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Shooting From the Corner: TCU 65, Texas 61

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

I was on The Horn with Chad & Kevin this afternoon and one of the things I mentioned was that Texas is entering arguably the toughest stretch of their conference schedule; the next three games were at TCU, home against Kansas, and at Iowa State. I said that Texas was definitely the underdog tonight and that they were likely to be an underdog in all three games - the Kansas game might be rated a toss-up since it’s at home, but Shaka has yet to beat Kansas so...yea - but these three games were all opportunities to pick up important resume wins. Well, 0 for 1 on that front. Texas put together one of their sloppier outings and gave away a winnable road game for the second time in a row. I would like to give TCU credit for their work, but outside of the late-clock fouling in both halves - which Jamie Dixon utilized extremely effectively - they didn’t do anything singularly amazing. That’s not to say TCU played poorly, rather than TCU played about like it normally has and Texas let the game slip through their fingers like it was a behind-the-head Elijah Mitrou-Long pass under the basket WHICH ACTUALLY WAS A THING THAT HAPPENED IN THIS GAME alright I just had to get that out before my brain exploded.

The Good

Courtney Ramey

Ramey put together a better starting effort than last game, contributing 10 points, 2-5 from three, three steals, and five assists. He was still too careless with the ball, committing three turnovers which could have easily been more, but Ramey was far from the problem tonight.

Three-Point Shooting

Texas shot 34.6% from three, which is pretty close to their average in conference play. Coming into the game Texas was shooting 33.3% from three in 6 conference games; if you take away their white-hot shooting against Kansas State and their icy-cold shooting against Oklahoma State, you know what you get? 33.6%. Their best and worst efforts roughly cancelled out and they’re hitting about 34% through 7 conference games. That’s good enough to win, and good enough to open up driving lanes in the PnR.

It’s Complicated

Jaxson Hayes

Within 6 feet, Hayes is basically unstoppable on both ends of the floor. His length is a tremendous attribute he uses to catch lobs and catch passes in transition. He scored 10 points on 4-6 shooting and blocked 5 shots, so you know he’s capable of being aggressive. Well, up until the point somebody puts up a shot he can’t block; Hayes is a terrible rebounder. I lose count of how many times I watch him watch the ball without getting into position or blocking somebody out, it’s as if he and I are both watching the game together. He got six defensive rebounds and zero offensive rebounds, which is criminal for someone of his length and general proximity to the basket. His offensive rebounding rate is 8.6 compared to Dylan Osetkowski’s OR rate of 12.4. That means on an average miss, Osetkowski is about 1.5x more likely to land an offensive rebound than the guy who has the wingspan of a Lear jet. It drives me insane to watch Hayes watch a rebound get snagged by somebody else.

The Bad

Rebounding

Hey guess what? TCU beat Texas’ ass on the offensive boards. TCU snagged an offensive rebound on 35% of their misses which generated 18 second chance points. You think that might have factored into things a bit? There were several first-half possessions where Texas played good defense, forced a contested miss, then let the ball land in the hands of a Horned Frog. I can handle a lot of things, but allowing offensive rebounds at that high a rate (Texas snagged 20% of their misses, for reference) bothers me a lot. It’s just such a waste of effort to play good defense for 28 seconds then hand the opponent 30 more seconds because you couldn’t get your ass in position for a rebound, especially against a team that isn’t prioritizing offensive rebounds. Getting beat on the boards by West Virginia is one thing, but TCU doesn’t go after them like that.

Matt Coleman Sitting the Last Two Minutes

lolllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll what the hell

Look, Matt Coleman does not walk on water, he has good and bad games like everyone else. I haven’t gone back and watched what Coleman specifically was doing, but the fact that I have to go back and watch again to figure out why in the hell Coleman was benched probably says something about my opinion of this decision, especially when it means you’re putting Eli Long in during crunch time. Unless Coleman quietly fucked Shaka’s wife next to the huddle during the under-8 timeout, there’s not really a scenario where I can justify having Eli Long and his acrobatic bullshit on the floor in a tight game in Coleman’s place, and I’m pretty sure Maya Smart 1) isn’t that type of woman or 2) in Fort Worth tonight.

Eli Long

Speaking of the 5’8” guard who seems like he’s constantly auditioning for the And-1 Mixtape Tour, he was awful tonight. Whether it was the 1-8 from the floor - including the final three “attempt” which drew the wrong side of the backboard - or his loose handle or his decision to throw a pass behind his head to Jericho Sims because that’s exactly the kind of play Stone Hands Sims excels at, there was very little to like from the Canadian tonight.

Officiating

The worst kind of officiating is the unpredictable kind. It’s one thing if the refs are letting everything go or calling minor contact, but don’t do both and don’t do both when it’s based upon a Dungeons & Dragons dexterity roll. Just be consistent so players can adapt to the way things are being called.

I know some people are going to want to get into the last play because it’s natural to focus on it after the Oklahoma State and Kansas games, but frankly that was TCU forcing Texas into their third (at best) option in a 5-second window. Sometimes Texas is to blame, sometimes the other team puts you in a bad spot through aggressive ball denial. Hat tip to TCU. Also, did you see the Tennessee play at the end of regulation against Vanderbilt? lol everybody sucks at these things.

Texas gets a small reprieve from the Big 12 gauntlet as they travel to Georgia on Saturday for their piece of the Big 12/SEC showdown. Tom Crean is still building his squad, but they aren’t where they need to be yet. Texas needs to take care of business, because Kansas is looming again. Tip on Saturday is 1 PM CT on ESPN2.

BWG’s tunes provided by Bassi.