.