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Morning Coffee

Kirk Bohls' has a column on Connor Atchley's value to Texas this season, which is both an obvious but perhaps underappreciated point. It was certainly nice seeing Atchley play against Colorado with the same effectiveness with which he started the season. With that said, though Connor's been exceptionally effective against teams which lose track of him 12-18 feet from the basket, he's disappeared against teams which do not.

The team as a whole has struggled against teams which have shut down our perimeter game, and it's here that I'd like to see Connor take his next step forward. He's not quite strong enough to be an elite post scorer, but he's a savvy and skilled enough player that we can run half court sets through him against teams which are extending their perimeter defense. Especially with Gary Johnson still struggling to get his feet underneath him, Connor's got to help out in this regard.

AW will have the game preview for tonight's road trip to Oklahoma State, but as Mark Rosner notes, Justin Mason will return to the starting lineup. Mason's value as an energy-defense guy has never been in question, but it's impossible to deny that he's utterly lost on offense right now.

Most critically, it's in his head; if you've ever played basketball, you know what it feels like not to believe you're going to make your shots. It effects the way you dribble, the way you pass, the way you do everything offensively. He's a much better player than he's shown the last six weeks, but it's not going to get better until he quits thinking and starts playing.

Barking Carnival tackles the Gilbert-Shephard question, coming to the same conclusion I did: Shephard's the one to want. That's no knock on Gilbert, it's just a policy choice:

To me it boils down to two things. One, he is already closer than Gilbert to being a big time QB because he’s already demonstrated the hard part about being a deadly running QB. Second, there is no downside. Worst case scenario we get DeSean Hales two years in a row.