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Shooting From the Corner: Texas 73, Kansas 63

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NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Texas Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

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This fucking team, man.

I’ve said that sentence in just about every possible inflection and with every possible connotation over the course of the first 21 games of the season, and every game I find a new way to apply that sentence. This fucking team beat North Carolina. This fucking team lost to Radford. This fucking team left Kansas State dead in a ditch. This fucking team lost to Georgia in a glorified rec-league game. And now, this fucking team has beaten Kansas.

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The Good

Dylan Osetkowski

I have concerns about Osetkowski that won’t be answered tonight, and every time he takes a three (open or otherwise) I actually say out loud “oh no”, but DO abused Marcus Garrett in the second half. As much as the future of basketball is setting up open threes, having a guy who can back down smaller players and get shots from within 5 feet is an effective offense of its own. (Credit to the coaching staff for exploiting this mismatch often enough that Kansas went to two bigs for significant portions of the second half. They made it a point of emphasis to get DO the ball when Garrett was on him.) Osetkowski gets a lot of shit from fans and he earns a significant portion of it, but tonight he was everything Texas needed him to be. Well, inside the arc.

Free Throw Shooting

Texas shot 91% from the line (21-23) and that was the nail in the coffin for Kansas’ comeback hopes. Look at these lines:

Jaxson Hayes 7-8

Kerwin Roach II 6-7

Dylan Osetkowski 6-6

Jericho Sims 2-2 (!!)

8 games into conference play and Texas is shooting 77.8% from the line, which is 3.5 points higher than second place (Texas Tech). All of it (well, maybe not Sims) looks very repeatable as well, which could pay big dividends in a tight game.

Jase Febres

Febres is 21-51 from three in conference play, good for 41.2%. It’s the 11th-best mark in the Big 12. His 4-8 from three tonight wasn’t a fluke.

Rebounding

I know that Kansas isn’t playing nearly as big as they would be with a healthy Udoka Azuibuike but I will take Texas snagging offensive rebounds on 34.5% of their missed shots any night of the week. It’s not often any team outrebounds the Kansas Jayhawks regardless of the lineup Kansas has on the floor.

Team Defense

Texas held both Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick in check for most of the night, with Lawson only getting going late when fouls started to go his way. Most teams have to pick their poison, Texas covered them both. As much as Texas has struggled to defend well the last couple of weeks this was a great bounceback effort for the whole team. It’s amazing how much more beatable Kansas is when Marcus Garrett doesn’t go 3-4 from three in the first half, huh?

It’s Complicated

Kerwin Roach II

Roach hit big free throws late and nailed a couple of threes, but he made a number of mistakes as well. His turnover on the sideline late could have been huge, and his errant pass out of the trap that was a panic throw in Osetkowski’s direction was a wasted possession when Kansas was trying to claw back. He also went rogue on one of the late-game inbounds plays, effectively dragging his defender towards Matt Coleman who was supposed to get the ball. If it wasn’t for Osetkowski making himself available on the back side, that could’ve been a costly 5 seconds call that flipped things in Kansas’ favor. He tries to do too much sometimes, and if the high degree of difficulty plays don’t pan out it causes problems. I wish Roach would play a bit more within himself sometimes.

Courtney Ramey

He wasn’t able to do much to initiate offense this game, and until his entry passes get more consistent he’s going to be somewhat limited against good defenses. He still hit some big threes though, and I’m really looking forward to Ramey and Matt Coleman in the backcourt next year.

The Bad

Playstation Vue

For whatever reason, PS Vue wasn’t showing any games after January 19th on my DVR. I had to kill the DVR subscription and start over, and as a result the first 10 minutes of game play disappeared into the ether. It was the last straw on a stressful day and I yelled about it loudly enough the dog went and hid in the crate. My sweet, gentle little pup doesn’t get that I’m yelling at the magic box and not him even though he’s clearly not doing anything wrong other than not being able to feed himself and believe me I’ve tried to teach him how to use the can opener. I watched the rest of the first half while petting my poor, dumb, not-having-opposable-thumbs-ass dog so he didn’t think he was in trouble. On the bright side, petting the dog gave me less free hands to rage-tweet at Playstation, so win/win.

This win was big on a few levels; Shaka Smart has now notched a win against every Big 12 program, Texas beats another top-15 team at home to pad their resume, and they flip a game not a ton of people expected them to win. (I know Vegas had Texas favored, but it’s still Kansas.) Texas gets approximately 4 hours to enjoy this win before turning their eyes to an even thornier issue: winning in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State is as dangerous as any team in the nation and their homecourt advantage is significant; it’s time for Texas to show they can respond on the road to being punched in the mouth, because the punch is most assuredly coming. Tip time on Saturday is 1 PM CT on ESPN2.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by The Yellowheads.