MBB Opponent Watch: Texas (Jones diagnosed with leukemia) and LSU

Submitted by TrueBlue2003 on January 11th, 2018 at 12:08 AM

Watched a bit of the Texas v TCU game tonight.  It was a crazy game in 2OT that Texas won 99-98 on a missed layup by TCU at the buzzer.

Texas is still playing without Andrew Jones (had an ankle injury when we played them) because he was diagnosed with leukemia, which is devastating.  Texas just announced it yesterday and played with a lot of emotion tonight.

However, Texas still looks terribly coached.  They don't really have an offense, and mostly stand around until someone tries to go one-on-one at the end of the shot clock.  While I was watching they made a lot of these tough late-clock shots, and that kept them in the game. The only thing that consistently worked well was posting up Osetkowski.  They're very long and block enough shots to make up for shoddy defensive positioning.

FWIW as a possible tourney opponent, TCU reminds me a lot of a typical Beilein team (I don't consider this year's team typical since we're better at defense than offense). They spread the floor and have 5 guys that are shooting 40+ percent from three.  They're very good at offense and mediocre at defense (they even busted out the 1-3-1 for a possession). Surprisingly, they don't shoot a high number of three typically, despite being so good at them.

LSU followed up their win at Texas A&M with a 21-point win at Arkansas (at team that was ranked last week).  LSU is up to 53rd in kenpom and would probably be in the tournament if the season ended today, which is big for our resume because they're our worst loss.

Interestingly, these two results and other events of the night shot us from 30th this morning to now 27th in kenpom.  That's a lot of movement for not playing a game.

Also, in today's RPI-makes-no-sense development, we dropped 12 (!!) spots for losing to Purdue. And they're ranked 10th so it's not like they're egregiously underrated (only slightly).



January 11th, 2018 at 4:30 AM ^

Good luck to him fighting it. 

I think it was his wrist though.  I could be mistaken, but think I remember seeing him on the bench in our game with a wrist brace or something. 


January 11th, 2018 at 7:24 AM ^

That is a stunning development, especially in a person as young and fit as a college basketball player. A few close relatives and friends have passed of leukemia. It is about as serious as it gets for cancer. The good news is that modern medicine has made tremendous strides. I hope he beats it and makes the NBA.


January 11th, 2018 at 9:45 AM ^

Seems like he is a coach who has a great understanding of how to coach defense.  Kenpom AdjD ranks since 2010 (first year at VCU):

98, 78, 23, 36, 6, 26, 40, 21, 6 (current)

Whereas his offense usually sputters behind.  AdjO:

28, 47, 96, 20, 106, 58, 49, 177, 128

What really seems to put them behind in the games I've watched this year is 

1.) terrible 3 point shooting

2.) Mo Bamba's offense.  The guy is already an NBA-level defender but the majority of his points come on open dunks.  No real ball skills and he is 6-27 on 3pt shooting.


January 11th, 2018 at 9:59 AM ^

His VCU teams relied heavily on open court turnovers and shooting a lot of threes for their offense.  In half-court sets, what you're seeing at Texas now is what's always been the case for a Smart offense, but magnified due to the much higher quality of opponent in the Big 12 versus the CAA/A-10.  And since he's kind of ditched The Havoc™ since coming to Austin, his Texas teams don't have the benefit of easy open-court turnovers to pad their meager offensive numbers.  This year's team is pretty young and full of athletes in droves but no shooters aside from Andrew Jones.

Speaking of...best wishes to Mr. Jones and I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery.  All college basketball fans are pulling for you!


January 11th, 2018 at 9:55 AM ^

I always feel like his teams are one trick ponies.  Against undiscilined or poorly coached teams, that pressing defense creates a lot of turnovers that are difficult to overcome.  If you can break the press and avoid turnovers his teams are mediocre. He had that one deep run in the NCAA tournament while at VCU and a lot of people thought he was a genius and was one of the hottest names in coaching.


January 11th, 2018 at 2:32 PM ^

Terrible news about the kid. Heart goes out to his family. 


Also, Texas did score 99 points last night so we can't trash their offense too hard.