Texas Longhorns Basketball: Inside the Numbers, Week 11

Texas was able to limit Kansas' shots at the rim. - USA TODAY Sports

Texas' offensive woes continue. Inside the Numbers helps you to understand what is going wrong.

It has to be obvious to any Texas fan at this point -- the 2012-2013 Longhorns aren't any good on offense. One of the surprising reasons behind Texas' offensive woes has been an inability to get to the free throw line. In the last seven days, Texas faced Kansas at home and Oklahoma on the road. Against the Jayhawks, Rick Barnes' team only took eight attempts from the line, while in Norman the Longhorns were only granted 11 freebies. What is going on? Do the referees simply hate Texas?

Free throws were an important part of the Texas attack a season ago. The Longhorns attempted 0.43 free throws for every field goal, which was the 34th highest rate in the nation. This season, Barnes' squad only gets to the line 0.37 times for every shot from the floor, which ranks No. 140 in Division I. This difference doesn't seem like much, but in recent weeks Texas has been getting to the free throw line far less than normal. It is a big part of the reason why the Longhorns are currently 0-5 in Big 12 play.

Why is the Texas free throw rate lower this year? Sheldon McClellan isn't to blame, as he gets to the line at about the same rate as he did last year. The biggest factor is the switch in point guards; Myck Kabongo took 0.73 free throws for every field goal, which was one of the highest rates in the country. Javan Felix draws very few fouls. Additionally, more of Texas' offense is being run for Julien Lewis, who seldom gets to the line, Jonathan Holmes' free throw rate has dropped, and Texas' inside players do not figure prominently in the offense. Last season, Clint Chapman played a bigger role in the Texas offense than any of the current low post players, and Chapman was good at drawing fouls and making free throws.

The lower free throw rate stems from the fact that this iteration of the Texas Longhorns is basically a jump shooting team. A season ago, 35 percent of Texas' field goal attempts were layups and dunks, while this season only 29 percent of the Longhorn shots are taken at the basket. Myck Kabongo was one of Texas' most aggressive players attacking the basket, getting 37 percent of his shots at the rim. Felix, Kabongo's replacement, only gets one quarter of his attempts on layups. McClellan isn't getting to the rim very often, and neither is Julien Lewis. Lewis is taking shots that a year ago might have instead gone to Clint Chapman.

Texas is still getting to the rim in transition, with 42 percent of the Longhorns' initial shots in transition coming at the basket. This is the same percentage as last season. The problem comes in the half-court; a mere 19 percent of Texas' initial shots in half-court sets come at the rim, down from 26 percent last year. The Longhorns' offensive rebounding rates are also down somewhat, which further reduces chances at the rim.

If there is a chance for improvement, it may come from Ioannis Papapetrou. Papapetrou has been one of the few Texas wings who is adept at getting to the rack, attempting 36 percent of his shots on layups and dunks. This ability to get to the cup also accounts for his higher than average free throw attempt rate; the 6-8 freshman is attempting 0.56 free throws for every field goal attempt.

The Week In Review

Background information on the statistics is posted here, here, and here.

TEXAS (59) vs KANSAS(64)

CATEGORY

TEXAS

KANSAS

DIFFERENCE

FGA

56

51

5

FTA

8

25

-17

FGA + 0.475 x FTA

59.8

62.9

-3.1

Off Rebs

6

9

-3

TOs

14

15

-1

ORB - TO

-8

-6

-2

TS%

0.493

0.509

-0.016

ORB%

18%

28%

TO%

21%

22%

Points/100 Poss

87

93

Kansas edged the Longhorns by five points by earning three extra shot attempts (where "shots" refers to the composite of FGA + 0.475xFTA), and by being slightly more efficient with those shots. Kansas earned the extra shots on the boards. The Longhorns held their own with Kansas in defensive rebounding. Ioannis Papapetrou (DRB=21%) and Julien Lewis (DRB=28%) both were instrumental in keeping the Jayhawks off the glass. But the Kansas dominance of the defensive glass was enough to significantly lower the total number of shots attempted by the Longhorns. Jeff Withey and Perry Ellis controlled the defensive boards, and took away one of the few things that the Texas offense does well.

Both teams were outstanding on defense. On the season, Kansas attempts 44 percent of their shots at the rim, but the Longhorn defense kept this number down to 31 percent. Kansas similarly shut down the Texas inside game, with Rick Barnes' team only attempting seven of 56 shots at the cup. Kansas also did little damage from long range, and was mostly limited to contested mid-range shots. The Longhorns did well from beyond the arc, hitting 39 percent of their attempted threes, which kept them in the game.

