The bulk of non-conference play is done, with the Texas Longhorns taking care of business against an overmatched UT-Arlington squad 76-56. The game was never really in doubt; even as the score was close in the first half it still appeared as though Texas was firmly in control. It was a boring game in all the best ways, the kind of inexorable victory over a bad team that Texas hasn’t reliably produced this season. Pocket the W and move onto the next game, there will be precious few easy wins from here on out.
Attacking the Paint
Texas turned a seven-point halftime advantage into 27 points by using their athleticism advantage to get shots in close. While they did attack the paint in the first half, it was a clear priority in the second half. The team didn’t attempt a three for the first 6:38 of the second half. I don’t know what exactly Shaka Smart said at halftime, but I’m pretty sure it involved the words ‘Drive’, ‘the’, ‘fucking’, ‘ball’, ‘so’, ‘help’, ‘me’, ‘or’, ‘I’, ‘will’, ‘delete’, ‘your’, ‘Fortnite’, and ‘logins’ in some order.
Kerwin Roach II
When Snoop is driving the lane with authority, he displays the sort of impressive body control you have to enjoy as a viewer. There were at least a couple of instances where he jumped into the body of the defender, kept his core solid, and had good position for a high-quality shot near the rim. He was on the wrong end of a tight whistle which kept his defense from being as tight as it might have been otherwise and his free throw shooting (1-4) was a negative, but overall he was one of the better players on the floor tonight.
More than the good shooting (9 points on 4-5 shooting), it was nice to see Coleman facilitate. He had three assists and zero turnovers, and he would’ve had a couple more assists if his teammates hit more of their open shots. Coleman has had an up & down sophomore campaign and I have some concerns about how Coleman is adjusting to life as a point guard instead of the point guard, so tonight was nice to see him work in the flow of the offense and find ways to contribute.
The Return of the High Post
Hey guys, did you know you can attack a zone defense by planting someone at the free throw line? Texas has discovered this hidden nugget long thought lost to time and other coaching staffs, but they unearthed it right before conference play. I counted at least three different players occupying that space, and while it still needs refinement/practice reps it’s good to see they’re at least trying to add wrinkles to attack the zone defenses they’re going to see quite a bit of in the Big 12. They also added a cut wrinkle you can see here:
Really like this little cut to the paint by Coleman, it's a good wrinkle against the zone. pic.twitter.com/Pf1fk2T06n— (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻ 763 (@Bitterwhiteguy) December 29, 2018
Royce Hamm, Jr
I don’t want to take anything away from Hamm’s performance, he played well in 13 minutes with 10 points on 4-6 shooting, a handful of rebounds, and a low post game that the other bigs haven’t really shown to this point. The reason he’s in this category has nothing to do with him and everything to do with why he’s getting the minutes: because Jericho Sims still isn’t playing well. If Sims was playing to his potential, Hamm might get two minutes a game at most. Sims isn’t putting together the sort of effort & execution needed to get this team to the next level, his game seems to be mostly setting picks for guards before disappearing from the equation. I’m not sure why Sims is unable to do the same sort of pick/slip that Hayes does, but they don’t seem to ever call it and I imagine it’s for the same reason he’s sitting more and more often. I hope he gets things figured out, because he could stand to make a lot of money playing pro ball if he does.
Jaxson Hayes foul issues
I was asked on Chad & Kevin earlier today if there’s a way to get Hayes to dial back the aggression just enough to avoid the fouls and I don’t really think there is, but he needs to be a bit more disciplined if he’s permanently taking over the starting job. Hamm is a fine alternative against UT-Arlington, but a team like Kansas or TCU will eat him alive. Hayes needs to learn he doesn’t have to jump first to alter a shot and that not every rebound is worth going after if it’s out of your area. If he can tone that down just a touch, his foul issues will dissipate quickly.
Dylan Osetkowski shots from inside three feet
If I were a meaner person, I would go back and edit together the seven shots he missed from a combined 14 feet away, instead I’ll let PBW sum it up.
Osetkowski is going to lead the nation in offensive rebounds just from reclaiming his 900 missed layups.— Palpable Buzz Williams (@LonghornRdTrip) December 29, 2018
The hardest part of the schedule looms large now, with Big 12 play kicking in next week. Texas starts off with a road trip to Kansas State, which I imagine will be one of the uglier offensive displays you will see this season. Both teams are in the top 10 nationally in defensive efficiency and Kansas State’s offense is even worse than Texas’, uhh, varying offensive output. The first team to 50 might win that game, which is on Wednesday at 8 PM CT on ESPNU. Strap on your helmets, it’s about to get real.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by M Water.