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Bricking From the Corner: TCU 69, Texas 56

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

In a game that means a lot for both Texas and TCU’s postseason trajectories, only TCU executed to the level necessary to ensure they’re on the right side of the bubble. Texas was sloppy on defense and TCU sped the Longhorns up on offense to TCU’s tempo for long enough in the first half that it flipped a Texas lead into a TCU lead which the Horned Frogs never relinquished. Add in a sizable helping of Desmond Bane going nuts from deep and you get the result today.

The Good

Jaxson Hayes

In what is probably Hayes’ last game in Austin - unless Texas goes to the NIT, which, hooraaaaay? - he showed some of the things that made him a likely lottery pick. While his defense was somewhat questionable and his rebounding is a regular issue, he played the best game among the burnt orange.

That’s All

Seriously, that’s it. They were 8-9 from the free throw line, so you could throw that in here, I guess. Doesn’t really feel like much to crow about though.

It’s Complicated

Courtney Ramey

Ramey hustled every one of his 35 minutes today, and you could see moments in the second half where he was trying to spark a Texas comeback with aggressive drives to the lane, going for steals, etc. At the same time, he was one of the guys who helped too far off a white-hot Bane and he had as many turnovers as assists. Some of those high risk/reward passes he connects on weren’t connecting and it led to transition opportunities the other way.

The Bad

Transition Defense

The problem with playing at TCU’s tempo is that TCU is better at it than Texas. Whether it was in transition or due to TCU beating the press, the Horned Frogs repeatedly got open shots on Texas before the Longhorns got back and set defensively. There was one possession where I saw four Texas players point at the same guy, which, uh, great, but he was behind them and zero of them actually covered the dude. The end result was a layup. Texas slowed the tempo in the second half, but that only fixed one problem. The other problem?

Help Defense

Texas pulled off the rare feat of not helping when they needed to help and helping off when they shouldn’t have. It’s an impressive lack of recognition to help off one of the best shooters in the Big 12 when he’s going nuts from deep, yet somehow Desmond Bane kept getting daylight. Defensive intelligence was, uhm, lacking today.

First Half Rebounding

Texas got doubled up on rebounds in the first half which helped TCU flip the scoreboard. TCU has athletes and some guys who rebound well, but they’re not North Carolina. Go get some rebounds, Longhorns.

Apologies for the late recap, but my phone went a smidgen crazy after the loss with all sorts of rumors, invective, and rumors filled with invective so it’s been a bit distracting. You’re going to hear a lot of things in the coming days and many of them are likely wildly inaccurate, so turn up your BS detector to full power. I will do my best to relay what I can verify, and I’m not really interested in being the person to break news so hopefully I can can slice through the fog to keep people informed. Things are really...interesting in Austin right now. That’s about all I’m willing to say.

Texas’ next game as the 6-seed in the Big 12 tourney is against 3-seed Kansas. Most years this would feel like a terrible matchup, but Texas has played Kansas well this year so it’s probably a better game than if the Longhorns were playing Tech or Kansas State. This game could decide whether Texas is in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. Tip is 8 PM-ish CT - 30 minutes after the earlier game ends - on ESPN2.

EDIT: Programming note; I’ll be working during the Texas/Kansas game, so the recap might be very late or the next morning depending on how work goes.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by A Sides.