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Shooting From the Corner: Texas 85, Mississippi 72

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

I missed the first 5 minutes of gameplay due to watching the game on DVR. Texas Tech and South Carolina bled far enough into the Texas video window that Bob Huggins is smiling in Morgantown right now. Anyway, missing the first five minutes means I missed approximately half of the time where the game result felt even remotely in question. Texas methodically built a 9-point lead going into halftime; the lead dipped to six twice in the first 2:30 of the second half but was never under 10 points in the final 14 minutes of the game. Texas took care of business today. You could quibble with some areas of the gameplan, but overall Texas did to Mississippi what they did to Iowa State earlier this week; they beat a team they were supposed to beat, and they did it without much tension or controversy. You could make a case that without Dominik Olejniczak (yes, I had to look that up) going off while Mohamed Bamba went to the locker room, Texas would have put this game away in the first half.

As I like to remind my girlfriend when she glares at me with overwhelming disappointment, sometimes boring is good.

The Good

Mo Bamba

Have you ever played a game like Saints Row and been in a spot where you find yourself with a boatload of extra cash? Inevitably, you decide to do something random like fix up one of your cars, so you stare at your Marzda (trademark restrictions are a bitch) and figure out what it’s lacking.

Boring paint job? Bought.

Lame engine? Upgraded.

Still not fast enough? Nitrous purchased.

Within a small amount of time you’ve turned your Marzda into a 4-door Fahrrahri. Now you’re joyriding around town, shooting at cops with reckless abandon because lolz they’re so not catching you in this candy-painted missile. This is what it’s like watching Mo Bamba. Remember 21 games ago when he was a major question mark on offense?

Can’t shoot the three? 7-18 (38.9%) in conference play plus today.

Free throw problems? 26-35 (74.3%) in conference play plus today.

Can’t defend stronger bigs? Yea, about that:

This guy is ridiculous, and he’s progressing at a rate I can barely fathom. After the Duke game I was sold on Marvin Bagley as the top big in this upcoming draft; I’m not so sure any more, and it’s not because Bagley has done anything wrong.

Free Throws

Bamba’s 12-13 from the line is the headliner, but the team combined to hit 19-23 (82.6%). This was without noted free throw assassin Kerwin Roach II attempting a shot from the charity stripe all game. Ole Miss was 14-17 (82.4%) so it wasn’t like Texas beat their opponent through sheer quantity, Texas matched the quality as well.

Jase Febres

Ole Miss wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire with their defensive intensity — if Texas gave that kind of effort, Shaka would have put the walk-ons in for a half — but even when they were chasing Febres he still got open to put on an AJ Abrams special, 4-8 from three and one shot inside the arc. Febres put in a solid defensive effort as well, which is why he played 29 minutes today. It’s a good sign that his minutes are increasing, and a better sign he’s taking advantage of them.

The Press

Texas didn’t force a bunch of turnovers, but they sure did muck up the Ole Miss offensive flow with the press today. It runs better when Jericho Sims is at the head of the diamond press, and I imagine we will continue to mostly see it when he’s in the game.

Dave Pasch

The best laugh I had today was when, late in the game, Pasch said “if you’re a Longhorns fan, you’re starting to feel pretty good about what Shaka Smart has here”. I should let him run the comments section for a week.

The Mixed Bag

Matt Coleman

Coleman’s shooting woes are bad enough I’m tempted to send him a Nuke Laloosh’s garter belt. He was 1-6 from inside the arc and 0-1 from outside the arc, which puts his shooting the last three games at 3-19. That is...not great. Still, he’s keeping his head in the game and doing the other things good point guards should do. He pushes the ball up the court quickly, he makes good reads within the offense, and he’s dishing out assists. The shooting will come around eventually, but until it does it’s good he’s doing all the other things instead of sulking.

Dylan Osetkowski

One the good side, Osetkowski played a good overall game. His three ball wasn’t hitting, but he converted at a high rate both near the basket and at the free throw line. He caused a couple of deflections on defense, handled the ball well pretty much everywhere, and was a net-positive for the team. So why is he in the mixed bag?

Buddy. Guy. Hey, come over here. Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should do a thing. I know, it’s college and you’re experimenting, that’s fine. We’ve all been there; I remember at best 40% of my college orientation weekend. Just maybe put this one in the “lessons learned” folder when you get home.

The Bad

Jacob Young

It seems fair to say that at this point, if Jacob Young isn’t hitting threes, actively creating deflections on defense, or needed to help break a press, he probably shouldn’t see the floor much. Febres and Davis have taken up a lot of his airspace and signs point to them continuing to do so the rest of the season. Hopefully he continues to give maximum effort when he does see the floor; I don’t really see that being a problem, he’s not really wired to laziness.

This game was a bit of perspective on the Big 12 meat-grinder; Mississippi is a mid-level SEC team and a mid-level Big 12 Texas team beat them pretty soundly. If you need more perspective, you’ll get a snoot full Wednesday when Texas goes to Lubbock to face a Texas Tech team looking to avenge their Austin loss. Tip is at 8 PM CT on ESPNU. The respite is over for the Longhorns.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by London Elektricity.