Preston’s Game Thoughts: KSU

Kerwin Roach II with the up and under (Will Gallagher/IT)

Kerwin Roach II with the up and under (Will Gallagher/IT)

Texas 62, Kansas State 65 (Box Score)

A terrific first five minutes…a furious last five minute rally…and 30 minutes of yuck in between saw the Longhorns lose their first conference game on the road in Manhattan, KS.

Some nice moments, but not enough to make this anything more than a winnable game that was wasted because of poor execution and decision making.

Offense:

If you’re looking for a tangible example of how the lack of a playmaking guard hurts Texas, this game was a prime one.

Kansas State played as vanilla a defensive game plan as they could have: straight up man the entire game; low weak side help on penetration; ball side wing help on post entries; very little switching; very little rim protection from weak side low block.

Nothing special at all.

Which is fine if you feel like you can out execute your opponent.

Clearly, that was the thought process for Coach Weber and, clearly, he was right.

Over and over KSU’s defenders were able to clog the lane in help and, over and over, Texas’ ball handlers weren’t able to either A) turn the corner in time on the hedge; or B) make KSU pay for helping away and creating spacing for jumpers or cutters.

J’Covan Brown would have eaten this KSU defense up. Not to mention what Ford or Augustin would have done.

But none of those guys are on this team. And Roach and Jones, for as much as both of those guys have made some strides (and they both have), just don’t possess that innate ability to read a defense and create open shots depending on how a defense helps.

So KSU could be vanilla and not worry much about the outcome.

That and Texas turned over the ball 17 times (including 12 live-ball turnovers).

Texas’ bench was weak (what’s new?). Jones and Roach didn’t value the ball well enough (what’s new?). Mack had yet another game where he didn’t show the kind of strength he needs to when looking to finish at the rim (what’s new?). The three ball wasn’t falling (what’s new?).

You get the idea.

Defense:

Jeckyll and Hyde.

With the exception of how often Texas fouled KSU, it was a masterful defensive game from Texas.

They stayed solid against screens and held their own without putting Shaq or Jarrett into too many difficult situations on switches. They got a positive rebounding effort from Allen and Cleare and limited KSU to only 26% offensive rebounding numbers. They held the Wildcats to only 25% shooting from deep (13% below their season average).

All nice things.

But the fouls.

The ****ing fouls.

The ****ing stupid ****ing fouls.

This team is young, through and through.

Playing aggressive is great, but you can’t foul a team 40 feet from the basket when they’re not making a play to be hawkish towards the rim.

Well, Texas did foul them…26 times…and gave up 33 foul shots…and KSU made 26 of them.

Roach fouled out for the second game in a row. Six other Texas players committed three or more fouls.

I get that it’s a learning curve for the young guys (and everybody’s young), but fouls are avoidable with awareness and positional integrity.

Those weren’t there tonight and they got burned because of it.

Which turned an otherwise impressive defensive performance into a frustrating loss.

A Look at the Numbers:

Kansas State shot 36.2% (17-47) overall, 25% (5-20) from three, and 78.8% (26-33) from the line.

Texas shot 46.3% (24-54) overall, 27.8% (5-17) from three, and 58.3% (7-12) from the line.

Texas had more rebounds (36-29) while KSU had more assists (14-12) and fewer turnovers (14-17).

Star of the Game: Jarrett Allen

This kid’s the real deal.

While it’s easy to get caught up in Texas’ lack of success, W/L wise, Allen’s ability to generate offense out of his own looks in face up opportunities is rare among freshmen big men, no matter what program you’re talking about.

He’s becoming more aggressive as a rebounder, is taking on more and more of a playmaking role on offense (his four turnovers were as much an indicator of his work rate as they were of poor play). It’s fun to watch.

Unluckily for Texas, the better he plays, the more likely it is that Texas will get a lone season with him on the squad, which will be squandered by a poor record.

Pity.

Nice game from the big man (14 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block).

The Endgame:

Turnovers and ****ty defensive awareness sabotaged what could have been a nice game for Texas to build some momentum.

KSU’s not all that good.

Texas, obviously, isn’t either.

They host OSU on Wednesday, who had a rough first league outing of their own today at home against West Virginia.

Can Texas figure out Evans and Forte as well as the Mountaineers did?

If they foul like they did tonight, it won’t be pretty. That much is for certain.

*Sigh*

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