Oklahoma State returns to Gallagher Iba Arena for its first match-up with the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.
Texas, like a lot of teams in the league this year, is dangerous enough to beat just about anybody, but flawed enough to lose to anyone too.
To help learn a little more about this Longhorn team, I talked to Dustin McComas of Orange Bloods about Texas’ talent on defense, what they do well on offense, and why the Longhorns haven’t been able to get that “big win” yet this season.
Phillip Slavin: Texas is one of the best defensive teams in the country, holding opponents to an average of 63.7 points per game. What makes the Longhorns so good on the defensive side of the ball?Dustin McComas: Kerwin Roach II is often a terrific on and off-ball defender capable of making life miserable for the opposition’s best guard, and creating positive plays away from his man. Then, there’s the big guy – Mohamed Bamba. The freshman from Harlem, New York is probably the best shot-blocker in the nation with an almost unbelievable 7-9 wingspan that’s complimented by impeccable timing and impressive athleticism. Bamba is capable of switching against anyone in the pick-and-roll. The Longhorns, as a coaching staff, do a good job with their scouting and game-plans, and the roster is athletic with length.
PS: Texas is the lowest scoring team in the Big 12 at 72.4 points-per-game. That being said, what do they do well on the offensive end?
DM: When the Longhorns are aggressive, especially in transition, they can score. They have stretches when the ball moves inside and out quickly, and when they attack the rim. That’s when they’re at their best. However, their main problems are they’re not a good three-point shooting team and too often they struggle with the amount of freedom they’re given on offense, which leads to passing around the perimeter and a lack of dribble-drive against zone defenses or defenses that pack it inside to take away post-entry feeds. Rather than force the ball inside with the pass or dribble, they settle for moving it around the perimeter, which often leads to late-clock contested shots and a lack of offensive rebound chances when everyone in the gym knows a bad shot is coming.
Plus, not having Andrew Jones, who is Texas’s best perimeter shooter and shot-creator, really hurts the offense.PS: While Texas has five losses on the season, they were in every single one of those games. Every single loss was by single digits including the games to ranked teams; Kansas, Duke, and Gonzaga. What is keeping Texas from getting over the hump in these games?
DM: Texas is athletic and talented, but it also started three freshmen last game and called upon two others off the bench. It doesn’t yet understand and implement the kind of mental and physical effort required over 40 minutes to beat good teams, and most recently, late-game offensive execution has been an issue. Plus, Texas’s junior players need to be above average or better consistently to help support young roster, and they haven’t been, especially recently.