Game thoughts: Big 12 Tournament – West Virginia

Jarrett Allen with the flush versus Iowa State. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Jarrett Allen with the flush versus Iowa State. (Will Gallagher/IT)

FREE premium access for a month then discounted access for the Horns’ entire 2017 football season! Register at http://bit.ly/SpringFBpromo

Texas – 53
West Virginia – 63
ESPN Box Score

Overall Game Thoughts

Texas’ worst season in my lifetime is officially, thankfully, mercifully, undeniably over.

Thank goodness.

Offense:

Two things first: 1) the shooting from this team was bad to the point of being inconquerable; 2) the lack of tangible offensive leadership never got better even to the point of being less than crushing.

Surprisingly enough, the press break wasn’t terrific, but it also wasn’t the reason Texas got beat. The Longhorns’ guards were able to protect the ball well enough to get into their half court sets.

The biggest issues, though, was that WVU was able to consistently take Texas out of their looks by trapping/high pressing off hedges.

This prompted a few different troubles: first, we saw Davis/Roach/Jones/Yancy struggle turning the corner (hey, at least they’re consistent); second, it even led to players retreating out to 30+ feet with some regularity meaning that if they were able to turn the corner, help defense had more than enough time to adjust; lastly, when Texas did finally get paint touches, they played with more anxiety than they did composure, throwing up wild shots at the rim that had very little chance of going in.

Then, when you extrapolate those problems within the already established issue that Texas’ guards simply can’t shoot given the circumstances (the Longhorns’ backcourt players combined to shoot 12/40 and 7/16 from the foul line), there just weren’t any answers, comparably to what we’ve all seen over this cluster**** of a year.

Defense:

When the Mountaineers hit their first five three point shots, there was a little voice that whispered “There’s no way we can handle WVU is they’re shooting well…”

And there wasn’t.

Things had to be perfect for Texas, defensively, and even then UT was going to have to get some good fortune from West Virginia missing some decent looks.

They didn’t and Texas’ weren’t able to slow down WVU’s own solid point guard.

It was too bad, too, because Texas, collectively, did a nice job of playing defense with their feet and using rotation to keep West Virginia’s secondary ball handlers out of the paint.

It also helped that James Banks had one of his best games of the season, defensively, which allowed Jarrett to roam around more and limited the need to play Shaq big minutes against a team whose style is just about worse case scenario for the Bahama big man.

There’s more to write, here, about the individuals and what they did/didn’t/can/can’t bring, but that’ll be left for a different day.

A Look at the Numbers:

West Virginia shot 42.6% (24-56) overall, 53.8% (7-13) from three and 50% (10-20) from the line.

Texas shot 35.1% (20-57) overall, 29.4% (5-17) from three and 42.1% (8-19) from the line.

West Virginia had more rebounds (42-39), more assists (15-11) and fewer turnovers (11-14).

Star of the Game: Andrew Jones

I’m excited to see what he can do as a true combo guard next year when he won’t have to worry about being a primary playmaker.

I think he’s going to combine with Coleman to make one hell of a backcourt duo.

Tonight was fine enough (13 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block), and nobody else played all that well, really (though Banks was as active as he’s shown all season), but I think Jones is on the verge of making something pretty special happen next year.

Here’s hoping that plays out like it looks like it will.

The Endgame:

What’s an ending befitting of this team?

Was it this?

Could something else have been more appropriate?

What makes this season all the more frustrating is that the roster is dotted with players who probably can be difference makers at some point, but the makeup was so random and ill-fitting that it often looked like five guys who had no idea how to find their own confluence.

I wish it would have been a better year, but, as always, I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to share my passion for Texas basketball with you all.

This community makes the work fun.

Thank you, friends.