Posted April 5th, 2013 by Ross
Filed under: Basketball

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all? Well, the Men’s Basketball team was clearly not up to the task this year. Suspension, stamina, resilience, and any other critical words you can come up with would fit this team. The prism that people use to look at this program is based on 14 years of Tournament visits with a few Elite Eights and one trip to the Final Four. What the fans should be looking at is a broken mirror that has the Horns in a 7 year lock of bad basketball dating back to our highest point.

That high point for the Texas program was the 2007-2008 season where the team was led by DJ Augustin, A.J. Abrams and Damion James who put up the most wins during the Rick Barnes era (31 wins). A trip to the Elite Eight plus the last time this program could claim a share of the Big 12 title were just a few of the highlights for this program. Ironically, the Kevin Durant led team a year before put up only 25 wins and lost in the second round. The Horns just finished the 5th year of this broken mirror curse. Since that high mark, Texas has gone 47-37 in conference play and the low moment for the program was missing out on the NCAA Tournament this year for the first time in the Barnes tenure.

Many fans have a looking glass that tells them a Big 12 championship and a deep run in the Tournament is coming closer with this group of talented players. Unfortunately, this is a rear view mirror approach on what it used to be around here. The biggest reflection needs to be taken by Rick Barnes to see if he has the stomach to continue fighting like another coach on the 40 acres. Barnes has created some great moments and recruited some unbelievable talent that went on to the NBA.

Now players are looking to transfer or getting fed up with Barnes’ coaching style. But just like another 15 year veteran coach at UT, the head man needs to realize that his legacy is set, and he needs to ask if himself if he has any more left in the tank.

But the biggest problem with the Texas Basketball program is who is looking at the mirror right now. The fans and I include myself in this assessment are the ones that broke the mirror. We do not demand more from our basketball coaches and players like other fan bases. We are quick to move on to spring football which allows the team to feel complacent and second class. When you start hearing coaches pleading for noise and asking for students to come make the Erwin Center a festive atmosphere, you know you have a much deeper problem than just a need for some more wins. Do you think ESPN will ever have a College Game Day visit at a UT basketball game? I know that people say that the product needs to be better in order for fans to show up. That logic works on professional teams where the athletes get paid. (Insert joke here on college athletics) Attendance at men’s home games continue to slip. Four years ago the average home attendance at the Drum was 14,629…and now the Hum Drum posted a 10,945 average attendance for the 2012-2013 season. The Frank Erwin Center (seats 16,374) with all the bells and whistles still does not configure the student section to get the most excitement generated at the games and the alumni show up late as always. The seating arrangement needs to be changed or make late arrivals have to sit up in the balcony until halftime and somehow get students charged up to attend games. I have even seen an article or two saying that this Texas job is one of the top 5 jobs in college basketball. We as fans have a long way to go to even come close to that type of ranking for the fan base. We need to be the ones to generate the change or pressure in order for the players and coaches to reflect our passions and demands.

The eerily similar path that the two head coaches on the two most high profile teams at UT are working with a lame duck athletic director makes for interesting fonder but does not help fans see any hope for change. Maybe the curse of the broken mirror will be done in less than 2 years. By that time DeLoss Dodds should be riding off into the sunset and a coaching change might be in order for us to change the culture and attitude about our program.

Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter @40AcresSports or follow me @Horns1991. HOOK EM!!

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Posted March 27th, 2011 by Ross
Filed under: Basketball

As we conclude another Longhorn basketball season, we are left again unfilled. The men’s basketball team was a crucial moment away from a visit to the Sweet Sixteen which is seen by many fans as a benchmark for success. I am not going to lament the fact that we have only reached this plateau 5 times under Rick Barnes. We need to realize what we have in Austin. There is an NBA team playing on the 40 acres. Let’s take a look at the NBA players that have been drafted while playing for Rick Barnes:

Player (*active) NBA Draft Pick
Chris Clack 1999 55th
Chris Mihm 2000 24th
Chris Owens 2002 48th
T.J. Ford* 2003 8th
Royal Ivey* 2004 37th
LaMarcus Aldridge* 2006 2nd
P.J. Tucker 2006 35th
Daniel Gibson* 2006 42nd
Kevin Durant* 2007 2nd
D.J. Augustin* 2008 9th
Avery Bradley* 2010 19th
Damion James* 2010 24th
Dexter Pittman 2010 32nd

