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Bricking From the Corner: Baylor 59, Texas 44

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Baylor Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

If you listened to either my talk on Horn FM or our Pretend We’re Football episode this week, you knew what I thought was happening tonight. The idea that Texas was going to go into Waco - a place Texas hasn’t won in years - and beating a Baylor squad which was one 14-1 Washington run from being undefeated was far-fetched at best. Baylor is rolling, Texas is...not. Baylor has won 9 straight, Texas has....not. Scott Drew, the human equivalent of a condom you find at the bottom of a swinger’s club jacuzzi four weeks after it was shut down for health code violations, has the Bears loaded for...uhh, bear. Scott Drew may look like the guy who sells USB drives full of feet JPGs exactly 501 feet outside a local junior high but he’s got Baylor ready to fight for a conference title. There’s a non-zero chance Scott Drew has told your third-hottest cousin he could be deployed “any day now” before asking for an over-the-clothes patdown, but he’s built a good program in Waco. I’m not saying Scott Drew has a warehouse in Da Nang designed to confuse small Vietnamese children into weaving subpar hair plugs for his ever-deepening widows peaks, but he sure knows how to mine the transfer market. There’s no truth to the rumor Scott Drew buys black market Viagra because deep down he knows he doesn’t deserve erections, but he can put together a depth chart with the best of them. Any way Texas lost.

The Good

Jericho Sims

Jericho Sims put the same sort of effort into rebounding that Scott Drew puts into defrauding your grandmother of health insurance coverage, which is to say exhaustive. Sims had another double-double, battled the Bears in nearly every area you could imagine, and was the player of the game for Texas. Sims defended the rim smartly, played most of the game and was never in real foul trouble. The fact Texas was even in the ballpark of Baylor on offensive rebounds in the first ~25 minutes was all Sims. There are two players who I’m fine with on this team and Sims is one of them.

Kamaka Hepa

I saw Hepa was in the starting lineup and I reacted like Scott Drew seeing Chris Hansen in his living room for the third time this year, a moment of terror mixed with resignation that I was about to watch my existential demise. Credit to Hepa though, he was largely up for the challenge. His defense was solid - he blocked a couple of early second-half shots like Scott Drew blocks international players from getting their resident visas when they want to play somewhere else - and he was communicative as always on the defensive end. It would help if he was a bit quicker to pull the trigger on his shot, but he makes quick decisions on the offensive end and the ball rarely sticks with him. Hepa led the team with three assists, which is bordering on damning with faint praise, much in the same way Scott Drew told his daughter she was “one of the smartest girls at the Waco High School prom”.

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman wasn’t 100% for this game, but you couldn’t tell it based upon his play. He controlled the ball, made smart reads, and generally took good shots. Shaka pulling him when he got two fouls in the first half was a questionable decision, like when Scott Drew decided to buy all his suits from the DXL Big & Tall store despite being 5’10” on a good day. From that point, Baylor pushed the lead to 13 going into halftime and Texas was facing a deficit bigger than the hole in Scott Drew’s soul where a moral compass normally resides. Coleman was the only player capable of running the point tonight and he wasn’t able to help much from the sidelines.

Defense

For all the issues scoring, Texas was excellent on the defensive end. Baylor shot 32% from two, 29% from three, and the Texas defense harassed most of their shots like Scott Drew harasses the kids who don’t vote his kids into Model UN. Not that he believes in Model UN as he thinks treaties are a sign of socialism, but he wants his kids to be the Stalin instead of on the bread line. He’s a family man.

It’s Complicated

Three-Point Shooting

Yes, Texas was 3-15 from three, but man...a lot of those misses were wide open shots. Texas got into the lane reliably and put together offensive plays that resulted in open threes that just flat missed. Only a couple of those 15 shots were under duress; if Texas reliably got that quality of open threes they would be happier than Scott Drew at a QAnon rally. The shots didn’t fall, but the execution leading to most of them was sound.

The Bad

Courtney Ramey layups

How is a dude this good at basketball this bad at finishing at the rim? It’s honestly perplexing; I wonder about it the same way Scott Drew wonders what shame feels like, as a third-party observer with no relation to the subject at hand.

The Little Things

The general rule of thumb: if you’re looking to upset a top-ten team on the road, you need to win in the margins. You need to hit your free throws, you need to fight for rebounds, you need to drive the lane and convert at the rim. There were at least four different moments where Texas hitting a shot or hitting free throws resulting from the shot were a huge chunk of the scoring margin. For example: there was a point where Texas was down 40-34 and Texas gets Jase Febres a wide open three. His feet were set, he rose up & fired; the shot bounced out, Baylor takes the rebound the other way and hits a shot. Instead of 40-37 it’s 42-34; Texas had a handful of these moments and didn’t convert. It was more frustrating than Scott Drew trying to find joy in a hobby that doesn’t involve strangling a kitten.

Rebounding

Jericho Sims’ work on the boards obscured some of the significant disparities on the glass. Baylor still got an offensive rebound on 42% of their possible possessions, which is a sure way to kill an upset bid. It’s more sure than Scott Drew renting The Passion of The Christ and laughing at all the wrong moments. Texas was never going to win the rebounding battle, but the non-Sims players got slaughtered.

Free Throws

Any game where Andrew Jones and Jase Febres combine for 4-9 from the free throw line is going to be a loss, period. I would be happy to be proven wrong in the future, but I don’t see a situation where it happens. Just a brutal night from the line.

Next up for Texas is a home game against Oklahoma on Wednesday, a must win even though it’s early in the season. If Texas loses this game, there’s a very real chance they start 1-5 in Big 12 play. Tip 8 PM CT on ESPN2.

BWG’s writing tunes provided by Krafty Kuts.