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Clanking From the Corner: West Virginia 77, Texas 62

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WVU rides a scorching-hot first half to victory

NCAA Basketball: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

I’m out of words to describe another Texas loss, so I’m handing this recap over to my uncle, Buddy. He’s also into circus stuff.

OK, not really. As much as I might like to trot out a laundry list of guest writers to finish out this season, I’m playing out the string. JC25 is covering the Kansas game for me as I celebrate not only an anniversary with Bitterwhitegirl but a Saturday of not watching Texas get its ass beat, but otherwise you and I are stuck here together.

Tonight wasn’t a case of Texas playing poorly so much as West Virginia playing better. Texas played reasonably good defense and it didn’t matter. Mountaineers were hitting shots with hands in their face most of the night; they were hitting open shots, too. WVU had 20(!) assists on the night, which means 71% of their shots were result of somebody being passed to in space. Four of their players had at least three assists. West Virginia is good at passing, but they’re not that good. Also, they hit 10-24 from three and were 10-18 late in the second half. Other than the first five minutes of the game, the Mountaineers were really locked in offensively. Tip your hat to West Virginia for that game, they made it through a Bob Huggins defibrillator scare (seriously) and didn’t so much as flinch. Texas at their peak level probably isn’t beating the Mountaineers effort tonight, they looked every bit of a top-ten team.

The Good

Jarrett Allen

Just watch this, and listen to Fran Fraschilla go temporarily insane.

OK, how about from another angle.

OK, now with a slow-mo zoom in on the WVU bench.

It’s getting harder and harder to envision a scenario where Jarrett Allen returns for his sophomore season. He put up a 17/7 on West Virginia and the only reason it wasn’t a 23/12 was because the guards couldn’t reliably get him the ball. I mean, look at this:

He’s 6-10” and he beat every single player down the court. 6-10” guys shouldn’t move like that. Somebody is drafting this kid in the first round if he goes pro, probably in the top half of the first round at that. I’d love to see him come back for another year, but I’m not holding my breath.

(p.s. Please take a second to appreciate that Andrew Jones pass. It’s prettier than a good portion of the passes you see on the gridiron in Austin.)

Eric Davis Jr

Davis was 4-8 from the field in the first half and provided a much-needed outlet for UT guards dealing with the Mountaineer press. His shots stopped falling in the second half as the Texas comeback attempt got more desperate and the point guard play continued to deteriorate, but he was a positive overall. At this point, we’ll take any game where he shoots 33% or better from three.

James Banks

Banks was very active defensively in the first half, notching three blocks and three rebounds in 12 minutes and playing solid help defense that portends well for his Texas future. He ended the night with four blocks, five rebounds, and zero fouls (thanks, Big 12 Refs!) in 22 minutes. His shooting touch is coming along, but he’s still so raw that he’ll get a shot blocked by other bigs who know his 1-2 post moves. His upside is high, and it will be fun to watch him tap into it over the next 2-3 years.

This video of a dog three-way

NSFW, I guess? I don’t know where a canine pseudo-orgy falls on the work-safe spectrum, so I’ll link to it instead of embed it and let you see what has made me laugh for the last ten minutes. Bonus points for the backing music they used, it really seals the deal.

The Mixed Bag

Kerwin Roach Jr.

For the first five minutes, Roach was playing point like a man possessed. He was flying down the court, driving to the rim, hitting shots, grabbing rebounds, playing lights-out defense, and nailing free throws. Unfortunately for Texas, he wasn’t able to sustain that intensity. He was still giving good effort, but he started getting increasingly frustrated by the WVU press and ended the night with just three assists to four turnovers. It was nice to see his free throw stroke round into form though, going 7-8 from the line will help alleviate shortcomings in other areas.

The season-long thread of whoever isn’t playing point for most of the night puts up more efficient numbers continued tonight, with Andrew Jones scoring 11 points and contributing four assists to one turnover. If you want a reminder of how important a good point guard will be next season, keep an eye on Roach & Jones’ numbers when they’re not playing as much point in a game. It shows a glimpse of what they can look like when they’re not tasked with running the offense in large doses.

The Bad

Turnovers

Texas turned over the ball on 22 percent of their possessions tonight. That is — as usual this season — entirely too much. I would be more likely to chalk it up to West Virginia’s unique brand of defense if this wasn’t a nightly problem for Texas. It’s not likely to change much in the last two weeks of the season.

Texas is destined for a losing record this season, even an incredibly improbable run through the Big 12 Tournament won’t fix that. It’s not like things get any easier, as Kansas comes to Austin on Saturday to seal their 13th-consecutive conference title. Tip time is 5 PM CT on ESPN.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Redeye.