This is a very impressive list of NBA players especially if you compare it to other schools. Currently there are only 6 other colleges that have more players that are active in the NBA (bet you could name the schools without looking at the next sentence). Those 6 teams are the true blue bloods of college basketball: UCLA, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, and Connecticut. We are tied for 7th with the team we just lost to which is Arizona. Oh yeah, everyone of these schools has won a NCAA championship in the past 15 years while Coach Barnes has been at the helm for 13 of those years. I know that Barnes was quoted by ESPN saying “We would love to win a national championship, but we’re not obsessed with it because we’re obsessed with these guys trying to live their NBA dreams”. I share the same feelings of Jay Bilas who was quoted that “Coaches will down play the importance of winning the title, until they actually win it”. But you can understand the frustrations of Longhorn fans when so many players are at the elite level with no NCAA championships to validate your program.

The Horns program is very similar to many NBA franchise. Go to a men’s home basketball game with the suites, the lack of attendance and the lack of electricity unless the scoreboard calls for noise or a highly ranked team has to make a visit. The brand of basketball played here is entertaining like you would see at any NBA game. The problem is that this team looks like the team you would travel north on I-35 to see which are the Mavericks. The team is fun to watch, entertaining, great in the regular season but nothing substantial to speak of in regards to conference or league titles. I wish the Horns were more like the NBA team that is located just south of us that brings home the championships.

Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter at 40AcresSports or follow me at Horns1991. HOOK EM!!

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Posted March 11th, 2010 by Ross
Filed under: Basketball, Feature

WTH?! (What the Heck?) Moments are attempts to find the memorable and the off-beat perspective on Longhorns sports. Here are some interesting moments from the Texas’ Men’s Basketball Season.

Rick Barnes' Texas basketball team collapsed midseason.

Rick Barnes' Texas basketball team collapsed midseason.

Pre-Season WTH Mr. April?! April is the month when most high school basketball players sign their letters of intent. Coach Rick Barnes, Mr. April, has out did himself by coming up with an incredible freshman class that includes McDonald All-American Avery Bradley (6-2, 180), Jordan Hamilton (6-7, 226) and J’Covan Brown (6-1, 185) to go along with highly touted transfer Jai Lucas(5-10, 150). These additions with three seniors Damion James (6-7, 225), Justin Mason (6-2, 195) and Dexter Pittman (6-10, 290) had this team starting the preseason ranked #3. An ESPN article reported that Barnes would rather develop players for the NBA than win an NCAA championship. I believe this is a misinterpretation because Mack Brown finally shed his stigma as Mr. February with his national championship, let’s hope that Coach Barnes does the same soon.

Nov. 25th WTH Practice?! The season was starting fast with a win over highly ranked Pittsburgh 78-62, but during pregame warm-ups Varez Ward right knee gave out ending his season. “We not talkin’ bout a game – we talkin’ bout practice” nod to AI. Who knew his backcourt experience (only as sophomore) would be sorely needed throughout the year?

Dec. 22nd WTH DJ?! Damion James was making claims early in the season for player of the year honors with back to back 20+ points and 13+ rebound in wins over #10 North Carolina (103-90) & #9 Michigan State (79-68). DJ also established himself as UT’s all time leading rebounder by surpassing James Thomas. The problems of poor foul shooting and any lack of a half court game was covered up by the Horns posting 17 straight wins through mid-January.

(more …)

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Follow along live with 40 Acres Sports on Twitter and below for our thoughts and analysis during tonight’s conference basketball match-up on ESPNU. We’ll be live right around tipoff for Texas versus [tag]Texas Tech[/tag] so join us to discuss the game at 8:00pm Wednesday night.

Things might be a little less wordy than normal, but please feel free to leave comments and questions using the live tool, but not all comments will be published. Read below for more notes on comments and how the live blog will work. Hook ’em!

(continue to read full live blog …)

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The Texas Longhorns are the number 1 team in the land this week after all. The football team came up short, but thanks to a [tag]Kansas[/tag] upset loss the men’s basketball team is now the top ranked team in both the AP Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. This is the first time in Texas history to hold the number 1 ranking.

Head coach [tag]Rick Barnes[/tag] felt the ranking was a compliment to the program and all the effort each of the players puts in every week. Of course, unlike football college basketball has a playoff and as Barnes put it, “I can’t honestly tell you who the No. 1 team was in the country on the second week of January last year, but I do know who won the national championship.”

