2. Spreading the floor becoming essential to success
What Texas basketball did so well in the past two games, with wins over Kansas State and West Virginia, on offense was spreading the ball around effectively. For most of the regular season, the Horns were among some of the worst teams in the nation in terms of three-point shooting. Texas still ranks No. 199 in the nation for three-point shooting percentage.
Texas does have a very deep and talented rotation, but a lack of offensive identity plagued the scoring production in pretty much every one of this team’s four losses thus far. That fortune of spacing the floor completely shifted for the Horns since the loss to Providence. Even the win over the UT-Arlington Mavericks showed a reversal in the offensive play for the Horns.
The breakthroughs recently of two key players, sophomores Jase Febres and Matt Coleman, helped open up the offense. Especially with shooting beyond the arc, the Horns struggled to get in a rhythm early on in the regular season. The value that Febres offers is his ability to hit from deep and space the floor without presenting a defensive liability for his own team.
While Febres had a bit of a down game against West Virginia, he still provided some value off the bench. But the starting point guard Coleman stepped up in his place and led the Horns in scoring. Most of the role Smart needed Coleman to fill in this game was producing the scoring, not facilitating and assisting it. He finished up with 17 points on better than 50 percent shooting from the field, and three assists.