Texas vs ISU

  • Anyone else watch this game?

    Pretty amazing spectacle.

    Lots of lessons to be learned here, if we didn’t learn them at Ames and Austin.

    I know I’ve called the Cyclones a “gimmick team” in a previous post. I have to admit my own personal frustration because the Mayor is the only one in our conference that truly understands x-axis basketball. It definitely isn’t a gimmick… and I officially retract my statement.

    I watched this entire game, and even my wife stayed glued to the tube on this one, even when ISU made it look like a blow out and done game in the second half. We both hung in there and felt it was going to tighten up because surely ISU was going to run out of steam. They did, and Texas finally started to even out the play and it turned out to be a close game. Had the game extended another 5 minutes or so, ISU would have been in real trouble.

    There are some definite lessons to be taken from this game.

    1. When playing ISU, your focus has to be coming in with enough energy. ISU plays x-axis basketball… which is the art of stretching out a game horizontally instead of vertically. It is the only really effective way for a smaller team to beat a taller team (with similar talent). Man, for most of this game Texas looked realllll slowwwww. Texas definitely lacks foot speed in the post, and I mean positions 3, 4 and 5. But part of them looking slow was the fact that ISU looked very fast.

    2. If ISU wants to challenge for the B12 championship, they have to be able to export their speed on the road. Their guys are light and quick, but what gives them their speed advantage is their attitudes and their game plan to keep in motion. This is a completely mediocre team if they don’t play with a speed advantage.

    3. There is a reason why Texas is playing a zone. Many of us in here have wondered why Texas is playing a zone. This exposes their true weakness… slow players at the 3, 4 and 5. They are tall, but they can’t play a M2M and not get exposed. Their big guys can’t cut sharply and run through screens. Players like Perry Ellis will crucify them in a M2M. He can easily pop out and be wide open on his shot. I know many of us have been on Perry’s case for several things… but I’m sure glad we have him now! He is our ultimate weapon against certain situations, like a Texas M2M. It’s vital we have his outside threat.

    4. Myles Turner is extremely gifted. He still needs to build his legs and become more agile. He sort of lumbers around with his lower body movement. But the guy can flat out ball in the post and at mid range. I’m sure he will continue to improve from long range, too. He is unstoppable in the post when he receives the ball in the right spot.

    5. Isaiah Taylor is unbelievable. What a talent. But he isn’t always geared towards production. He did almost nothing in this game until ISU started to wear down. At the end of the game, Taylor dominated and was the real reason Texas came back. Taylor also prevented Texas from getting blown out by Kansas in our game, as he kept them scoring baskets by himself.

    I hope Self watched this game and studied it. There are all the answers we need to guarantee victories on both of these teams in AFH.


    There are two key factors involved in beating ISU. Energy (speed) and endurance. Kansas has a gigantic advantage here, especially in AFH because it should be easier for us to maintain high energy and harder for ISU. But even if they bring the same intensity as they bring in Hilton, we should beat them at their own game. Remember not too long ago… when we played an amped-up OSU in AFH? Remember the physical beat down Phil Forte took in that game? Here is a guy who prides himself on being the best conditioned athlete in the B12. We brought enough energy and played enough of a rotation to beat down the Cowboys. We had 8 guys get major minutes in that game. If we bring big energy and rotate enough guys, how can ISU bring enough energy to trump us? They needed their 21 easy run out points to beat us in Ames. Surely, they aren’t going to do that to us now in AFH. Scheduling benefits us. Both teams play a 1pm Saturday game before our Monday meeting meaning that both teams will have to consider the fatigue two days later, except ISU has to travel to Kansas, and our Saturday game is also at home. Guys rest better at home. The biggest advantage is our depth. We have more guys we can go to for quality minutes.


    Texas will have to completely step up their game to really challenge us in AFH. Typically, we play with more energy at home than away, and Texas looked slow against us in Austin. Barnes is in trouble with the Texas defense. Teams are figuring out their Achilles heel with slow foot speed at the 3, 4 and 5. Their M2M is easy to shred and Self already knows how to attack the gaps on their zone. So what can Rick do to change his team between now and the end of February? That may be another month away, but he has a tough task ahead. Will his big guys have more foot speed by then? Doubtful. There is a good chance they will have already dropped a couple more games by then and their hopes will be completely shattered. You can see the frustration on this team, especially with star Turner.

    Their salvation player is Taylor. That guy is a real stud and may be the best player in our league. We can really snip away all hope for Texas if we play them right in AFH. We need to control when and where he gets the ball. Lots of ball denial defense in the areas of the floor where he is most dangerous… around the FT line and on the right side, where he likes to drive. His tendencies are clearly to the right, including on his first step, so hedge right.