Here’s this week’s top 5 college basketball teams:

  AP Poll   Coaches Poll
1 Texas (56)   Texas (30)
2 Kentucky (9)   Kentucky (1)
3 Kansas   Kansas
4 Villanova   Villanova
5 Syracuse   Syracuse
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WTH?! (What the Heck?) moments are attempts to find the memorable and the off-beat perspective on Longhorns sports. Here are some interesting moments from the Texas basketball game against the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Cowboys Stadium was a less than optimal game watching experience. (Image: TexasSports.com)

Cowboys Stadium was a less than optimal game watching experience. (Image: TexasSports.com)

Pregame WTH Jerry’s World?! Re-issuing this WTH tagline again. Walking into the Death Star you were immediately attacked by beer vendors. Where were you guys at the Big XII championship football game?! Make sure you are a fan of Miller products because Bud Light and Coors cannot be found.

1st Half (15:47) WTH Baby Video?! The Big Daddy video board was not enough so the Cowboys set up a smaller four sided video underneath for fans to see player names, fouls and points. Unfortunately, the baby video was often wrong or did not change with the substitutions that were happening on the floor. It was cool to see the time elapsed photos of converting the facility into a basketball arena. Shout out to the video producer who showed the UT Pom Squad often. So often that we noticed that one of the girls took out her belly button ring!

1st Half (9:12) WTH FREE throws?! UT is awful at the free throw line. On successive trips to the charity stripe [tag]Dogus Balbay[/tag] and [tag]Damion James[/tag] missed both free throw attempts. The team was 50% for the first half and clawed their way back to finish at 70% for the game. This will be a glaring weakness for the team this season unless head coach [tag]Rick Barnes[/tag] starts passing out $20’s for every made free throw at practice.

Half Time WTH Wholly Guacamole?! Never heard of the product and probably will never eat it. The sponsor for the halftime did provide us a funny moment when two youngsters played a very terrible game of pong on the giant video board. The best part was when the little brother started shoving the sister while she was playing.

2nd Half (13:11) WTH Balbay?! As UNC was trying to stage a comeback, Dogus Balbay was awaiting the inbound pass after a Tar Heel basket. The ball was rolling around the court so Balbay dropped kick the ball right into Alexis Wangmene’s grill.

2nd Half (4:39) WTH PB&J?! With a shout out to the teams of the past (BMW – Blanks, Mays, Wright), the new group of Pittman, Bradley and James put together a string of blocks, shots and dunks to get the 38,052 in attendance (3/4 Longhorn fans) up off their feet. Damion was the leader with 25 points and 15 rebounds followed by Dexter who had 23 points and 15 rebounds. A career day for a freshman was put in by Avery Bradley who finished with 20 points. The freshmen team that Barnes has put together will have many more career days on the 40 acres.

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Posted November 22nd, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball

ESPN goes behind the scenes with Rick Barnes at a Texas basketball practice:

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Texas coach Rick Barnes has brought in some of the best players in the entire nation over the last decade and The Sporting News noticed. He has been named recruiter of the decade for bringing guys like TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, and Avery Bradley to Austin.

Link: Barnes is decade’s No. 1 recruiter

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The 2008-09 Texas Longhorns were far from a perfect team, but Saturday night the team showed a ton of heart but came up short in the final minute in a second round loss to [tag]Duke[/tag]. Despite being overmatched in some areas, the victim of some bad bounced (and calls), and unable to knock down free throws the Horns still had their chances to come up with a huge win. Watch highlights from the game below…

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Posted March 19th, 2009 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball, Feature, Live, NCAA Tourney

Follow along below with our live thoughts and analysis during tonight’s opening round game versus [tag]Minnesota[/tag] on CBS. We’re live now, join us below.

We’ll also be embedding Twitter posts from @40AcresSports and with the hashtag #UT right in with the other notes. Feel free to leave comments and questions using the live tool, but not all comments will be published. Read below for more notes on comments and how the live blog will work. Hook ’em!

Text only archives available here.

Notes: Comments on the article itself will be turned off till after the game. The Writer can view all comments sent to them but only they can publish your comments for everyone to see. The “autoscroll” feature ensures you’re always shown the newest content without having to refresh or scroll your screen. Subtle sound effects alert you to new content as the writer publishes it. You can turn these features on or off by using the controls at the bottom of the Live Blog.

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