The Alcorn State Braves may be the worst team the Texas Longhorns play all year--the Braves are ranked a lowly 318th in KenPom. Nevertheless, it was an impressive, thorough 85-53 victory. A few scattershot thoughts:
- What an amazingly balanced win. No Longhorn played more than 22 minutes, took more than 8 shots, or scored more than 12 points. 24 of the 32 field goals made were assisted. Twelve Horns scored, including benchwarmer Ryan McClurg. Did you see the scholarship players go crazy on the bench after McClurg's putback? How do you spell chemistry?
- Best stat of the night: Texas shot 12-25 (48%) from distance. In the super-small sample size of a season so far, Isaiah Taylor is 4-6 and Demarcus Holland is 2-2. Money. Much needed if Texas wants to contend for a Big 12 title.
- Worst stat of the night: Texas shot 9-18 (50%) from the charity stripe. Holland (3-6) and Prince Ibeh (0-4) were the worst offenders. Holland's shot, in particular, concerned me. He'll almost certainly be on the court at the end of close games to play lock down D. If he's a liability from the line, teams will zero in on him on inbounds plays.
- I love that Texas' Big 3 (Taylor, Jonathan Holmes, and Cameron Ridley) took just 18 shots, hitting 11, for 26 points. Expect more minutes and more scoring this Thursday.
- I may have to recalibrate expectations on Ibeh. He led the way with 22 minutes played, which was partly a function of Barnes not deploying Ridley in a second-half blowout. Still, Ibeh finally looks like he is playing with purpose and recognition. Barnes also really appears to like comboing Ibeh with Myles Turner and Ridley with Connor Lammert. I don't disagree with the rotations.
- Myles Turner. My goodness. After self-imposed foul trouble, Turner looked like he would heed my warnings of regression to the "raw big man" mean. Instead, he put up this stout stat line: 10 points, 7 boards, 6 blocks. On D, he looked like the second-coming of with his ability to tarantulaize opponents from the weakside.
- Jordan Barnett is getting run early. He looks unafraid to shoot, but he needs to use his size advantage better. Taking 5 of 7 FG attempts from beyond the arc is suboptimal.
- Rick Barnes kept the lineup experimentation going, particularly in the second-half. At one point, he put Barnett at the 2 with three forwards flanking the post. Barnes also utilized what looked like a 1-2-2 zone with Connor Lammert defending the top of the key.
The first true test of the season comes this Thursday, as Texas takes on the Iowa Hawkeyes at Madison Square Garden. Hook 'em.