Big 12 Breakdown: Texas Longhorns
Is this disbelief on the face of Rick Barnes or a desperate plea for help? So far things have not gone the way the Texas Longhorns wanted them to go this season. They are still seeking the answers to how they can change things around. They were hoping when conference play started that things would be different, but they were wrong. They are now 0-3 in conference with losses to West Virginia in overtime at home and on the road at Baylor in overtime and at Iowa State in regulation. It’s tough to imagine the Longhorns extending their streak of 14 straight NCAA tournament berths this season.
Their worst loss this season is against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational Tournament by 13 points and their greatest victory was against than #23 North Carolina by 18 at home. They are 8-8 on the season and have a mountain to climb to even imagine them extending their streak of 14 straight NCAA tournament berths. This Saturday they have the #4 team, the Kansas Jayhawks, coming into town. These teams have had some great games but this year I think Kansas will dominate them.
The one thing that the Longhorns have going for them this season so far is rebounding. They are ranked 24th in rebounding and have been excellent on the boards. The one thing they are lacking is a deep scorer. They miss J’Covan Brown who could shoot the trifecta with ease. They are a very young team who I believe has a lot of potential but will not make a big impact this season. The biggest x-factor that is starting to show his real colors is their freshmen point guard, Javan Fleix, who had 26 points against Baylor and 1 turnover against Iowa State. It is asking a lot out of a freshmen to be mentally tough when you play on the road in front of a hostile crowd. Felix kept his own and will make a tremendous impact in the Big 12 this season.
One of the biggest things they need to work on as a team is consistency and to play fundamentally sound. Even the most experienced players are having a glaring lack of mental toughness. To make a impact on the Big 12, the Longhorns need to play smarter and start scoring more. “We’ve got to get every guy on our team understanding how hard you’ve got to play consistently every single day,” Barnes said when asked about McClellan. “We’re asking guys just to do the fundamental things correctly.”
It is always hard to see what Texas team will show up and if the one who played tough against North Carolina shows up the rest of the season look for them to finish 5 or 6 in the Big 12 this season. If the one team shows up who loss to Chaminade look for them being in the NIT or waiting to see what happens next season. It look likes from last season and this season that they are in the rebuilding mindset. So if anyone can give Barnes some help or advice, he would greatly appreciate it. Look for the Longhorns to be broken down this season until they get molded and rebuilt to the team we know all about.