This Texas Longhorns team is young.
Yes, I’m aware.
Give them time to develop– things will get better.
Oh — will they?
The platitudes have worn thin, as the Texas Longhorns were handled with ease at the Frank Erwin Center this afternoon by the Oklahoma State Cowboys — raising more questions about the future of a once-proud program that’s in a tailspin, and will almost certainly miss out on the NCAA Tournament in March for the first time since 1998.
The loss sends Texas to 10-13 overall and 2-8 in Big 12 Conference play with barely any signs of life existing among those playing big minutes, or those asked to come off the bench to provide any sort of spark either on offense or defense.
Slumped shoulders. Puzzled looks. Minimal effort. Bench with its eyes rolling and disinterested looks. All the signs you would expect of a team that’s already thrown in the towel and given up– and it’s not the first time.
While, for some reason, Rick Barnes has gotten a pass on the performance of this team so far, I refuse to continue to grant that to him. Ultimately, every team is a direct reflection of their coach and the ability he has — or, in this case, doesn’t have — to get through to his players and motivate them to play to their greatest potential.
The mistakes Texas made in their early-season loss to Chaminade back in November in the Maui Classic are the same mistakes they made today in their eighth Big 12 loss to Oklahoma State. With young teams, there is a general expectation among fans that early-season mistakes will not be replicated in mid-February.
This is a direct reflection on coaching.
The eye test suggests that Rick Barnes has lost this team. Period.
I don’t care about Johnathan Holmes‘ season-ending injury or the suspension to Myck Kabongo. Sure, these are unfortunate situations which created some adversity — but every single team faces adversity. The reflection of a successful team that is well-coached and engaged is how they turn negatives into a positive.
This isn’t happening in Austin any longer.
When is it okay to start discussing Rick Barnes’ future at Texas?
In my opinion, now.
The Texas athletic administration shouldn’t be willing to give him next season — but they more than likely will be — and the beat will roll on as a program that once appeared to be on the rise continues to slip into non-relevance.