For people unfamiliar with the show Silicon Valley — and if you are, shame on you; it’s amazing — they had an episode where several characters had to discuss the pros and cons of a guy (Richard) they liked who had some clear limitations as a boss. They all liked him and they thought he was a great guy, but they got tired of having to preface every sentence with “Richard is great, but you know” so they just started saying RIGBY to save time.
This is where I am with these recaps. I’m going to start saying TIGBY to save time because while I like the players and the coaching staff and I’m still positive about their long-term potential, they have clear limitations that aren’t going away. TIGBY they can’t overcome a 2-3 zone by pretty much anybody. TIGBY the point guard play hasn’t improved enough to beat above-average defenses reliably. TIGBY this team doesn’t seem to understand how to smoothly transition from their first offensive option/play-call to a fallback system, wasting clock and small windows of opportunity in the process. TIGBY...tigby.
Texas played well enough to hang around for 30 minutes; they wasted a TCU drought of 4 minutes by not hitting enough shots of their own, then went into their own drought where TCU hit some shots and put the game away with four minutes left. Texas isn’t good enough to come back from 12 down against an upper-tier defense (TCU’s defensive efficiency is top 40 in the country) and at the four-minute mark it was a wrap. I think I said this in the last recap — and I know I’ve said it on Pretend We’re Football — but I’m not going to predict a Texas road win until I see them do it once. Texas is 0-9 away from the Drum and not showing any signs of snapping that streak. Maybe it happens at Oklahoma, but I’m not holding my breath.
The only thing that can stop Jarrett Allen these days is a 2-3 zone, and only because it stops the guards from getting him the ball. He put up a 22/9 against whoever Jamie Dixon sent into the paint, including this ridiculous play.
Just so we’re clear, he put that move on a junior who may get drafted by the NBA and is a near-lock to at least play pro ball in Europe for a decade.
Allen led the team in steals today. He is ridiculous, and if he could cut down on turnovers in the paint (which will happen as he gets stronger) he’d be getting discussed by a lot more mock drafts than he is. If it weren’t for Josh Jackson currently hitting the turbo button for Kansas, he might be in the lead for Big 12 freshman of the year honors. I don’t think he’s coming back, but I’m not going to stop writing his name next to the word “sophomore” on my dream board in the finest calligraphy font until he hires an agent.
Andrew Jones is averaging nearly 8 assists per game over the last three games, and nothing about it feels fluky. This isn’t like that two-game stretch where Prince Ibeh went 10-12 from the line and the Earth responded by rotating in reverse for a month, Jones is simply hitting another gear in his ability to connect with his teammates. He threw an alley-oop to Allen from the three-point line that was going to Allen and only Allen, and it might not have been his most impressive pass of the day. His turnovers are still high, but that will settle down over time as he and his teammates drill together more and more. It’s generally easier for guards to cut turnovers than it is to boost assists, and Jones is headed in the right direction. I’m glad Coleman is coming to Texas next season, but if something terrible happens — he tears his ACL, gets hit by a car, or answers texts from Tevin Mack — I’m increasingly OK with the idea of Andrew Jones playing point next season. He’s a playmaker.
I’m not saying Banks is turning the corner as a defensive contributor, but I’m not not saying it either. He put in 16 minutes of mostly quality defense, and though his offensive game is more of a theory than an actuality he’s still able to contribute to the team in his way. He was able to put together good possessions against older bigs and it led to him staying on the court longer. Unfortunately for him and for Texas, Banks can’t be on the floor against a 2-3 zone right now, but he’s getting better overall and might surprise some people next season.
The Mixed Bag
Cleare was getting wrecked by a longer and more athletic Brodziansky in the first half, continually frustrated by a guy who can beat him off the dribble or contest his hook shots. To Cleare’s credit, he kept battling and in the second half Cleare sped up his decisions to take advantage of Brodziansky not quite being ready to guard him. What looked like a potentially lost night early ended up being a 12 point, three rebound effort and shooting nearly 50% from the floor. His defense against Brods...Brawds...let’s just call him Brodz from here on out got better as the game continued to hang in the balance.
Kerwin Roach Jr
Roach was quietly efficient as a ball-handler; his five assists to one turnover is a ratio Texas will gladly take any game and is the first time he’s been on the positive side of the ledger since the Oklahoma game. Unfortunately, his shooting slump shows no signs of abating. Until Roach hits a few threes in a row, teams can continue to go under screens and cut off his access to the lane, which is one of the few areas he still makes shots. Texas’ current offensive preference of playing inside-out doesn’t really cater to alternative ways for him to get loose, either; he’s going to have to sort out his shooting issues within the current construct of the team because getting him well is lower on the priority list than making sure Allen/Cleare touches the ball on nearly every possession.
Texas only had 12 turnovers on the day which sounds like an improvement, but it’s still 19% of their possessions which is too high. It’s closer to D-I average, which is positive, but not good enough. Anything below 17% is pretty solid; to put it into perspective, last season Texas turned the ball over on 15.4% of their possessions and was in the top-25 nationwide.
TCU averaged 1.24 points per possession today; some of that is fluky, but really TCU just made shots. TCU is a good case study in the difference quality point guard play makes; Jamie Dixon brought in better point guards than Shaka did this off-season, and it’s the primary reason they swept Texas for the first time since David Hasselhoff was allowed to play an evil version of himself by wearing a mustache.
Texas gets Iowa State at home on Tuesday, with the Cyclones coming off a close overtime game against the Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence. The Cyclones are sitting solidly on the bubble and can ill-afford a loss to Texas, so the Longhorns will likely have their hands full against Monte Morris and crew. Tip is at 8pm CT on ESPN2.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Mickey B.