This one wasn’t fun. Let’s learn what we can and get outta here.
It all started innocently enough. The two teams traded buckets over a plodding and uninteresting five minutes, and it appeared we were headed for a replay of last year’s snoozefest in Dickie’s Arena. We hit a couple of threes to steady our nerves, and while TCU wasn’t hitting theirs... my alarm bells were going off at full tilt, as they were getting pretty good looks.
Those alarm bells came to fruition shortly afterwards, as TCU launched into a 15-2 run that abandoned all pretense of this being a competitive basketball game. We hit a couple of our own to briefly stem the tide, but the Horned Frogs kept coming. By the time the dust settled, we didn’t know which way was up.
Halftime score: TCU 42, Texas A&M 21
Our response coming out of the half was the single most disappointing thing, to me. We’ve got a decent sample size under Buzz Williams, and he always seems to use the halftime break extraordinarily effectively. Instead, TCU immediately extended the lead beyond 30 and the rest of the game was a lost cause.
If you paid to attend, I’m sorry. If you paid for ESPN+ to watch it on TV, I’m sorry. And if you have any TCU people in your life that love to wax poetic about the superiority of Big XII basketball... delete them from your phone. It’s the only way.
Final Score: TCU 73, Texas A&M 55
Buzz had a lot to say, as you might expect.
Well, we have to play way harder, and I know I’ve been saying that to you guys. We have to play together, harder with a higher IQ on both ends of the floor [...] but in basketball, when five guys are not doing what five guys are supposed to do, maybe sometimes it’s three that are doing it. Sometimes it’s four that are doing it. But if you don’t have all five on the same page, there’s going to be a break down at some point. Today it was almost per possession, some level of breakdown on either end of the floor. So it’s not one thing, it’s not one player. It’s our program. That’s a reflection of me [...] in order to have a chance [we] have to play really hard and we have to play together and we have to play with a high IQ. None of that was evident today.
If [turnovers] continue to happen, obviously that’s something that I’ve got to figure out how to change [...] it’s not one person with the high turnover rate. It’s a team with a high turnover rate. So we had six guys that had a minimum of two turnovers [...] and so you just give yourself a very, very negative, small margin when you’re turning the ball over at the rate that you are [...] so we’ve got to figure something out so we at least have a chance to get a shot at the rim.
I thought [TCU] played really well and I thought that we were prepared relative to what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. I think the issue, though, is regardless of opponent and regardless of locale, do we have the ability to execute the things that we know foundationally we have to be about. There has been too much inconsistency in that regard. Again, not picking on a player or a group of players, but we’re giving away too many possessions, trying to figure out which is the right group that will do foundationally what we want them to do. So that’s what I think has been simmering. It wasn’t necessarily revealed any more today than the previous three games. It’s accentuated more because of the stage and the opportunity to play a neutral site game against a really good team. So those are the things that we’ve somehow got to correct. Otherwise, it’s going to continue to be an issue.
I hope, honestly, that it’s a wakeup call for everybody, including myself, that I can’t put all of this on the players. When you’re a teenager: hey, we still won what’s the big deal? So maybe in that regard, maybe this will be a wakeup call. I just thought our response was poor, regardless of age by everyone, including myself and how we handled today. That’s the thing that we’ve got to figure out ways to change. We’ve got a long bus ride home, so I’ll be able to watch it on tape. But sometimes when I watch it on tape, I want the children to partake in the misery as much as I do. Sometimes that’s right and sometimes that’s not right. So I’ll have to be thinking and try to discern what the right approach is because we’ve got to change and we’ve got to get it right.
Our early-season bubble has officially popped. This was our only chance to play a non-conference opponent with a KenPom rating in the top 125, and we failed that test miserably. We do have two remaining “get right” games prior to the SEC opener against LSU, but now we’re going to have to wonder if any perceived improvement is real... or just a function of our opponent.
Next up is a home buy game tomorrow night.
BTHO SE Louisiana