If around 905 PM CT you heard the distant sound of air escaping, that was me finally relaxing. A Texas team which is facing a serious crisis of faith put together a good enough game to close out a home win against Kansas State, 64-50. This is not to say I think things are on the right track or that the major problems with the team are resolved, but it is a relief that Texas avoided a loss which could have sent things spiraling beyond a question of “if Texas is a NIT or NCAA team” and into the level of “why would the CBI even offer them a spot”. In a season full of worrying signs, sometimes taking care of who you’re supposed to is enough to relax for one night.
Let’s be clear on one thing: Kansas State is a bad basketball team. Whatever you think of Texas, the Wildcats are a worse version of the Longhorns in nearly every regard and this is especially true on the offensive end. The Wildcats do not do anything well offensively, so it’s fair for you to wonder how much of this defensive display is the Wildcats shooting themselves in the foot versus Texas being locked in. The answer is a bit of both, but KSU isn’t going to have that many shots blocked or that many 30-second violations unless the Longhorns are on their ass. Texas forced 18 turnovers, blocked 9 shots, and Kansas State had at least five shot clock violations in the second half alone. It took Kansas State ~8 minutes to get on the board in the second half and that was due to a goaltend. Texas shut them down for large chunks of the game.
10 points, 2-5 from three, three rebounds, two assists, and four blocks from the junior. He drove the ball some, handled the ball some, took mostly good threes. It wasn’t the flashiest night, but he contributed in a lot of ways.
I might have put him in here even if he was bad because I’m not above being petty, but he was once again the best ballhandler on the team. He had half the assists (4) as Courtney Ramey but a quarter of the turnovers (1) and it wasn’t because he was more tentative with the ball. He went 2-5 from three which brings him down to a paltry 44% from deep on the season. Maybe Will Baker could give him some tips. It amazes me that he’s not playing 38 minutes a night considering every time he goes to the bench the offense goes to shit. Well, goes further to shit. Instead of being kinda ass it becomes Kim Kardashian the day after Thanksgiving. Coleman and Sims can play with anybody in this league, the rest of the team....uhh, well, I’m sure they’re all fine young men with great personalities. It’s not them, it’s me, or something.
Hepa went 2-3 from three, grabbed four rebounds, and played decent defense against a team who doesn’t have the types of players that can punish his limited athleticism. Why do I bring this up? No reason, definitely not thinking ahead to Cameron McGriff next week. Nope, no sir, complete coincidence.
Will Baker Making a Three
Yes, it was a bank shot.
No, it shouldn’t have gone in.
I don’t care, he needed that in the worst way. He’s now up to a scintillating 5.88% from three, so go off king.
Ramey got the start as Shaka finally decided it was more important to win games than send a message to one of his five best players and Courtney did a lot of things well tonight; his stat line looks pretty solid with 11 points including 3-5 from three, 8 assists. Having said that, he had four turnovers that easily could have been more. He has a tendency to end his drives in the dunking spot, which if you’re not familiar is where the bigs will stand when certain plays get run. Think of it as being on the baseline and halfway between the rim and the corner 3; this is pretty clearly not where you want a drive to end. In fact, it’s one of the dead spots Luke Yaklich likes his defenses to push a guard. Against a better team this is murder, and will be murder if he doesn’t clean it up. Also I don’t understand how a guy as talented as him isn’t better at finishing layups. He’s smart enough to get to the rim and athletic enough to dunk, yet he lays the ball up to the rim like he’s afraid to hurt its feelings.
Texas came into the game converting less than 65% of their free throws and responded by going 6-12 from the line. Baker shot free throws like they were threes, missing all four. For a guy who is supposedly a good shooter, he sure doesn’t make many shots.
Texas turned the ball over on 31% of its possessions tonight and it was every kind of turnover you can think of. Bad passes, balls being picked out of their hands, you name it and it was probably in there. There were enough times Texas guards left their feet before deciding what to do with the ball that we could make a ‘One Shining Moment’ parody montage from this game alone. Matt Coleman remains the only ballhandler who doesn’t force me into seizures with his decision-making.
The next game is at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are currently reeling, having lost 6 of their last 8 and struggling to an 0-3 record in the conference, and if you thought Texas was bad from three you should see their stats.
This of course means they will hit 65% of their threes against Texas. The game is on Wednesday, tip time is 7 PM on ESPN+. Yes, you have to download an app to watch this game. No, it’s not free. I’m sure our ABC overlords will appreciate the tens of subscriptions they pick up for this game, or in my case the one month I’ll pay for the app which will cover this and the TCU game later this month. In 2008 when I said I wanted a la carte cable options, this is not what I meant.
BWG’s writing tunes provided by George Libe.