Texas Longhorns Basketball: Michigan State Game Thread

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Longhorns get ready to face their toughest home test of the non-conference schedule.

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It is fun to have a big home game again. And today, the Longhorns have what is certainly a big home game against Michigan State.

The question that concerns me for Texas is: will the Longhorns be able to score? Michigan State has a good offense, with several players who appear likely to get a shot at the NBA next year, and the Spartans are likely to score some points. Texas will need to score as well, against the best defense it has faced so far this season.

Yesterday, while suffering from a horrible round of insomnia after flying home from a trip, I wrote a preview of the Michigan State Spartans. In it, I wrote this:

Like all Michigan State teams over the last two decades, this team knows how to defend. The Spartans are currently ranked seventh nationally in Ken Pomeroy's defensive rating. As a team, they have no meaningful defensive weakness. Texas will need to get out and run, as scoring against Michigan State in the half-court is going to be hard. Michigan State is one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the nation (nothing new here), so it will be interesting to see if the Spartans can limit second chance shots for Cameron Ridley and company, shots that are a crucial part of the Texas offense.

If we are looking for key indicators for Texas in this game, these are two things to keep track of. Will Texas score in transition, and will the Horns get second chance looks on the glass?

Transition opportunities and second chance points are the two things that the Texas offense needs to thrive. Per hoop-math.com, the Longhorn offense is far better when Texas can either run, or can crash the basket for extra shots. Texas gets much more out of their shot attempts in these situations, as indicated by the effective field goal numbers in the table below.

Texas effective field goal percentage by shot type.

Shot Type % of total FGAs eFG%
In transition 27% 52%
Putback 9% 68%
Other 64% 45%

So can Texas get stops on defense and get out and run? And will Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh, Jonathan Holmes, and Connor Lammert be able to get anything going on the offensive glass?

I expect this game to be close.

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