Texas Longhorns Basketball: Inside the Numbers, Week 8


The non-conference season is over. Texas had their final tuneup last week against Rice, and starts off the conference season tonight against Iowa State. Texas' path through conference play will be tough. With fewer teams in the Big XII, the conference has become much better and a much more difficult place to play. I wrote about this in more general terms in my 3100 word Big XII basketball preview, but if we specifically look at Texas' upcoming schedule, we see a few tough stretches. The second half of January looks brutal, with two games against Missouri, as well as games against Kansas, Kansas State, and Baylor. To make matters worse, there only look to be a couple of easy wins remaining on Texas' schedule. Most of the teams in the Big XII this year will be capable of beating Texas, particularly if they catch them on the right night.

After the jump I will briefly recap the the Rice game.

The Week In Review

Background information on the statistics is posted here and here.

TEXAS vs RICE

CATEGORY

TEXAS

RICE

DIFFERENCE

FGA

44

52

-8

FTA

30

26

4

FGA + 0.475 x FTA

58.3

64.4

-6.1

Off Rebs

9

11

-2

TOs

19

13

6

ORB - TO

-10

-2

-8

TS%

0.627

0.458

0.168

ORB%

36%

28%

TO%

28%

20%

Points/100

107

89

Texas beat Rice in a sloppy, foul-plagued game. I am pretty sure this game was ugly, although I had to listen to it on Internet radio so I can't be absolutely sure. It sounded ugly, and the statistics support this. Estimates have this game at around 67 possessions per team, with Texas fouling 23 times and Rice fouling 24 times. When these two teams weren't fouling each other, they seemed to be turning the ball over. Texas turned the ball over on 28% of their possessions, which is their worst turnover rate since self-destructing against Oregon State. I wouldn't panic about the turnovers, sometimes games like this happen.

Outside of the turnover problems, Texas played pretty well. The defensive rebounding struggles of this season were not present, as Texas pulled down a very good 72% of all available defensive rebounds. Rice generally isn't a team that attacks the offensive glass, with a 31% ORB% (kenpom $) on the season, so this may say more about Rice's style of play than it says about anything else. As Peter noted in his game recap, Myck Kabongo made significant contributions on the defensive glass, pulling down an estimated 23% of available defensive rebounds while on the court. This is a good number for a big guy, and it is a great number for a guard. Kabongo has been helping Texas out on the defensive glass all season.

Texas had efficient offense when they weren't giving the ball away, with a true shooting percentage of 0.627. Using the points above median (PAM) measure Sheldon McClellan (PAM=5.3), J'Covan Brown (PAM=4.9), Sterling Gibbs (PAM=6.1), and Jonathan Holmes (PAM=1.7) all provided efficient scoring to help the Longhorn cause. McClellan was aggressive attacking the rim, with 4 of his 10 field goals attempts at the rim (he made all 4 attempts at the rim), and also going 8 of 9 from the free throw line. Of course, McClellan has done a fair amount of his scoring either near the basket or at the line all season.

Texas also did a nice job on defense, holding Rice to a 0.458 true shooting percentage. Rice's field goal percentage on shots at the rim was a miserable 32%. They typically make more than 70% of their shots at the rim so this is a pretty substantial drop off.

Only Texas' high turnover rate prevented this game from being a 20 point win for Texas. If Texas had managed something closer to their season average turnover rate of 19%, they would have attempted around 6 extra shots, which would have resulted in them scoring approximately 5-7 extra points.

On to conference play.

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