The Longhorns’ offense struggled mightily Tuesday night, due in large part to TCU’s zone defense. The Horned Frogs opened the game in a zone and stuck with it throughout.
Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor, who used his signature floater to beat a similar Baylor zone earlier on in conference play, struggled to dump the ball inside or find shots of his own. Texas’ post players often stood motionless on the outskirts of the key, as if they had never seen a zone before.
A zone of their own
Perhaps influenced by the success of TCU’s early defensive efforts, the Longhorns tried a zone approach of their own midway through the first and, occasionally, in the second half. The Texas zone, an adjusted 2-3, showed promise at times, but it was not nearly as effective as that of the Horned Frogs.
One of the most important traits in a leader is consistency, and veteran forward Jonathan Holmes has been just that for the Longhorns this season.
On any given night, Isaiah Taylor might go off for 20 points, or Cameron Ridley might put up a double-double, but they have off nights as well. Holmes, on the other hand, has been dependable all season. The junior led the game in points and rebounds Tuesday night, scoring 20 points while pulling down 16 boards. He had five points and four rebounds in the final 3:45 and hit a huge three-pointer down the stretch to put the Horned Frogs away.
Playing down to opponent
Texas’ performance Tuesday was yet another example of this team’s inability to put its opponents away. TCU sits at the bottom of the Big 12. Yet, mere days after they knocked off the cream of the conference, Kansas, the Longhorns couldn’t pull away from the Horned Frogs.
Whether it’s a poor non-conference opponent, a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 foe or one of the best teams in the country, Rick Barnes’ team likes to keep it close. Fourteen of Texas’ 22 contests have now been decided by 10 points or less.
Big 12 balance
Tuesday night’s tight contest was yet another great example of the competitive depth that exists in the Big 12 conference. Touted as the best conference in college basketball this season, the Big 12 has lived up to its billing.
The Horned Frogs came into the game last in the standings and without a win in conference play, but they still gave the Longhorns, who just throttled the conference leading Jayhawks, a solid run.
Baylor was expected to finish in the top three but currently sits second to last after opening conference play 2-7. West Virginia, expected to land in the bottom three, is tied for fourth in the league with a 5-4 conference record.