The No. 14 Texas Longhorns (20-5, 6-4) got a much needed win, 91-51, this afternoon over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. After dropping five of their previous seven, this type of performance on both ends of the court couldn't have come at a better time.
Txtwstr will be around later with a full recap, but I wanted to add a few notes from Rick Barnes' post-game comments with Craig Way.
Rick Barnes called the Nebraska win their best overall performance of the season. He particularly liked the defensive intensity and the ball movement on offense.
At one point in the first half, Texas had 12 assists on 15 made baskets. There have been plenty of games during this slide when the Longhorns struggled to notch a dozen assists in the entire game. The ball movement, the spacing, and team approach to offense made all the difference in the first half.
Rick also said that Texas changed up their normal routine following a ‘Big Monday' contest. The ‘Horns usually take two full days off after a Monday game but only took one this week and worked much harder in practice on Wednesday and Thursday than they normally would. Barnes also said they changed their Friday routine as well as their pre-game shoot around. He didn't elaborate too much. However, making changes is exactly what this team needed, and I'm pleased to see changes both in lineups as well as in game preparation.
Last, Barnes acknowledged two things more important things. For the second time this season, Rick made mention of the challenges that Texas faces offensively when both Justin Mason and Dogus Balbay are on the floor at the same time. It is about time, right?
Mason didn't play at all today due to an injured left ankle, and the announcement that J'Covan Brown was going to start at guard came before the news that Mason was out. I think it is safe to assume that Barnes finally sees that we can't afford to give away the opening five minutes of each half with Balbay and Mason on the court together.
Next, Barnes was pleased with the play of J'Covan Brown and said that the plan all along has been to move Brown into the starting lineup. As noted in the preview, J'Covan's struggles with turnovers and his inability to focus defensively have slowed his progression considerably.
Barnes went a step further though. He said that he expected to be starting three freshman-Avery Bradley, Brown, and Jordan Hamilton-by this point of the season. This was what I expected before the season too but I've never heard him say so much until now.
As I'm sure txtwstr will elaborate on, the presence of these three at the same time gives its best offensive club. As long as they can defend, they will continue to see their minutes increase, and we will continue to see a smoother and more efficient offensive attack.
Lots to like about this afternoon's performance--Avery's hot shooting, Hamilton's better decision making, the spark J'Covan gives us at the point, ball movement, 19 assists-to-13 turnovers, five Longhorns in double figures, 73% from the stripe, holding Nebraska to 28% shooting, +22 on the glass, not being down at halftime, etc.
What'd you like? Your game thoughts here.