As the first half was unfolding I felt encouraged by the ball movement, variety of offensive sets, and ball movement on the offense. Aside from too many turnovers for a few minutes I thought the team was going to put it together on the road. If only they could keep track of their guys off the ball...then the game just devolved into one of the worst performances of the season.
Awiggo has some early reactions to the nausea-inducing show put on by Texas over the course of 40 minutes. I don't give the offense too much credit in that game because the pace was quick and a lot of forced attempts had a lot to do with the 18 turnovers that gifted Baylor 27 points but they did shoot 50% as a team and James, Hamilton and Johnson were very efficient in their opportunities and from the free throw line. Avery Bradley has hit a wall on offense. He settles too often now for the midrange jumper and it's not falling. I think he would benefit from just driving to the lane for the layup and potential Free throws where he also has been shooting much better.
The double-post was more effective overall while the high post-low post anti-zone attack has progressed beyond where a team like Baylor can defend it adequately. I'd like to see more high-screen offense with Jordan Hamilton in the future because his passing in that set can really punish the hedging defender.
That said this defense was horrific. Baylor shot 54.5 percent from the field, Quincy Acy was 12-15 and reached 20 on dunks alone. The bears had 23 assists as a team and 10 from Tweety Carter. I suspect the effort and willingness just isn't there consistently away from the supportive, if not particularly noise, Erwin Center crowd.
This team has worked out a lot of the offensive kinks only to be buried in this contest by the defensive effort. We can only hope that they manage to put together some focused efforts on neutral courts in the tournaments. Texas draws Iowa St. on monday and a win earns the chance to go 0-3 vs. Drew's squad on the season. I'm willing to bet they don't give up 90 again though, Barnes will die before he goes for another game plan like this one.
Blueshorn linked an interesting take on open practices over at shaggybevo that had some informative nuggets, you can also find ole ChrisApplewhite making some comments below and suggesting that McCoy was overrated and Gilbert is a golden god. What stands out to me from the main poster's comments is
1). Kheeston Randall playing the 3-tech. He actually seemed like a 3-tech when he first came to UT and his move to NT seemed more an instance of him taking on the needed role than a long-term move. Then he flashed a ton of talent taking on double teams and standing up the middle to the point that I thought he could become a dominant noseguard. Howell is certainly not a 3-tech and it'll be interesting to see if Randall can flash the quickness to take advantage of that spot in the pass-rush. If not Texas should at least be able to free up the linebackers with those 2 in the middle and hopefully manufacture some pressure up the middle from a combination of their efforts.
2). He describes one of the I-formation runs as the zone-stretch. This begs the question of whether Texas is operating the zone game from under center with a fullback or if they are also incorporating more man-blocking runs. I'll seek to answer this question Monday at open practice.
3). We've suspected for some time that Christian Scott could be Mack Brown's personal Kraken waiting to be unleashed (that he couldn't share the field with little Earl may haunt me forever) on the ancient civilizations of the Big 12 landscape but it's possible Kenny Vaccaro might join in to create the most physical backfield since 2005. I'm actively rooting for Gideon's replacement by the headhunter (a common spring storyline). The highlight videos and nickname possibilities from having these two bullets coming down on receivers over the middle are too rich.
ESPN's new Big 12 blogger calls attention to the league's presence in a top 100 players to watch list for 2010. Texas has 2 players on the list (Gilbert and Sacho). Guess which Big 12 squad leads the way with 6 players on the list? That's right, Bob Stoops greatest Oklahoma team to date! We'll see how that O-line treats the visored one this year.
I would think that Aaron Williams, one of the Browns, Scott, or Malcolm Williams might have received some attention but apparently not. This team might fly under the radar a bit like the 2008 team, although they are getting more credit than that bunch did. My highest expectations though are the same as for that squad, a BCS appearance and conference title.