Preston’s Game Thoughts: TCU

Jacob Young lays it in (Will Gallagher/IT)

Jacob Young lays it in (Will Gallagher/IT)

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Texas – 61
TCU – 64
ESPN Box Score

Overall Game Thoughts

When little things turn into big things. That’s been the single, most exhaustive issue for a Texas team that can’t get out of their own way this season.

More than the lack of a true point guard.

More than the lack of veteran leadership.

More than any systemic issues.

It’s the little things.

And, in their aggregation, how those little things become big.

Offense:

It’s easy to point to the turnovers, so we will.

At one point in the second half, with Texas up seven after a Jacob Young layup, the Longhorns then went on this run of possessions: turnover…turnover…missed three…turnover…turnover…missed three…missed three…missed layup. It was a run that saw TCU go from seven down to five up and, ostensibly, cost Texas the game.

It should have been a wave of momentum. It should have been an opportunity for the Longhorns to maintain/extend their lead.

But they couldn’t. They just couldn’t.

And, in their inability, they dropped a game they should have won against a team they should beat.

Seventeen turnovers (four by Roach, who took a sizable step backwards after last week’s two fine outings). Only 10 assists on 24 made field goals. Only five offensive rebounds on 32 missed shots. Only 11 trips to the foul line against an aggressive man defense. Shooting 1-8 from deep in the second half.

Little stuff becoming big.

Defense:

Two things were obvious.

First, Texas wanted to put pressure on TCU’s ball handlers by trapping on ball screen action from the tip. That makes sense considering TCU’s own issues with turnovers (they had 17 of their own).

However, that doubling of the ball handler meant that somebody was going to have to defend two TCU players in space. This left somebody, often Jones or Allen, on an island close to the basket only to have to close out on an otherwise open shooter and TCU burned them to start the game, knocking down their first four three point baskets in running out to an early lead that Texas shouldn’t have surrendered in the first place.

Second, as the game wore on, Texas was flat out-hustled by their TCU counterparts. Diving for loose balls. Chasing down long rebounds. Boxing out on free throws.

That stuff’s about bringing energy and making winning happen, not simply expecting it to happen because of what’s on the front of your jersey.

One of those two things is fixable (Texas was much better about where they positioned their spatial defender in the second half in a nice adjustment from Shaka.

The other is not.

Being young teeters somewhere between reason and excuse, but wins and losses don’t care about excuses.

Little stuff becoming big.

A Look at the Numbers:

TCU shot 44.8% (26-58) overall, 25% (6-24) from three, and 60% (6-10) from the line.

Texas shot 42.9% (24-56) overall, 28.6% (4-14) from three, and 81.8% (9-11) from the line.

TCU had more rebounds (36-32) and assists (16-10) while both teams had 17 turnovers.

Star of the Game: Jarrett Allen

The good news is that it was Jarrett’s turn to make better of his game after a rough week against OSU and ISU.

The ****ty news is that the rest of the team dropped their game accordingly.

For Jarrett, though, we saw a player who was aggressive and intelligent for one of the first times all season.

When Jarrett can explode because he reads the play and plays with patience, he’s got the court savvy and ball skills to be excellent around the basket and on dives off the pick and roll.

It was in effect tonight as he was better off of catches and in his ability to read a defense that wasn’t consistent in their doubling, even after a big first half from both Jarrett and Shaq.

Defensively, he had issues against physicality/strength, but that ain’t changing and his length and energy was still very good.

Good game from the young big man (18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal).

The Endgame:

You get angry. That’s what losing does to everybody. The coaching staff. The players. The fans (especially the fans who have the least power to change it of anybody).

I want these guys to play better.

I want these guys to play more consistently.

I want Jacob Young to not ****ing have to make six bad plays before making one good one and finally settling down.

I want…I want to not go through rough patches for sports teams that I care so deeply about.

I don’t blame any of you for not watching. I’ll keep writing the articles and you’re welcome to substitute that for your own watching should that be your choice.

Or you can watch along with me and cling to whatever hope you can find that a prep point guard in Virginia is ready to be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Help me, Obi-Matt Coleman-i, you’re my only hope.

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