The Texas Longhorns spent February 14th writing a love letter to Kirby Hocutt and the Texas Tech Red Raiders athletic department for the smoking crater known as the Texas Tech basketball program. The 56-41 victory had the feel of an early-season non-conference game with Texas using the opportunity to experiment against a lesser opponent. There were 3-guard lineups, 2-guard lineups, and a 1-guard lineup featuring Isaiah Taylor, Jonathan Holmes, Connor Lammert, Myles Turner, and Cameron Ridley that I'd like to call 'The Tjarks' for how much he loves it when Barnes goes ultra-big. (note: That sound you hear in the distance is Tjarks firing off a Shatner-like 'KHAAAAAAN') There wasn't a ton to take away from this game, so we're going rapid-fire.
- Myles Turner had a great game and ended up with a double-double, notching 25 points & 10 rebounds in 30 minutes. He was easily the MVP of the team last night. The first play of the 2nd half was a nicely-designed alley-oop from Taylor to Turner.
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- Jonathan Holmes returned but wasn't himself, he seemed like he was about 75% back. He wasn't quite as aggressive, didn't force the action at all...he just looked tentative.
- Demarcus Holland earned a long stint in the doghouse after throwing a pass into a triple-team early in the game. He had played 6 minutes in the first 6 minutes of the game, he only played 6 more minutes(all in the 2nd half, I think) in the last 34 minutes of the game. Even the favored son gets yanked from time to time.
- Prince Ibeh's free throws have so much arc on them now that the TV producers are having to adjust their cameras to catch the whole thing. Check it out:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>I'm not kidding, look at this. The 1st FTA the ball LEAVES THE SCREEN. The 2nd shot is like 6 rows further back. <a href="http://t.co/YtnrGqz8Qm">pic.twitter.com/YtnrGqz8Qm</a></p>— El Diablo Blanco (@Bitterwhiteguy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bitterwhiteguy/status/566786112358608896">February 15, 2015</a></blockquote>
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- Texas Tech is a bad basketball team. This isn't a revelation, but the more I watch them the more reasons I see for their problems as a unit. Last night I was struck by how inconsistent their offensive spacing is. When you're playing a zone, you need to keep the wings honest by staying out wide when you're not part of the set plays, and their guys would creep several feet inside the arc consistently. Sometimes they were trying to setup in a weak spot of the zone, but a lot of the times they were just being undisciplined. It amazes me that they managed to beat Iowa State.
- Barnes seems to have added - or deployed more often last night - a 3-2 zone as an alternative to the 2-3 we've seen so often this year. It's hard to say how effective it is on account of the competition, but there's a good chance we'll see more of it going forward...possibly instead of more man-to-man defense.
- It's pretty clear that the book on Texas is 'play zone, let them shoot from the outside all they want'. The team's success the last handful of games this year is probably going to come down to how well they handle the zone because even Tubby is rolling out a zone against them at this point. Yancy continuing to take(and hit) 3s at a solid rate will help Texas significantly in this respect, and it appears that Barnes is giving him the green light to take them.
Texas is back to .500 in conference play with 6 games left to go. 3-3 isn't a bad result given they have games left in Norman, Morgantown, & Lawrence not to mention Baylor & Iowa State visiting Austin. Next up is a Tuesday night game in Norman against an Oklahoma squad that inexplicably dropped a game against Kansas State last night, but has won 5 of their last 6. If Texas can steal a win in Norman, 4-2 becomes significantly more realistic. Tip is 8pm Central on ESPN2.