What the hell happened in College Station?

I am fing sick. I just watched the game on tape and still can't believe my eyes. #7 Texas (24-5, 12-3) just lost 43-46 to unranked Texas A&M (19-7, 9-6). Did that just happen? I know we lost to Duke in NYC, to a talented Tennessee team in Austin, to OU in Norman, and to an emotionally charged OSU team in Stillwater. But did you just see what I saw? Raise your hand if that was the ugliest and most physical basketball game you have ever seen.

I thought this one would be ugly but this telecast should have come with a warning: Do not stare at the TV for longer than five minutes continuously. Permanent eye damage could result.

The stats are truly frightening. Our previous low point total was 58 vs. Villanova. The Cats are one of the best teams in the country. We managed just 33% shooting and less than 50 points against the freaking Aggies. Texas scored just three points on second chance opportunities, just 12 in the paint, and our frontcourt is arguably the best in the country. Those numbers make me want to throw up. We scored only 15 points in the second half and made only five shots. FIVE SHOTS! PJ Tucker was the only Horn in double figures with 11 points. Lamarcus Aldridge finished with just five points and three rebounds. Our half court offense was absolutely terrible. Coach Barnes has two options: 1) Continue to run the pick and roll and actually hit the man rolling to the basket or 2) Never run the pick and roll again. Those are the only options because what we saw tonight was embarrassing. A&M double teamed the ball every freaking time. Our guards were pushed back to the half court line and turned the ball over time and time again. Texas had 18 turnovers. PJ Tucker had seven of them.

I don't know if our defense was good or if the Aggie offense was just bad. Let's go with the Aggies were bad for now. They didn't do a good job of getting the ball to Joseph Jones. Although Jones finished with a game high 14 points, he wasn't exactly an offensive machine. A&M passed the ball quickly around our zone but weren't able to get many easy looks. They relied too heavily on the three point shot. The Aggies shot just 25% from behind the arc (5/20). That said they scored three more points than we did for the game off 14 more shots from the field. We held A&M to 19 second half points and still got beat. For the first time all season an opponent shot under 40% and won. This L falls on the offense and on Coach Barnes.

Our half court offense has been mediocre all season but seems to be getting worse not better. I don't want to sound like the sky is falling but we had the ball with 45 seconds left in a tie game. WE DIDN'T EVEN GET A SHOT OFF. Blame PJ and blame Barnes. The called play was a one on one move from forty feet with a forward. Why not work the ball around the perimeter with twenty seconds left, drop it into Tucker or Aldridge, and get either a shot near the basket or a kickout three to a guard? I know PJ beat Providence with a similar move two years ago, but that team didn't have Lamarcus Aldridge or Daniel Gibson? The clock management was horrendous, the play call mind numbing and the execution just terrible. We had the ball with a chance to win and didn't even get a shot off.

I can only shake my head at this one. I want to move on but can't. I am envisioning a similar low scoring game being our ticket out of the NCAA tournament in the second round. We must learn from this one. Do we have an actual half court offense? If so, let's start running it.

The good news is we still can win the Big 12 title and the number one seed in the Big 12 tourney with a win over the Sooners on Sunday. Also, the NCAA tournament doesn't start for another week and a half.

The bad news is we all just saw what this team is capable of. After our best performance of the season came our worst. In a single elimination format that won't work.

The bar has been raised since Barnes' arrival eight years ago. Past success makes fans raise their standards too. Getting to the NCAA tournament isn't good enough anymore. Assembling McDonald's All Americans is nice but the accolades don't mean much unless the team delivers. Winning twenty games a year is ok but it is not the standard. This team is still one of about fifteen teams capable of winning the national championship, but we are also capable of a sub 50 point performance and a loss to inferior talent.

I want to forget this one but I can't.

Comments?

--AW--

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