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Bricking From the Corner: Texas 73, McNeese State 71, My Nervous System 0

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Charlton Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship - The Valley Photo by Daniel Hambury/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

I’m going to go take a walk for a bit and start this when I’ve calmed down.

20 minutes later

There, much better. I no longer feel like I’m one terrible defensive possession away from reenacting scenes from ‘Falling Down’, which is an improvement from, say, the entire second half. Texas narrowly avoided the worst loss in Shaka Smart’s tenure; this would’ve been worse than Kent State or Radford. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, it’s like Texas only truly feels comfortable when they’re dancing on a knife’s edge. I think Shaka Smart spends his off-hours playing Russian roulette or running through lion cages wearing t-shirts made from ham. Texas needed to put forth a D effort to win this game and they knocked out a solid D+. Maybe they could spend tonight celebrating at an all-you-can-eat sushi place that’s currently on probation with the health department, eating tuna rolls that spent seven seconds on the ground. Then they can cap it off by drinking jugs of milk they left out of the fridge before they went to the game. Really live life on the edge in the most pointless possible ways, guys. Own your truth.

The Good

Matt Coleman

9 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, two steals, zero turnovers, and the only one properly defending Dru Kuxhausen. Coleman was making good decisions all night, and he was the only one reliably attacking the paint against the zone. He went 1-2 from three which actually hurt his average on the season; there is no one else on this roster playing at Coleman’s level right now.

Courtney Ramey

Courtney Ramey’s first 4-5 minutes of the game were awful; he got a pair of layups blocked, picked up a questionable foul, and I felt like we were in store for another poor Ramey outing. He turned things around though, and ended up with a solid stat line of 14 points (including 2-5 from three), three rebounds, a couple of assists, and the game-winning free throws at the end. There were still some turnover issues and his defense was hit & miss so he didn’t quite look back to his freshman form, but it was a positive step for him. He needs to do this more often and against better competition.

Team Defense

lol just kidding

No Radford

Fucking BARELY no Radford, but No Radford. I cannot take many more games like this one.

It’s Complicated

Jericho Sims

Sims had more offensive rebounds (6) than the entirety of McNeese State, and he went 6-6 from the floor which was much needed. Sims had his second double-double of the season with his 12/11 effort, however his defense was not good enough tonight as Sha’markus Kennedy repeatedly sealed Sims inside and went to work on him. Sims wasn’t recovering very well on PnR and it led to Kennedy getting mismatches on the low block against guards who couldn’t deal with his strength. Some of this was Kennedy having a great game, but Sims needs to anticipate the low-post positioning better than he did today.

Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones’ playing style comes with some baggage, this is not new. If you’ve watched him since he’s come to Texas, you know that he believes he can get his shot whenever and as such he’ll take some shots that maybe aren’t the best decision or within the flow of the offense. He’s a bit of a freestyler and it manifests itself more often when he’s running the point; it’s for this reason that I don’t really like him running the point, because you can tell when he’s getting goaded into going rogue. Maybe it’s a player hitting a three in his face the possession before or maybe he thinks he needs to be the offensive spark - or maybe I’ve watched him for too long so I can see it coming - but he plays some possessions as if he’s got a level of freedom beyond what I think he should have and the decisions that come from it can really screw up the goals. For example, I lost count of the number of times he sagged five feet off Kuxhausen when he was clearly heating up; the guy is hitting 49% from three this year and has a green light to shoot it whenever he wants, don’t sag off him to fill a gap that doesn’t really need filling. Kuxhausen was held in check the first half, but when Jones was guarding him he hit three threes in fairly quick succession. It’s hard not to dock his grade tonight for things like that despite him scoring 14 points off the bench. Andrew Jones giveth, and Andrew Jones taketh away.

The Bad

Defense

I feel like I’ve already said this a dozen times this season and I’ll probably say it a couple dozen more times, but the down side of a man defense with limited help is if you can’t execute your individual defense then you’re going to get burned. Well, Texas didn’t execute. Kuxhausen went 4-6 from three because Texas defenders not named Coleman or Ramey were sagging off him despite him walking into the gym with a neon sign above him that said “shooter”. Kennedy went for 20+ because the Texas bigs were allowing him easy post position and/or nobody was rotating onto him when he rolled in the PnR. Leondre Washington - who is 6 feet tall in a booster seat that’s stacked on top of another booster seat - turned the corner on defenders and got them in the air where he could generate contact. Luke Yaklich is going to earn his pay fixing these issues before conference play because the Big 12 will spend entire games in the paint if he doesn’t. The only reason McNeese State didn’t crack 80 points is because of self-inflicted wounds.

Zone Offense

Texas needs more than just Coleman penetrating against a zone. Ramey did it last year so we know he’s capable, but he and the other guards need to attack zones better than they did today or they’re only going to see more of it. This is easier said than done (and I know 80% of D-I has this problem) but it’s so vital. Nobody in the Big 12 is afraid of playing a zone any more, this nut needs to get cracked or Texas will struggle to score.

At the end of the day it’s a win, and I guess it’s better to have this sort of power outage against McNeese State than Kansas. If that doesn’t do much for your positivity, well, welcome to the club. Life is pain, everyone you love will eventually die, and in the end the Earth will be vaporized by the sun going supernova. Eat Arby’s. Also Texas plays UAB on Tuesday, tip time is 7 PM CT on LHN.

In women’s basketball news, the women’s team is 3-3 and doesn’t seem to be capable of beating good teams. Someone who pays closer attention can fill me in on what the problem is, but their only wins so far this year are against Southern, UT-Rio Grand Valley, and UT-San Antonio. Maybe they should just play satellite campuses the rest of the year.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Anna Reusch.