Texas’ win in Tuscaloosa against a ‘Bama team which refused to read the tea leaves of collapsing on defense allowed the Longhorns to grab their second true road win of the season.
Here are some takeaways from the victory…
- Kerwin Roach moves less on defense than he glides. I’ve never seen a more natural, fluid mover on defense than him. It’s truly as if screens don’t ever make contact with him. It’s that ability to be in-effected by ball screens, coupled with his length/lateral quickness/explosiveness, that is going to make him a nightmare for every opposing team’s best perimeter player.
- Let’s not sleep on the defensive job Coleman did on Sexton whenever Roach was out of the game. Matt’s solid, purposeful approach to defense matches his offensive skill set: utilize your God-given attributes (long arms, quick feet, never-say-die-attitude) with an understanding of where defensive principles that come when playing with the best shot blocker in the country protecting the rim. I’m not saying that Sexton’s “injury” was a result of how badly he was shut down by Kerwin and Matt, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
- I mentioned it in the game thread, but don’t be fooled by Bamba’s stat line (17 points on 7-10 shooting) and believe that he’s figured out the offensive side of the ball yet. The issues were still there: getting pushed off the block; not maintaining seals; struggles in the 6 to 10 foot range from the basket as a decision maker. That stuff was still all there. What was better was that A) Bama played almost no 2-3 zone and collapsed pretty rarely; B) Texas put him in multiple situations where he was a catch and react player around the rim. Mo can be high usage, but he’s not a back down his opponent kind of player. He can move in the half court. He can obviously finish way above the rim in traffic and in space. He showed terrific timing as a second chance rebounder. He even cashed all three of his free throws. Jarrett, last year, found his sweet spot in the 13-17 foot range as a shooter/playmaker. Hopefully this game is a sign that Mo (and the collective team around him) are figuring out his sweet spot as well.
- The teeter-totter that is Eric Davis shot back into the atmosphere in this game. His game-winning contributions against VCU were quickly dashed in the home, stinker loss to Michigan only to come back last night as a dagger thrower against his former teammate’s new home (WE ARE ALL LOOKING AT YOU, TEVIN!). It’s games like yesterday that justify Shaka not giving up on him, and also really exemplify the need for Eric to get his emotional **** together and help this program to become a consistent winner again.
- Jacob is making good decisions with the ball more often than not (a stark improvement from last year). Now we need for him to make good decisions with his shot selections more often that not. Jacob’s been at his best this season when he’s been a facilitator (whodathunk?) and only a release valve shooter. He needs to embrace that role because the rest of the team needs that second guy to take some pressure off of Coleman, even after Andrew returns.
I hope all of you have the most blessed of holiday seasons.
And, to everybody who celebrates it, Merry Christmas!