Posted February 6th, 2009 by Mike
Filed under: Basketball, Feature

Varez Ward and the entire Texas team struggled against Missouri

Varez Ward and the entire Texas team struggled against Missouri (TexasSports.com)

Texas had not lost at home since February of 2007; they’ve now lost twice at the Frank Erwin Center in the last seven days. [tag]Kansas State[/tag] came in and won in overtime thanks to Denis Clemente’s 44 points. Then on Wednesday [tag]Missouri[/tag] came in and outlasted the Longhorns to capture sole possession of third place in the conference.

Texas had won three straight since dropping a game in [tag]Oklahoma[/tag]. But even with those wins it was obvious something was missing on this team. Against OU, Tech, and [tag]Baylor[/tag] Texas failed to score over 30 points in the first half. Against Kansas State it got even worse as the Longhorns scored only 22 points in the first 20 minutes of the ball game.

Rick Barnes’ team just can’t get it all together at the same time. One game [tag]Damion James[/tag] will go off, next game [tag]AJ Abrams[/tag] can’t miss, and in another [tag]Dexter Pittman[/tag] looks like an unstoppable force in the paint. A week ago it looked like [tag]Dogus Balbay[/tag] was finally going to be the answer at point guard, flash forward to the Missouri loss and Balbay only registered two minutes of play.

Basketball is all about confidence, and right now as a team Texas has none. Early in the season the Longhorn defense put fear in opponents, especially on the ball. Now it looks like Texas is lost. They let a marginal player in Clemente take over a game, and then on the key play of the Missouri game Texas’ best on ball defender, [tag]Justin Mason[/tag], allowed a Missouri guard to get all the way to the paint for a game winning bucket with 5.5 seconds left on the clock. No big guy came over to help on the play.

Everybody knows Barnes is a great coach, so it is hard to understand the lapses in mental judgment by this team. There is no doubting their effort, this team plays hard, but at times the fundamental flaws on this team are just mind boggling. If it isn’t poor rotation of defense it is a bad block out on the defensive boards, if it isn’t a horrid fast break attempt it is the lack of passes on the offensive end.

This season has shown how important a point guard is in college basketball. Texas doesn’t have a player, like in past seasons, that can sense when the team needs a bucket and has the ability to go get it. Texas went scoreless for the last 5:01 of the first half against Missouri, erasing what was a 12 point lead at one time, because nobody on the offensive side can create for themselves or other people. James has become a one on one player, [tag]Gary Johnson[/tag] wants to be a jump shooter, [tag]Connor Atchley[/tag] looks lost, and Abrams is only effective when he running off screens.

Fortunately it will take a mega meltdown to miss out on the tournament. With wins over [tag]UCLA[/tag], [tag]Villanova[/tag], and [tag]Wisconsin[/tag] it is a safe bet that Texas will get in there. Especially considering it is a down year in the Big 12. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there are any answers to what ails this ball team. Something about them doesn’t seem right, and I’m not sure even Rick Barnes knows what is going on.

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2 Comments

  1. reply to  #1

    llvi

    maybe the purple just sikes out the Texas coaches !!!

  2. reply to  #2

    Mike Craven

    Me too, I think UT needs to petition to get Iowa to replace Kansas State or something. It seems like that school has Texas’ number, I think they’re the only team in Big 12 to have a winning record vs. UT in football.

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