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Kansas Stands Tall, Downs Texas In Austin, 80-68

For the first time in seven regular seasons, the home team lost this game. Once again, we were awful in the first half, but more so than in previous slow starts, that had a lot to do with the opponent, too.

Obviously, the better team won tonight. My perceptions about Kansas as an offensive team were about right, but they are a much better defensive team than I had picked up on watching them here and there so far this year -- and I thought they were damn good heading in. They're also mature and cohesive in a way that surely made every Texas fan envious. Congratulations to them -- that's a damn good, damn well-coached basketball team.

A few notes:

  • For the most part, Texas played good defense tonight. But up until the last few minutes, Kansas played great defense. We make lots of little fundamental mistakes that Kansas just never made, all night long. For example, we often don't hedge properly and we take dumb fly-by gambles that lead to easy buckets. Kansas never did. Just rock solid.
  • Our offensive struggles also hurt us defensively by giving teams transition offense opportunities, preventing us from getting into set halfcourt defense. Part of a good defense is making buckets and forcing the opponent to inbound and score against your halfcourt D.
  • Offensively, we're absolutely terrible without a point guard who can break down a defense on his own. Lots of bad news there. But... a silver lining here, as J'Covan emerged from his funk and played truly great basketball in the second half tonight.
  • The "feed it to Pittman in position" strategy must, at this point, be considered a non-starter. He gave us a good effort tonight -- especially on defense -- but we need to be realistic about who we are offensively. Under Rick Barnes, we're an offense that requires perimeter players who can make offense. We don't really run offense.
  • Seems like every game a player or two steps up and gives us that "hey, there's reason to be hopeful" performance, but never twice in a row. Tonight's ray of hope, obviously, is from Brown, who we desperately need for his ability to create -- to make offense.
  • Xavier Henry was big for KU tonight. Such a physical, difficult to deal with player.
  • Along with running offense with a guard who can create, we've got to be efficient with turnovers and big on the boards -- what John Gasaway calls the "barrage factor" -- to be a good scoring team.
  • Losing today isn't the end of the world, but we're arriving at that point of the season where there's no more projecting hope. If it's going to come together, Texas will have to show it in the next four games -- protecting home court against Nebraska, winning a tough road game at Missouri, then beating Tech on the road and Okie State in Austin. Win those four and we can be excited again heading into College Station.