Basketball

Game Thoughts: KU 86, Texas 56

Isaiah Taylor vs Kansas. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Isaiah Taylor vs Kansas. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Overall Game Thoughts by Tim Preston

Somehow saying that everything that could go wrong, did, just isn’t enough to explain the total destruction that was the Kansas game in Austin tonight.

Texas, with a chance to make a statement to their fans, the conference, the world…did.

The problem was that the message was that they weren’t ready to play in what could have been the most important game of the year.

Offense:

This is a team that feeds off of confidence and positivity. Unfortunately, they also also feed off of negativity.

There was plenty of the latter in this one.

While Kansas was busy making 7 of their first 9 field goal attempts, the Longhorns decided they’d go ahead and miss their first 13 from the field and then stretch that out into only 1 make in their first 18 shots. Before the Longhorns could blink, it was 28-9, then 42-19 and the game was done with 29 minutes to play.

Schematically, there wasn’t much special from Kansas’ standpoint.

The fact of the matter is pretty simple. Taylor wasn’t ready to go and the rest of the Longhorns are a bunch of one-dimensional players.

Felix tried to take the action into the paint, but he’s the most physically limited player on the team. Davis tried to take the action into the paint, but he’s still figuring out how to score in the lane, consistently, at this level.

Lammert can’t do it. Holland can’t shoot. Prince brought his boxing mitts instead of pass catching hands. Roach still gets too high with the dribble.

Kansas has the ability to match Texas athlete for athlete and were playing against a Longhorn team that just doesn’t have the individual playmakers to hurt a defense with the ball in their hand in one-on-one situations.

So Kansas looked, defensively, like they always do against one-dimensional teams. And that’s dominant.

Defense:

Even on off shooting nights the Jayhawks’ ball movement and ability to find playmaking/passing from their big men into the low post is impressive. When they shoot like they did tonight, there’s just not a bunch opponents can do.

It was a polar opposite of what plagued the Longhorns.

Stuck without playmakers of their own, Texas struggled to contain any of KU’s scorers off the bounce as Ellis, Mason and Graham combined to score 47 points on 23 shots.

Over and over and over Ellis was able to catch at the elbow, back down his man and score. Over and over and over Mason was able to create spacing with his change of pace and score from deep. Over and over and over Graham was the beneficiary of great player movement into open spots on the perimeter.

Texas looked shell shocked from their own offensive ineptitude and Kansas just took the momentum and hammered the Horns with run outs off of missed shots and early shot making against lethargic defense.

DeMarcus Holland against KU. (Will Gallagher/IT)
DeMarcus Holland against KU. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Well done, Kansas.

A Look at the Numbers:

Kansas shot 64% (32-50) overall, 68.8% (11-16) from three, and 45.8% (11-24) from the line.

Texas shot 30.2% (19-63) overall, 23.1% (3-13) from three, and 60% (15-25) from the line.

Both teams had 36 rebounds while Kansas had more assists (16-3) and Texas had one fewer turnover (13-14).

Star of the Game: Javan Felix

Holland played his heart out. Ibeh did some nice things on the glass. Roach gave good energy.

But Javan was the only player on the floor for Texas that one could argue gave a normal performance. The 5’9” guard from New Orleans has taken his fair share of flak from UT fans (some deserved, some less so), but to see him play with the kind of purpose and poise he did tonight was nice.

Four years ago, when Myck Kabongo was busy taking impermissible gifts from an agent and then lying about it, Felix stepped into the void to try to keep Texas afloat. He couldn’t do it then, just as he didn’t tonight. But nothing has ever changed his attitude.

And, for that, Texas fans are thankful for what he’s meant to this team in what has been a rough four year period. Well done, Javan.

The Endgame:

That was tough to watch. We’ll just leave it at that. As is the case with any destruction in the manner of this one, the big question is what happens next.

Texas heads to Stillwater on Friday night with plenty to play for. Big 12 seeding is important for next week with a chance at building some momentum and getting as many minutes for Ridley as are possible (should he be able to come back for the Kansas City games).

But how does a team come back from this?

You’d have to feel for these seniors if they just felt as if their heart was ripped out. They were finally living up to their promise. The chance to bring Texas basketball back.

And then, this…Nobody to blame but themselves, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. Good luck, Shaka and Co. Y’all are going to have your work cut out for you this week.

Sorry for the ****ty game prediction, friends.