Game thoughts: Kansas rematch

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

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

Texas – 67
Kansas – 77
ESPN Box Score

Overall Game Thoughts

For what felt like the 29th time in 29 games this season, Texas competed, kept it close and – ultimately – doomed themselves as their own worst enemy in a home loss to Kansas that looks fine enough in the box score but is underlined by a roster that struggles so much with simple **** that you question how they progress from here.

Offense:

Six airballed threes. SIX!

Fifteen turnovers. Fifteen!

Eight turnovers by Roach and Jones. Eight!

Three of 16 from three. 3-16!

From the beginning of this season, I forlorned the notion that Shaka was going to run the same offense he would next season. Well, forlorned might be the wrong word.

Convinced, maybe?

And run next season’s offense he has.

It’s a calculated enough play. As soon as he knew this season was going to head into the ****ter, it arguably became the most thoughtful play he could have made: indoctrinate the roster to what they’d be primarily running next year with the inclusion of some recruits (and the subtraction of a few players).

Theoretically it fits.

Practically, however? This offense has served in direct conflict to the strengths of many (most?) of Texas’ backcourt players.

So, instead, while the Longhorns may well be more comfortable with the offense, they also have lost so many close games that the question of mental fortitude will be staring Shaka in the face nine months from now when Texas kicks off next season.

So many silly turnovers. So many missed open threes.

That’s who we are.

Defense:

Texas fought well enough here, but I’m going to pick on Roach and Jones again, here.

As capable as both guys are, physically, I don’t know how many times Kerwin’s and Andrew’s lack of spatial awareness has directly led to three point makes from the opponent this season.

When Javan was doing that over the last four years, at least we could blame his stature/lack of explosiveness.

But now? This is about paying attention to your assignment and being cognizant of the things your team can least afford to give up.

In this case, it was the timely three pointers that KU got over and over.

Texas gets within seven early in the second? Jones loses Graham and it’s up to 10. They get it to seven again moments later? Roach loses Graham and it’s back up to 10.

That, also, is who we are.

A Look at the Numbers:

Kansas shot 45.8% (25-57) overall, 31.6% (6-19) from three and 77.3% (17-22) from the line.

Texas shot 47.3% (26-55) overall, 18.8% (3-16) from three and 70.6% (12-17) from the line.

Kansas had more rebounds (34-30), more assists (14-8) and fewer turnovers (11-15).

Star of the Game: Jarrett Allen

For the second time this year, Jarrett was arguably the best player on the floor in a matchup against Kansas.

Stud (20 points and 11 rebounds).

The Endgame:

I know I’m not telling Texas fans anything they don’t know, but the danger zone Shaka finds himself in is a daunting one.

Coach Smart can tell you as clearly as anybody that the mental makeup of a team matter just as much as the skillset does.

And the mental makeup for this entire team (save, possibly, Jarrett) is one of fragility.

It doesn’t matter how well they know the offense if they can’t be trusted in tough moments.

It doesn’t matter their athleticism if they can’t execute against aggressive defenses.

It doesn’t matter…well, at this point, Shaka is hoping this season doesn’t matter.