The Texas Longhorns lost to the Michigan Wolverines 59-52, and they’re frankly lucky it was that close because they couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn for the vast majority of the game. Texas kept the game close in the first half with good defense, but the lid came off the basket for Michigan and the same never really happened for Texas. This game wasn’t lost at the three-point line so much as at the rim, where Texas has been one of the best teams in the nation so far this season. The number of point-blank misses outweighed the bad perimeter shot selection from Kerwin Roach II, Jericho Sims (what the everloving F**********CK was that three), and a couple of others. Put another way: Texas shooting 25% from three isn’t that far outside the norm for the season (hooray?) but their repeated misses from inside ten feet were well outside the norm. It wasn’t so much that Michigan was affecting their shots as Texas just didn’t convert the normally-easy looks.
The Game Is Over
Somehow a two-hour game felt like it took five hours. Maybe it was the cavalcade of missed shots, maybe it was the cavalcade of missed shots, or maybe it was the cavalcade of missed shots, I can’t quite put my finger on why this game took longer than John Calipari’s recruiting pitches. We might never know.
We’re One Game Closer to Andrew Jones Returning
This seems self-explanatory.
That One Jericho Sims Dunk
Related: I need a better way to capture in-game footage than my cell phone.
In a game where not nearly enough Longhorns showed decisiveness and aggression, Young was going after Michigan every time he was on the court. Roach, Coleman, Davis, and Jase Febres (we’ll get to him) didn’t seem to know how to consistently drive the lane for large portions of the game, but Young was pushing the ball harder than most tonight. He seems to have usurped Febres as the next guard off the bench for the time being, at least until Jones returns and reshuffles things. For a guy not many of us expected much out of, Young has surprised.
The Mixed Bag
Bamba is such a defensive force that it’s hard to put him in the ‘bad’ category. Look at this sequence:
You want to see @mobamba11's impact on a game? It's not just the block at the end, a driving guard passes out to the perimeter rather than take him on. He affects so much in a single play. #hookem pic.twitter.com/DB61GbB9bh— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ 1461 (@Bitterwhiteguy) December 13, 2017
He’s a one-man defensive unit; a huge chunk of Texas’ defensive success is due to guards regularly seeing him in the lane and passing back out to the perimeter. There are probably 3-4 drives per game that happen if James Banks, Jericho Sims, or any other big is in the game instead of Bamba.
Having said that, he’s still getting pushed too far away from the basket by stronger players on a regular basis. Bamba seems interested in hanging out at the three-point line a bit too much for my taste, and he doesn’t roll hard enough on the PnR to justify his screens for the guards. I only had a problem with one of his three perimeter attempts, but that still means I’m not liking his shot selection 1⁄3 of the time behind the arc.
Only one turnover on the night is good, but if Texas is going to reach its apex he needs to shoot the ball more......at the rim. 1-5 from three is bad (with the caveat that a couple of those were in the last couple of minutes when Texas was desperate) but more concerning is that Coleman attempted more shots from three than two. Coleman can finish at the rim, but he’s deferring. As much as we all hailed the arrival of a pass-first point guard, this is part of the adjustment period of a freshman who defaults to creating for others rather than himself. Coleman needs to get at least a few buckets of his own to keep defenses honest, and if he’s going to be pass-first, then he needs to have more than two assists.
The Cavalcade of Missed Shots
Texas shot 43% from two, which is a dozen points lower than normal. Texas hitting 55% from two is six more points on the scoreboard, and the last four minutes potentially plays out much differently. Well, at least until Dylan Osetkowski throws another People’s Elbow at a defender in the paint. He’s lucky as hell not to get hit with a flagrant on that thing; he really is Texas’ version of Eduardo Najera.
That guy is more lost than Scipio Tex wandering through a non-vegan Starbucks. I hope he (Febres, not Paul, who can drink juice from the supple breasts of a cow like the rest of us) figures it out because Texas needs shooters on the court in the worst way, but right now he doesn’t look ready at all.
Texas had six assists, which was an assist on 31% of their made shots. That number is damning with faint praise, as it shows not only that Texas didn’t open up scoring by passing that often and also they made so few shots that it wasn’t worse. I could’ve put offensive rebounding here as well, which is partly due to the aforementioned Bamba being away from the basket. But for now, we’ll stop because there are only so many words I want to burn on a dreadful performance.
Texas next plays Louisiana Tech on Saturday in Austin, and while the name may make you think ‘automatic W’, I can assure you they are not. Texas better bring its A game to the Drum if they want to beat a Louisiana Tech squad that looks ready to contend for a Conference USA tourney bid. Tip is at 1 PM CT on LHN.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Grooverider.