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Bricking From the Corner: Iowa State 65, Texas 60

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

If you listened to Tim & I on Pretend We’re Football this week, you probably got a good sense of our collective pessimism about this game. Iowa State is the primary threat to ending the Kansas conference title streak, Hilton is as tough a venue as our Minister of Culture would like the new arena to be, and Texas hasn’t been very good on the road this year. All of this combined to inform why I said on PWF and Chad & Kevin that a win was pretty unlikely. And yet, Texas was in the game throughout the second half. A 65-60 loss in Ames is still a loss, but it’s a far cry from the sort of beatdown a team in meltdown would suffer. I am not bothered by this loss; a win would’ve removed Texas from the bubble for the foreseeable future so it’s a missed opportunity to be sure, but I guess if we’re talking about performance relative to expectations then this was a solid effort in aggregate.

The Good

Matt Coleman

It’s nice to see Coleman bounce back from a couple of poor efforts. Perhaps it was the chance to go at his former teammate Lindell Wigginton or perhaps he would have done this anyway, but Coleman was the right kind of aggressive most of the game. He got into the paint reliably, he made good decisions with the ball, and helped setup a number of the made shots.

Kerwin Roach II

Roach was having a decent game until about halfway through the second half when he had to leave the floor for what looked like a knee issue. He came back into the game and was only about 70% of what he was before - and with him unable to get into the paint, Texas’ upset bid was pretty much over - but he still tried to make a positive impact. He gets a gritty/lunch pail/blue collar/effort pass today.

Jaxson Hayes

Hayes got some offensive rebounds! This actually happened! Hayes’ defensive presence is improving as well, his fouling is coming less on opponent dribble-drives than earlier in the year which speaks to him getting better at not jumping early. He still struggles a bit with going for defensive rebounds that are too far out of his area, so foul trouble is likely to be a recurring issue. He missed a free throw but I will take a 81% make rate from the center every single year until I die, or until the players are replaced by robots in which case WHY DID WE RECRUIT X5013 HIS 98% MAKE RATE IS THE 5TH-WORST IN D-I SHAKA SMARTBOT 3.0 NEEDS TO BE REBOOTED INTO THE SUN.

Free Throw Shooting

Texas shot over 90% from the line (10-11, 91%) for the second game in a row. I don’t know the last time that happened, but I imagine it was about the year they first started cutting holes in the bottom of the peach baskets. Texas as a team is shooting 79% from the line in conference play and they’re over 70% on the season. That is mind-bottling.

Team Defense

Mariyal Shayok had his worst game of the year thanks to Texas’ defense, and Texas as a whole made Iowa State hit contested shots the vast majority of the game. There was a 6-7 game stretch where the offense was shouldering the load because the defense was poor, but for the second-straight game Texas looked solid defensively. They held Iowa State to 1.02 PPP and the Cyclones average 1.17 on the season. Texas basically clipped 9 points off of what the Cyclones’ expected scoring output would have been on an average night. Shayok eventually hit the big shot at the end, but I doubt there’s been another game this year where he had to work that hard for 12 points.

It’s Complicated

Three-Point Shooting

This is another one of those games where Texas had some open looks not fall, but they took more contested shots than normal. Some of that is due to Iowa State being a pretty solid defensive team, some of that was due to Texas burning up shot clock trying to get Dylan Osetkowski the ball in the post against smaller players. They tried to do against Iowa State what they did to Kansas, and the Cyclones helped off aggressively to double Osetkowski. When he passed out of the double-team, Texas didn’t connect on enough shots to make the Cyclones pay, so the Cyclones didn’t have enough incentive to stop helping. Nothing happens in a vacuum in basketball, unfortunately.

The Bad

Turnovers

Texas turns the ball over about 17% of the time, which is in the top 20% nationally. Iowa State forces turnovers about 20.5% of the time on defense, which is in the top 13 nationally. Today, Iowa State won this category, as Texas turned the ball over on 20.3% of their possessions. The difference between 20.5% and 17% is two possessions and Texas lost this game by 5 points. This is another of those secondary stats that are vital to win if the underdog wants to pull off the upset and Texas wasn’t able to win it.

Texas gets a couple of days off before welcoming the university who should be razed to the ground to town as the Baylor Bears come to the Drum on Wednesday night. Baylor is on an upward trajectory; they’ve won five straight but you could make the argument the last five weren’t exactly murderer’s row. The Texas Tech win was at home, Oklahoma State and West Virginia are battling for the bottom of the conference, Arkansas is a worse version of Texas, and the win at Oklahoma is getting less impressive as the Sooners keep losing. So maybe they’re on similar footing as Texas, but without a Kansas-type win on their ledger. Or maybe I just don’t want to believe in them because Scott Drew is the human equivalent of head lice, which is ironic because it’s not like he has enough hair to get his own infestation. Tip time on Wednesday is 7 PM CT on LHN.

In women’s news, they’re ranked #12, 18-4, and 7-2 in conference right now. They look like they’re about to go 8-2 as they’re leading Oklahoma by 13 in the fourth quarter. The women look like they’re a pretty safe bet to make the NCAA tournament,

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Chus & Ceballos.