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Shooting From the Corner: Texas 70, Kansas State 59

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Texas v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Texas is on a winning streak? In conference play? Sure, it’s against two of the worst teams in the conference, but given the lineups Texas is having to roll out right now, any win is a good win. Texas has swept two of its conference foes this year and could still sweep Oklahoma State at the end of the season. This game wasn’t as close as the final score indicates, Texas was up by 17-20 for most of the second half.

The Good

Courtney Ramey

At halftime, the score was Kansas State 23, Courtney Ramey 21. This was the Ramey I had hoped to see this season; aggressively driving to the paint, hitting runners, and knocking down a few threes. His 4-9 mark from deep brought him over 30% on the season and he’s shooting 35% from three in conference play. Ramey really stepped up with Coleman being limited by injury.

Half-Court Defense

Kansas State isn’t exactly peak Villanova, but Texas made them work for every bucket. Texas turned the Wildcats over 17 times and held them scoreless for an eight-minute span in the middle of the game. It was that section where Texas pulled away and the defense was the main reason it happened.

Team Effort

Both Texas and Kansas State have relatively few reasons to get up for this game, KSU even fewer as they’re guaranteed a losing record on the year and unlikely to even end up in the CBI. Texas seemed like the only team who really cared about this game in the first half, and it showed in the halftime score. The Texas players still care and they’re still trying when it would be entirely understandable if they folded on the year. It makes the games a bit easier to watch & write about, all things considered.

Brock Cunningham, Murderball Enthusiast

This is the third straight game Cunningham has ended up locked up with another player and the opposing player ending up on the ground. He’s like a younger, smaller, more likeable Bill Laimbeer.

It’s Complicated

Will Baker

Now that the monkey is off his back, Baker is in attack mode. Sometimes it works really well, like when he drove and dunked over a defender in the first half. Other times he still makes freshman mistakes, throwing the ball away and getting charges when he doesn’t stop in time. The good thing is that his errors this game were generally errors of aggression, and if a player is making mistakes then I’d rather they be because he was trying to make something happen.

Matt Coleman

I appreciate Coleman being a gamer and trying to play with a bruised heel, but he’s pretty clearly not feeling right. They hid him offensively, running the point through Ramey and Andrew Jones more often, and on defense you could see him not wanting to plant that heel. West Virginia is likely to go hard after him on Monday to see if he’s up for it.

The Bad

Kamaka Hepa

You didn’t foul get to see much foul from Hepa foul on account of foul him not being able to stay on the court. It was a rough day for the Alaskan.

Turnovers

About the only thing the Wildcats do really well on defense is force turnovers, and they did it to Texas today. The Longhorns turned the ball over 18 times and probably 40% of them were preventable. If Texas takes care of the ball, they win this game by 25-30.

Press Offense

A team with this many guards should handle a press better than they do. The only thing that kept Kansas State even remotely in contact in the second half was them trapping in the full-court and forcing a series of turnovers. Texas needs to be better at making decisions with the ball back there, it doesn’t exactly give me warm fuzzies going into a game against the Mountaineers.

Texas’ next game is on Monday vs the West Virginia Mountineers. They’re a bad match-up for Texas even at full strength, but the post depth issues are going to make this really problematic. What might make this a winnable game is WVU being pretty bad away from home this year; they’re 1-6 on the road in the Big 12 and just lost to TCU in Fort Worth. Tip is 6 PM CT on ESPNU.