After the Texas Longhorns opened an 8-6 lead to start the game, Taurean Prince hit a three-pointer that sparked a 13-1 Baylor Bears run and the Bears never looked back, knocking out UT from the Big 12 Tournament in the quarterfinal round. Prince showed why he's destined for a mid-round selection in the upcoming NBA Draft, abusing Texas throughout the game and no matter which defensive look we threw at him to try to slow Baylor down. The senior finished with a game-high 24 points and 13 boards.
Texas wasn't great on offense today, but we had our chances and suffered mostly from a tough afternoon shooting the ball. The real problem today was on the defensive end, where our rotations were slow, Ibeh got himself into foul trouble, and Prince had his way with slower big men and smaller guards. Credit to Baylor: every time Texas got some momentum going and chipped into the lead, the Bears had an answer. Often it was Prince, but it was clear today wasn't going to be our day when moments after Texas cut the Bears' 15-point lead down to 8, Jeff Freaking Lindsey hit a three-pointer as time expired to end the first half.
Lindsey's three pointer was a microcosm of the game at large, with Baylor executing everything to perfection and Texas watching helplessly, a step slow to do anything about it. Kerwin Roach was the culprit on that particular three, but unlike three weeks ago when Shaka Smart pushed all the right buttons to stymie OU in Austin, nothing we tried today seemed to work. We tried Lammert on Prince and he had his way getting into the lane on penetration. We tried Snoop and Prince bullied him like he was a freshman. We tried overplaying Prince with ball denial, we tried zone. We tried switching all screens, and we tried trapping the ball handler. Prince and his cohorts had answers for all of it.
Offensively, we fell behind by 15 before we started attacking the 1-3-1 properly, and that's on Smart to figure out how to prepare this team to execute from the get-go. Once we started getting the ball to the middle, we got plenty of the lightly contested looks Drew's zone always makes available, but we missed too many of those looks to hang with a Baylor team that was firing on all cylinders offensively.
These conference tournament games don't matter too much when you're not on the bubble, but today's loss served as a pretty clear reminder that this team's not offensively dynamic enough to beat top teams and advancing will require defensive efforts much better than we got today.
For now, we wait to see what awaits us in the bracket on Sunday evening. We're a lock to get a bid, but it'll be interesting to see where the Committee seeds us. It's not outrageous to imagine us getting placed on the 5 line, but neither is it unfathomable that Texas falls to the 7 line, as well.
Finally, it's worth noting that Cam Ridley did see action today, logging a couple first half minutes and scoring two points before sitting out the remainder of the contest. Honestly, I liked the decision to be cautious and give him the maximum opportunity to be at playing strength for the NCAAs. Rest up, big fella. We're gonna need you.