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Takeaways from Texas’ performance in the 2k Empire Classic

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It was a tale of two halves for Texas in New York against both Georgetown and California.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Texas Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns put together two quality and two not-so-quality halves of basketball this past week in New York. After finally getting around to watch both of those games, here’s a few positive and negative takeaways from Texas’ early tournament showing.

Defense, problems with Georgetown’s length and size

As Texas looks back on the Georgetown game during their upcoming off week, they’ll be in for a long film session defensively. Their man-to-man defense was exploited — the Hoyas generated a high percentage of quality shots all game.

You could see Yaklich writing away and jotting down notes on the sideline throughout the second half as Georgetown gradually increased their lead. Besides Coleman, this team is in for plenty of defensive critiquing from Yaklich.

While Georgetown only held a 31-27 advantage on the glass, they were seemingly winning all the 50-50 balls and 50-50 calls. Once Texas dug themselves into that early hole in the second half, they could never get out of it. The pace and flow of the game completely favored the Hoyas at that point.

Overall, Georgetown turned out to be a tougher draw than many probably thought after they lost to Penn State by 15. Their length and size ultimately proved to be the difference in this one. Outside of Baylor, Kansas, and maybe Providence/LSU, the Longhorns won’t face many more teams with the kind of length and size that Georgetown has.

Although it was Cal, the defense flipped a switch from the night before and had a shutdown performance on Friday. Yaklich was satisfied, but his focus probably shifted back to improving on their performance against Georgetown as soon as the clock hit 0:00.

Offense

As Texas’ offense is predicated on Coleman and Ramey being efficient as distributors and shot creators, Ramey took a lot of bad shots and wasn’t aggressive as he needed to be in both games.

Coleman, Jones, and Febres are a combined 38-for-96 (39.6 percent) from three this season. The rest of the team, including Ramey’s 3-for-23 (13 percent) mark, is 10-for-60 (16.7 percent) on the season.

Once everything starts to click from the rest of the squad, that’s when the offense will start to hit their stride.

Considering their three-point struggles, guys like Baker, Ramey, and Liddell have be more effective playing inside the arc. Instead of standing beyond the arc waiting for Coleman to create, it’d be nice to see more movement from them off-the-ball through cuts, screens, and flashes in the paint.

Kai Jones

Kai Jones should seen an expanded role in each non-conference game going forward. He had four points, two boards (one offensive), and one block in 17 minutes of action off the bench against Cal. Jones has a little Jaxson Hayes-esque athleticism in him around the rim. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly he emerges because Texas looks pretty thin down low right now.

Stat of the tournament

17 assists in both games. This speaks to how well Coleman played. He continues to put himself and his teammates in the best position to make shots on a consistent basis.


Looking ahead

If Texas takes care of business against McNeese State and UAB, they’ll have a chance to improve to 8-1 in a neutral site showdown against Texas A&M on Dec. 8.