The Jayhawks beat Texas at the free throw line. Bill Self's squad was 21-25 from the line, while the Longhorns were 2-8. Texas' poor free throw percentage is discouraging, but even worse was that the Longhorns were unable to get many chances to improve on that percentage. 88 percent of Texas' shots were jump shots, and by becoming a jump shooting team, Texas couldn't get to the line very often.

That said, maybe this isn't a terrible approach to playing Kansas. Kansas protects the rim better than anyone else in the college game. And Texas did go 7-18 from downtown, which was good enough to keep its struggling offense afloat in a sea patrolled by Jeff Withey.

Jonathan Holmes led Texas with 4.3 Points Above Median (PAM), while Ben McLemore (PAM=5.5) and Jeff Withey (PAM=4.1) did most of the damage for Kansas.

TEXAS (67) vs OKLAHOMA (73)

CATEGORY

TEXAS

OKLAHOMA

DIFFERENCE

FGA

61

52

9

FTA

11

27

-16

FGA + 0.475 x FTA

66.2

64.8

1.4

Off Rebs

13

9

4

TOs

15

13

2

ORB - TO

-2

-4

2

TS%

0.506

0.563

-0.057

ORB%

36%

30%

TO%

22%

19%

Points/100 Poss

98

106

Texas managed a small advantage in the number of shots attempted, but Oklahoma more than made up for this with an advantage in true shooting percentage. Texas' advantage of 1.4 extra shots was earned with an edge in offensive rebounds. Normally a good offensive rebounding team, OU was held to a 30 percent offensive rebounding percentage by Texas. The Texas defensive rebounding was a team effort, with Jaylen Bond leading the way with four defensive rebounds.

Texas got off to a terrible start, turning the ball over eight times before the first television timeout. But after that, the Longhorns settled down, and ended the game with a non-disastrous turnover percentage. OU also suffered from some early game sloppiness, but over the course of 40 minutes managed a respectable 19 percent turnover percentage. Javan Felix had three turnovers in a game where he didn't shoot very much, which resulted in an ugly 38 percent turnover rate, but that said this was not another turnover meltdown by the Texas offense.

Oklahoma earned the win with a strong 0.563 true shooting percentage. Lon Kruger's team went 21-27 from the free throw line. Romero Osby tore up the Texas defense, with a PAM of 9.6, while Amath M'Baye and Buddy Hield had PAMs of 4.5 and 3.4, respectively.

This was one of Texas' poorest games of the season defensively. Some of this was due to Osby being a difficult match up for the Texas big men, and some was because OU was effective getting out in transition. The Sooners had an effective field goal percentage of 71 percent running off of rebounds and steals. When running off of rebounds and steals, 58 percent of the OU shots within the first 10 seconds of a possession were at the rim, and the Sooners made 100 percent of these dunks and layups.

The Texas defense was still solid in half-court situations, holding Oklahoma to an effective field goal percentage of 36 on initial shots attempted 11 or more seconds into the shot clock. In half court situations, OU mostly took jump shots, with only 12 percent of the initial Oklahoma shots coming at the rim.

The Texas offense wasn't quite as stuck in the mud as we have seen at times this season. While far from great, 0.98 points per possession is nowhere near the worst performance this year. The 0.506 true shooting percentage is better than the Longhorns' season average of 0.481, although a 0.506 true shooting percentage is nothing special.

Ioannis Papapetrou led Texas with a PAM of 4.5, with virtually his entire contribution coming at the very end of the game. Papapetrou finished the game with a flurry, scoring eight of his 12 points in the last 1:30 of the game by going 3-5 from the field with two made threes over this stretch. The fun for Papapetrou started when he rebounded a missed Jaylen Bond free throw, and put it back up, only to have it blocked. But the lanky freshman scrambled to recover the ball off the block and stepped out to hit a three, moving Texas to within seven points of the Sooners. The next time down the floor, Sheldon McClellan rebounded a Julien Lewis miss and kicked it back out to Papapetrou, who knocked down another three, making it a four point game with 59 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately, the Longhorns were unable to convert on the next two possessions, and OU pulled away. Papapetrou scored his final two points on an offensive rebound put-back with six seconds on the clock.

Texas went 7-11 from the free throw line against Oklahoma. That isn't a terrible free throw percentage; the problem is the low number of free throw attempts.

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