    Previously, I felt good about our chances in AFH against both of these teams if for no other reason than playing in AFH. I feel even more confident after watching this game. Neither team has much of a chance at coming at us in a different way then they already have. We already beat Texas on their court and now we have the home court advantage and have experienced them before. We have more scoring weapons and we can come at a team with most of our guys stepping up for a dominant game. Texas has lots of talent that will continue to improve, but their bigs will still have slow footwork a month from now.

    ISU is about offense, and they have lots of ways to attack us to score points… open court, motion offense, isolations… but in a key area they remain a one-trick pony; they must play with a lot more energy than their opponents to be effective. We don’t need a heavy strategy to beat ISU, we just need to come ready to run with big energy. That means we get back on defense. That means we play a sticky M2M. That means we run a lot of motion through our offense which will spread the small ISU defense thin so we can either punch it low or hit 3s.

  • @drgnslayr

    ISU played great for 3/4 of the game and then collapsed. Texas score 47 points in 11 minutes and 24 points in the last 3:13 minutes…if I had not seen it, I would not believe it. ISU had a 14 point lead with just over 3 minutes left and came within a whisker of losing the game. No lead is safe in the Big 12 (remember Oklahoma?).

    ISU has a very short bench. 7 players took 195 of the 200 minutes available; the 5 starters played 160 minutes. McKay, the sixth man played 25 minutes and Nader and Thomas 12 and 5 minutes respectively. Physically wear them u in the first half and run away in the second.

  • Problem with Taylor on UT is that he just goes and does whatever he wants and takes the team out of what was a called play by Barnes and then do something stupid like foul w/-5 sec. left on ISU shot clock so they go to the line and McKay makes both. Barnes did not speak well of him in post-game.

    The oldest, longest sportswriter here in Austin (Kirk Bohls) all but said in yesterday’s paper that this was Barnes’ last year:

    "While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

    1. Was that nothing more than a Texas loss to Kansas or was it the beginning of the end? I fear it may be the latter, which would be a shame because Rick Barnes is one of my all-time favorite people. In the two best home-game atmospheres of the season and arguably the most raucous since Abe Lemons warred with Arkansas’ Eddie Sutton, Texas laid an egg both times against Oklahoma and Kansas. Texas has lots of games to turn it around, but there are alarming signs of the same offensive inefficiency that has plagued Barnes’ Longhorn teams. It’s imperative to beat Iowa State and Baylor on the road this week if the Longhorns truly are a Big 12 contender. I hate hearing Barnes say his team isn’t listening to him or he’s not getting through to his team or the players don’t play the way they practice. That’s on the coach. Maybe his players tune him out. Maybe he can’t coach offense well enough. Maybe he can’t coach up big men like Bill Self, who does it better than any other coach in America. Self’s frontcourt players always play like giants, but none is a star in the NBA. Myles Turner looks lost or confused or both about his role. Cam Ridley doesn’t have the get-out-of-my-way personality to be a force down low, but that’s not Barnes’ fault. I really think Self could win with Kansas’ players or Texas’ players. He’s that good. And after not making a Sweet 16 since 2008, Barnes’ job could again be in jeopardy if he can’t reach that level or beyond in March."

  • @RockChalkinTexas that’s awesome to hear! Thanks for sharing. I think the same thing.

  • @drgnslayr I cannot believe the quality and intensity of posts from the “starters” on this site this year. I am singling you out but I include HEM and others in my awe (jaybate is different, he has simply remained his unique, analytical and psychedelic self).

    I love analysis and insight. No better place for them than here.

    Thanks to the BucketMasters and to you awesome posters for a reason to log on every day.

    A few of you out there need to post a leetle more often. You know who you are…

    P.S. I think part of the reason for the great posts is this year’s team and coaching. There is a lot going on in the heads and hearts and 'nads of everyone.

  • @drgnslayer I rarely agree with an entire post but yours is spot on! I was one of the many that was affected by the Armageddon complex with UT but I gladly put my foot in my mouth. But from the beginning, I have never saw ISU as a threat to win the Big 12. They are a threat to beat us because they shoot 30 treys a game, and would hate to play them in the tourney because they can beat anyone on any given night. But to last a 18 game tourney is impossible when you live by the deep ball. I am more uneasy of KSU in the league because they simply beat people who they are supposed to beat and might sneak out a win here and there against a top contender.

  • I had the game on but could only watch the last 10 min because of cooking. I never had the feel that Texas could come back. After that I watched the ISU game that I had dvred since I was on vacation for the past couple of weeks.

    Other than screaming at a couple of bonehead plays, I feel good about the game at AFH. As you said, they beat us by getting down the court especially after our made baskets. That is something that the crowd and Self can cure. They have some good players with good motors but they did not seem to have the people with a killer instinct that we have run into before at Hilton.

  • @drgnslayr We have a deeper bench than ISU too.

  • @Lulufulu yes, we have 8 guys that could start.

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