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Shooting From the Corner: TCU 87, Texas 71

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Texas had one of its best offensive performances of the year negated by a TCU offensive explosion reminiscent of the peak Fred Hoiberg Iowa State teams. A Texas team known for its defensive prowess was unable to generate stops and turnovers at the rate necessary to close down TCU’s lead, and when the Texas offense finally hit a dry streak late in the second half the TCU lead swelled to over a dozen and the game was done. Texas gave better effort against TCU, it wasn’t a lack of desire; they just didn’t slow down a TCU squad that was white-hot from everywhere.

The Good

Offensive Production

Texas scored 1.13 points per possession, hit nearly 52% from the field including 10-20 from three, and had 18 assists to only 11 turnovers. The offense was not the problem today, this was a performance good enough to win a lot of games. It’s frustrating that Texas was unable to pair it with their normal level of defensive execution. Maybe I should be excited that we have something different to bitch about after this loss; now everybody can complain that Shaka doesn’t know how to coach defense.

Eric Davis Jr

Wildcard was 3-3 from three, scored 16 points in 31 minutes, had three assists to no turnovers, and burnished his already stellar Wildcard credentials with this bucket on a 1-on-3 transition opportunity:

Jase Febres

He played a solid 13 minutes of basketball, generating 6 points on 2-4 shooting from three. His stroke looks good and his shots were in rhythm.

The Mixed Bag

Mohamed Bamba

On the offensive end, Bamba was awesome. He scored 23 points on 16 shots, showed off a couple of post moves — which were helped by guards actually feeding him when he established position — and even managed to drive the lane a couple of times. So why is he here? Rebounding; Bamba got beat on the glass by TCU players way more than normal. It would make sense if Bamba was blocking shots all over the court and being out of position for rebounds, but he only had one block and wasn’t altering nearly as many shots as he had earlier in conference play. He flat got beat by a TCU squad who wanted the rebounds more.

Jericho Sims

Sims had some decent offensive moments where he played within himself more often, but his defense in the half-court is still very hit and miss. An example:

I had hoped for more progress from Sims this season than I’ve seen, but every player progresses at a different rate. Another off-season of conditioning and drills could bring about a significant uptick in Sims’ performance, the coaching staff is still quite high on him.

The Bad

Defensive Rebounding

As well as TCU was shooting the ball today — 55% from the floor and 10-20 from three — the only chances Texas had at cutting into the TCU lead were by generating turnovers and limiting second chance opportunities. The turnovers didn’t happen as Texas got burned going for steals early and subsequently got back in the half-court instead of playing more aggressive, which means limiting second chance points was the only real method left. That didn’t happen, either. Rebounding always has a certain element of luck involved, and TCU got some crazy rebounds (like when one shot went off the side of the backboard and straight to a guy in white) but they also displayed a consistent effort at getting those boards and it paid off for them repeatedly. Texas only snagged 60.7% of their defensive rebounding opportunities, usually that number is north of 70%. In a game where the lead was usually somewhere in the 4-9 point range, a couple less offensive boards for TCU could have made a significant difference in the trajectory of this game.

Everybody has a type of basketball they find infuriating. For some people it’s watching a defense clamp down on their team, for others it’s missed shots, for others it’s a lot of scoring because humans are weird but some are weirder than others. For me, the most frustrating basketball to watch is the type when a team is shooting well enough to win but can’t string together the stops necessary to flip the scoreboard. This is why the Texas games against Fred Hoiberg’s Iowa State teams were particularly painful, because I knew going in that I’d watch a lot of Texas making twos while Iowa State was making threes. Wasting high-quality offensive output by not limiting the other team is the mental equivalent of being strapped to a chair and forced to watch somebody getting swallowed by a grain elevator.

Dylan Osetkowski

When was the last time you think Osetkowski had a good offensive performance? Mississippi is a fair guess, and before that maybe the home game against TCU. So...twice in a month. I don’t think he’s worn out, especially as they’ve been focused on getting him some rest; this seems like it has to be mental. He’s not as consistently aggressive as he was earlier in the year, and he’s not contributing as much in the other categories (see also: rebounding) as he was. I don’t know how to snap him out of it, but if he doesn’t it makes life harder for the rest of the team.

Free Throws

7-12 from the line won’t get it done. It wasn’t a primary factor in Texas losing, but it didn’t help.

Texas wasted a second-straight opportunity to ascend in the Big 12 standings. Instead of being 7-5 and potentially a game out of first place, they’re 5-7 and tied with four other teams for sixth place. Further, their margin for error to make March Madness is getting thinner. Their next game is against Baylor on Monday at 8 PM CT on ESPN, and the Bears just beat Kansas by 16 today. So, yea, time to sack up or I’ll have to start looking for NIT Bracketology sites.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Charlotte de Witte.