I joked on Chad & Kevin today that Texas should win this game unless they go 2-20 from three and hahahahaha oh god this was all my fault I’m so sorry everybody I wished this into existence like some sort of secret vendetta against my nervous system. I would really like a game where Texas wins by 14 tomorrow so my doctor doesn’t have to put me on sedatives for the foreseeable future. If I have this terrible power, let’s use it for good.
TEXAS SHOULD LOSE TOMORROW UNLESS THEY GO 10-13 FROM THREE AND LEAD BY TWENTY UNTIL THE UNDER-4 TIMEOUT WHEN THEY COAST TO A COMFORTABLE 80-66 VICTORY. ALSO I DEFINITELY COULD NOT USE A RAISE AND AN EXTRA WEEK OF VACATION.
Now let’s sit back and watch the magic happen.
The NCAA Tournament is Within Reach
The Texas Longhorns didn’t punch their ticket tonight with a 68-64 win over Iowa State, but they removed a significant amount of doubt that would have been generated by a loss. Texas is still in a place where they could conceivably fall out of the tournament, but that seems like the less likely outcome now. North Carolina beating Syracuse and Boston College beating NC State narrowed the bubble field somewhat, and Oklahoma is probably sweating harder than Texas right now. If West Virginia can take care of Baylor and USC and/or UCLA lose tomorrow it will really thin out the teams who can try to make a plausible case to be in over Texas. A win over Texas Tech will silence any and all doubts, so Texas controls their own fate.
We All Learned a New Use for Super Glue
This probably wasn’t news to Jonathan Holmes, but Kerwin Roach II has all his pearly whites thanks to an assist from Matt Coleman on locating the bottom half of one of his teeth. It was one of the only assists Coleman dished out tonight, but Snoop probably feels like it’s the most valuable one. Also, we now know the Big 12 keeps a dentist on site for these games, and you can use that to win a slightly creepy bar bet down the road.
Matt Coleman’s Enormous Balls
Coleman’s night was plagued by foul trouble, which led to him playing sparingly in the second half and was one of the reasons Texas struggled to score for significant portions of the game. He had an uncharacteristically bad night defensively (due in part to the aforementioned foul trouble) and this is a game where earlier in the season Coleman probably becomes tentative and disappears. He did not do that tonight, continuing to drive the lane and initiate the offense even with the aggressive substitutions Shaka Smart was using to keep Coleman away from that fifth foul. His free throws were big, but his final shot was even bigger. Coleman missed one shot all night, going 3-3 inside the arc, 0-1 outside the arc, and 2-2 from the line. That was a quietly — until it wasn’t quiet at all — effective night, given the situation.
Jericho grabbed 15 of Texas’ 37 rebounds on the night, and his 7 offensive rebounds equaled Iowa State’s team total. His screening has improved, his defense against other bigs is solid, and he doesn’t try to do things outside of his strengths. He is not Mohamed Bamba — I want to stress this point, because some Texas fans are starting to openly ponder who is better; it’s 100% Bamba — but it’s starting to look more and more like the defense next season will be fine without the human pterodactyl anchoring things. Sims needs to continue to rebuild his free throw form and add the ability to hit a 15-foot shot if he wants to keep defenses honest, but watching him now compared to November is an impressive leap in ability.
Texas had 12 steals tonight, which means almost one out of every five Iowa State possessions ended with a Texas player snatching the ball out of the air and going the other direction with it. There are ways to play aggressive defense without full-court pressing, and Texas was able to generate a ton of deflections and turnovers by being aware and active with their hands.
The Mixed Bag
Kerwin Roach II
Roach had a really poor game finishing at the rim, converting only 1-9 shots inside the arc. Having said that, he was still able to make his drives count by kicking the ball out to open perimeter players, which is why he ended up with 7 assists on the night. People may not realize this, but Roach isn’t that far behind Coleman in assist numbers; he has 113 to Coleman’s 131 and their turnover numbers aren’t that far off either. Roach has really improved upon his ability to handle the ball this year and it is a big part of the Texas offensive attack.
One minute he’s firing up a terrible three, the next he’s picking off passes and going the other way, which then gets blocked, but he gets the rebound. Young is up and down with his decisions but his effort is not in question. A couple of his threes were late clock heaves and one was what I will politely call a heat check by a cadaver, but others were good looks that didn’t fall. Have we all noticed he’s getting better at driving to the rim in the half-court? It’s not a finished product, but it’s also not the guaranteed charge call it was last year. Baby steps.
The first ~15 minutes of the game were what I would imagine point shaving looks like. Shots weren’t falling from anywhere, decisions in the defensive end were poor, and he looked like he was pressing too hard. Shaka sent him down to the low post where he made a couple of bunnies, and from then on out he was fine. After missing his first six threes (which were mostly open looks) he got that dunk and from then on out was 3-6 from behind the arc. My issue with Osetkowski’s threes are less when he takes them — most of his threes the last several games have been open looks — and more about where he takes them from. He is not Trae Young, he needs to have his toes within 4 inches of the line. These threes from NBA range are bad shots and partly a result of him not moving up a foot prior to getting the ball. He might add five percent to his three-point make percentage next season just by getting closer to the line. Osetkowski probably should be in the mixed bag with a delineation of ‘first 15 minutes bad, last 25 minutes good’ but I’m tired and we’re doing this all again tomorrow so here he stays.
The next game for Texas is against Texas Tech; the Longhorns match up well with the Red Raiders, and both teams are dealing with some injury questions. I have to imagine Bamba is going to play at least some in this game, and while Keenan Evans is playing he hasn’t shown he’s 100% for a full game yet. Both teams will be playing for something in front of a crowd of mostly-disinterested Kansas fans, so who knows how this game will go. Tip time is at 6 PM CT on ESPN2.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by Tom Hades.