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Shooting From the Corner: Texas 68, Colorado 55

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NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Kansas vs. Texas William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

I could spend 400 words describing the game, but this sums it up pretty well.

It was 44-19 at the half, 50-31 with 10 minutes left, and 61-39 with five minutes left. Don’t be fooled by the final score, this game wasn’t close.

The Good

The First Half

Look wherever you want; threes, interior defense, steals, rebounds, doesn’t matter. Texas played solid in all phases of the game, frankly they weren’t amazing in any single respect. Nothing they did in the first half was in the stratosphere, they just did it all well.

Defense

Colorado is not Gonzaga, but Texas shut them down completely. The Buffaloes had more turnovers than made baskets in the first half and it didn’t get a lot better in the second half. Credit to the coaching staff; Colorado feeds it inside and scores off rebounds similarly to Xavier and Texas squashed those ideas early and often. If it weren’t for 15 made free throws, Colorado might have been down 30 at one point.

Dylan Osetkowski

Osetkowski led the team with four steals and he was big in setting the tone early. 15 points on 7-11 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, four steals is a quality farewell for the senior. One player who has been locked in from the start of this tournament run is DO.

Courtney Ramey

The only question for next season isn’t if Ramey will start but if he’ll be the lead point guard because he’s showing all the things he’s capable of lately. 11 points, 2-2 from three, three steals, four rebounds, and he didn’t leave the floor much. It’s pretty clear Shaka trusts Ramey a lot at this point and frankly it’s warranted. For all of the pub Jaxson Hayes (deservedly) received for his impact, Ramey could very well be the freshman that leaves the biggest mark at Texas. He needs to work on his free throws though, he’s only hitting 61% from the line this year.

Jericho Sims

This is two straight games against quality bigs where Sims acquitted himself well. Sims snagged 10 rebounds battling some serious size, and his defense was quality down low. Colorado bigs kept trying to bully him and he wouldn’t let them bury him under the basket, his anticipation on the post entry attempts was great.

Gerald Liddell

Texas is undefeated in games where Liddell has hit a three. That’s science.

USCocksman

It’s Complicated

Jase Febres

Febres wasn’t hitting shots tonight, as he went 1-6 from the floor. Last year or earlier this year it would have landed him solidly in the ‘bad’ category, but it’s all the other things he’s doing that are lifting up his game when the shots aren’t falling. He played solid defense, snagged five rebounds, blocked two shots, and was generally active off the ball.

Kerwin Roach II

Roach shot the ball pretty well, but during a drought in the second half there was a sequence where Roach decided to play zone when literally nobody else was. His man went into the corner and shot a wiiiiiide open three, which thankfully for Texas he missed. Texas gets the rebound, Roach goes on offense and decides to throw a lob to Sims who is triple-covered. He also predetermined some drives that didn’t end well. I’m stunned he’s only responsible for one turnover, but that’s in part because Colorado really doesn’t force many. These kinds of moments against a team like Texas Tech are where his turnovers would balloon like my cholesterol an hour after leaving Texas de Brazil. I will give Roach credit for how he battled in the post, there was at least one occasion where Roach was switched off onto a much bigger player and he did a good job of denying entry passes without fouling. As always with Roach, it’s complicated.

The Bad

The First Five Minutes of the Second Half

Texas scored two points in the first five minutes after halftime, and if Colorado could hit the broad side of a barn that 25-point halftime lead would have been sliced in half. It was bad enough that Shaka pulled the entire starting five and only started subbing them back in one at a time as the staff let them know in no uncertain terms why they were each pulled. It wasn’t a costly drought, but the coaches let the players know they were lucky in that respect.

Drayton Whiteside’s Three

ALL DRAYTON WHITESIDE DOES IS HIT THREES that don’t actually count because he stepped out of bounds. The crowd was dying for that to count.

Texas has a trip to New York City in their immediate future, and they get to play their first game against the rarest of animals: the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU beat Texas twice this year and is the favorite despite what the advanced metrics say, but TCU has never beaten Texas in the Eastern Time Zone so who is really the favorite here? Plus, it’s not like Texas has ever had a chance to play an important tournament game if they beat TCU, and the Longhorns’ history in Madison Square Garden is awesome. This should go great.

Texas and TCU face off on Tuesday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM CT on ESPN. The TCU/Texas winner will face the Lipscomb/Wichita State winner in the NIT final on April 4th.

EDIT: I’m hearing rumblings that the math behind Shaka’s fate may be changing. It’s possible Shaka still leaves, but I don’t think Texas is pushing him out the door. If I hear more that I can corroborate, I’ll let people know.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by DJ Psyche.