The Texas Longhorns Basketball team hit rock bottom on Tuesday night and Shaka Smart was not pleased.
Texas Basketball head coach Shaka Smart said he was “very disappointed” after Texas lost 70-66 against the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. Texas still has not won a road game this season.
The question is whether Smart’s disappointment is with the overall team, individual players, in-game execution, lack of focus, or a combination of everything.
Regardless, Texas had no business losing to the last-place Big 12 team playing without Jordan Woodard for the first time.
“Give Oklahoma credit. They made plays they needed to make. They made shots,” Shaka Smart said after the game. “I’m just real disappointed because the last couple of days, coming off our last game, our guys really had a good understanding of what we needed to do tonight and it didn’t carry over.”
Does Texas Understand What Shaka Smart Is Teaching?
Watching Texas play on Tuesday, it seems like the Longhorns do not have an understanding of what it takes to win on the road. Perhaps it looks that way in practice, but for some reason when there is a different team on the court in a live game setting, this young team clamps up.
According to announcer Miles Simon during ESPN2’s broadcast, Texas even went to reserve player Ryan McClurg for some inspiration. McClurg talked up the team at halftime, imploring them to carry over their practice standard to the second half of the game.
It seemed to work early on, as Texas went on a 6-0 run in the first few minutes of the second half. But, they predictably went into a lull period where the team’s principles faded away.
An equally young Oklahoma team gained confidence and Texas started to self-destruct. The result was the Sooners winning by four points.
After the game, guard Kerwin Roach said the team is “definitely angry” and they had too many “self-inflicted wounds,” according to Austin American-Statesman reporter Brian Davis.
Texas big man Shaq Cleare added that “we’re a lot better than how we’ve been playing.”
Solving The Texas Basketball Mystery
The greatest mystery of this year’s team is why strong practices and the values instilled by the coaching staff do not translate to road games.
Texas has played fairly well at home in the Big 12, although they have typical lulls and let-up during some games. But, the road games are a complete mystery.
It’s one thing on offense, then something else on defense, and all of a sudden their lead has turned into a five-point deficit. And, because Texas is one of the worst shooting teams in college basketball, those five points feel like 10 or 12.
Texas just seems to make life difficult for themselves in each game. The lack of a true PG is definitely a reason. But, this team could still win with the amount of talent available.
There’s just something wrong with Texas Basketball away from Austin. If Shaka Smart somehow finds the right formula to fix it this year, it would set up a miraculous run to the postseason.
Right now, it just doesn’t seem like the mystery can be solved this season. So, Shaka Smart will make that a priority for the 2017-2018 season when Matt Coleman arrives to run the show.