I’m not going to do the comprehensive breakdown I normally do, mainly because this is the worst Texas Tech team I can remember, and I’m barely coherent from all of the meds I’m on fighting the flu.
First and foremost, this win or at least the manner in which we won is impressive considering we’re coming off the most disappointing loss we’ve had this season. As srr50 so aptly put it, last season’s squad would have gotten up big and then allowed Tech to creep back into the game after a few Jordan Hamilton heat checks or J’Covan Brown halftime fisticuffs. Instead, Texas did what good teams do to outmatched squads. We found a weakness and never let up coasting to a thirty point win. On to the random thoughts…
If you’re a fan of good offensive of basketball, the Horns have been a treat for you this season. Did I just type that? Barnes has used his dynamic, albeit small, frontcourt to implement some of the same concepts as the UCLA high post offense. Granted there isn’t a Walton or Alcindor dropping dimes from the high post, but there are some similarities. Barnes likes to lift his face-up 4 and 5 away from the bucket in order to attack smaller two’s and three’s on the low block whether it be with Hamilton in the post or Balbay and Joseph on back cuts. The reason this works is because Johnson is a credible jumpshooter from 15 feet and Thompson is a good enough athlete to set a screen on the perimeter and still have an effect on the offensive glass.
Speaking of Doge Balbay, you can keep him on the floor in this type of offense or any weakside motion offense even though he lacks a credible jumper because he can contribute in other ways. If teams don’t account for Doge in the halfcourt he can still hurt them by screening and cutting. As a screener away from the ball there’s no help available to hedge to the man Doge is screening for. As a cutter, Doge is a good enough athlete and passer to hurt teams when he catches the ball on the move to either finish or dime. Also with teams basically ignoring him, Doge often gets lost, resulting in easy backdoor looks. He couldn’t be this effective in a ball screen intensive offense—see last season.
Tristan Thompson. If there’s a faster 4 or 5 in the country from baseline to baseline I’d love to see him. If Tristan would just stay at Texas one more season, he'll be joined by Myck Kabongo, who’ll be about the fastest baseline to baseline player with the ball in his hands, the Texas offense will add transition on either makes or misses to their attack.
Along those lines on Thompson, please 8 lb. baby Jesus, please make it so no NBA scouts saw Thompson’s behind the back dribble and then dish in the open floor. That’s the sort of crap that will make him one and done.
Jordan Hamilton played one of the most disciplined games he’s played this season. He made his hay going to the rim or attacking with his back to the basket against Tech’s smaller 3’s on the way to 5-10 from the field. Great patience.
Cory Joseph. After watching Cory struggle against the quicker Shabazz Napier and then flourish against Tech’s slower guards, I’m thinking that Kabongo’s arrival next season will do wonders for Cory’s consistency issues. Put the lightning fast Kabongo on the floor to attract the other team’s best on-ball defender and I bet we get the unfettered Cory like we did tonight. Cory’s always been a guy that needs a ball screen to get free, but the ball screen game is ancilliary to what Barnes is doing with the offense this season.
Gary Johnson keeps beating everyone you stick in front of him game in and game out, big or small, short or tall. If he was three inches taller he’d be a lottery pick.
Jai Lucas got to the rim with impunity tonight. Think about that.
J’Covan Brown had a quiet evening but he had 4 dimes and 1 turnover. We’re going to need Brown in conference play as defenses tighten down. It’s strange he didn’t get more minutes.
Tristan Thompson. I love everything about the kid’s game, right down to the burnt orange T-Shirt underneath the jersey. But I’m a sucker for the Georgetown Hoyas circa 1984.