Texas Basketball Notes

From who's getting the minutes to who's taking the most shots, we break down some stats behind the Longhorns' 5-1 start.

* The Longhorns have had a strong season so far, going 5-1. But just how good are they? According to Ken Pomeroy's statistical ratings, the Longhorns are the No. 6 team in the country, and the second-best squad in the Big 12, behind Kansas, which ranks No. 1 so far. The Longhorns are rated as the second-best one-loss team behind Arizona, and rank No. 25 in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 6 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Other Big 12 teams in the KenPom Top 25 are Baylor (16) and Kansas State (19). A team's offensive efficiency is its points scored per 100 offensive possessions, while the defensive efficiency is the opposite, the points given up per 100 defensive possessions.

* KenPom has yet to come up with his individual efficiency totals for the season, so we'll have to wait for those to come out. But we can look at who's taking shots when they're in the games, taking attempts divided my minutes played. Not surprisingly, Jordan Hamilton takes the highest percentage of shots, shooting 0.54 times per minute. Also not surprisingly, Matt Hill has played the part of glue man pretty well, taking just 0.09 shots per minute. But the second- and third-highest shot-takers are J'Covan Brown (0.38 per minute) and Jai Lucas (0.32 per minute). Both could improve Texas's efficiency by taking fewer shots, or at least making more of their tries. Brown is shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Lucas has been even worse, making just 12 of 34 shots (35.3 percent) and 2-14 threes (14.3).

* While those two would serve the team well to keep down their shot attempts, Texas's two freshmen would be better served to hoist more attempts. Tristan Thompson is fifth on the team in shots per minute (0.24), while guard Cory Joseph is sixth (0.22). The only three rotational players below Joseph are non-shooter Dogus Balbay (0.19), and rotational post players Alexis Wangmene (0.19) and Hill (0.09). Thompson is hitting 54.3 percent of his shots, while Joseph's stroke has started to come around. After getting an edict from Texas coach Rick Barnes to shoot more, Joseph has made 8-13 in his last two games, including 4-8 from behind the arc. Thompson's numbers could be somewhat skewed, as shots taken while fouled don't count as attempts unless the player makes the shot. Thompson has been to the free throw line 47 times in six games, a number that's 11 better than Hamilton, the team's second-highest volume free throw shooter.

* Barnes has already established a clear rotation. Nine players have played in all six games, and all nine have played at least 11 minutes in those games. The Longhorns appear to be thinnest in the post, where Thompson (32.0 minutes per game) and Johnson (30.0) rank first and third on the team in minutes. Joseph ranks second at 31.3, meaning the two freshman are Texas's top two minute-getters so far this season. Fourth is Jordan Hamilton (28.8), with Balbay (21.5) coming in fifth. Rounding out the rotation are Brown (19.0), Lucas (17.8), Hill (11.3) and Wangmene (11.2). Only three other players have taken the court for the Longhorns this season, with Andrew Dick, Trent Morgan and Dean Melchionni combining for seven total minutes between them.

* For the most part, the Longhorns have been able to stay away from foul trouble, with Thompson and Johnson leading the team in fouls with 2.8 per game. It's a good thing, too, because foul trouble for those two would likely mean trouble for the Longhorns. From a scoring and rebounding standpoint, they're two of the three best players on the team. Johnson is third in scoring (11.7 per game) and first in rebounding (7.5 per game). Thompson is second in scoring (12.2) and third in rebounding (6.8). He's also tops on the team in blocks (15) and steals (8). Oh, and don't worry about the other guy in that trio either. Hamilton is first in scoring (22.7) and second in rebounding (7.2). But he's eighth in another category: fouls committed. Hamilton has committed just eight fouls this year, with only Hill (6) committing fewer.

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