The 2012 Texas Longhorns basketball team has already begun to dig themselves a hole – with an 0-3 conference start – that they will not be able to dig out of. I’m confident in making the assessment, today, on Jan. 12, that this team will be the first to miss out on the NCAA Tournament in the tenure of Rick Barnes.
The “youth excuse” which has been the go-to explanation for Texas’ struggles through their first sixteen games, which now sees the team at 8-8 overall after an 82-62 drubbing in Ames at the hands of the Iowa State Cyclones this afternoon, is no longer comprehensive enough to be reasonable.
This is a Texas team that is not only inexperienced, but plays without any apparent sense of urgency or desire to change the face of a game when given the opportunities to do so. Constant turnovers, listless movement on the offensive end, and a lack of desire on the defensive boards lead to constant opportunities for opponents which wouldn’t be there otherwise with a total team effort.
While the Longhorns now receive a much-needed week off before welcoming the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks to Austin on January 19th, there’s no way to see things getting any better anytime soon.
With 15 regular season games remaining, it’s reasonable to assume Texas would need to win at least 10 of these just to get to 18 wins and have an outside-looking-in chance at being a bubble team that would earn an at-large bid to March Madness. Given the inconsistency of the Texas team so far, seeing how these 10 wins would come to be, with the strength of the Big 12 schedule, is a tough task.
Texas misses on the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Rick Barnes took over in 1998, and slogs their way into the NIT– raising questions about the future of Texas basketball and the direction the team should head in.
Losing isn’t taken lightly on the Forty Acres, and I can promise you, concern is blooming.