In looking back at the just completed UT Men's BB season it obviously was a disappointing one in the Rick Barnes era. Only once before under his leadership have the Longhorns not been ranked in a final poll ('04-05). We won't know for sure if UT is ranked for a few more weeks, but I think it's safe to say the chances are slim.
Also, only one season ('98-99, RB's 1st at UT) had more losses (13), with only one other season tied at twelve ('01-02). And there have been only three seasons with fewer wins ('98-99, '01-02, '04-05).
NCAA tournament exits under RB:
- 1st round - '98-99, '00-01, '04-05
- 2nd round - '99-'00, '06-07, '08-09
- Sweet Sixteen - '01-02, '03-04
- Elite Eight -'05-06, '07-08
- Final Four - '02-03
What makes this season the biggest downer for me is that the two of the three comparable seasons had an easy excuse to assign blame to:
- '98-99 (19-13, 20th AP), was, well, Barnes' first year.
- '04-05 (20-11, NR) UT lost Aldridge to season-ending injury and Tucker to poor grades.
The third comparable season, '01-02 (22-12, 18th Coaches) Texas made the Sweet Sixteen to redeem an off regular season. Of course you could say that three more seasons had premature tournament endings that could qualify as disappointing seasons ('99-'00, '00-01, '06-07) if that's a part of the equation.
But, all in all, the just-completed season will go down as one of the least impressive bodies of work for a Rick Barnes coached Texas team. Other squads faced high attrition from prior years but they found a way to be better than this team was.
It's not my intention to be overly critical of Rick Barnes in this post. In fact, the poor seasons cited here are relative to the higher expectations of UT hoops this coach has created for the program. All but five to eight programs in the nation would pay dearly for the outcomes we've had since he took over.
It is my intention to raise expectations of '09-10. With the talent coming in and RB's history of success much greater than this past season I'm down right giddy about it. Barnes will have every opportunity to teach and coach the players who are teachable and coachable, and with the addition of great recruits and a solid transfer Coach can't help but improve the team chemistry and proper positioning/lineups of players.
PS - I know I had issues with some BON fans during the season, accusing many of being "homers" for not acknowledging the deficiencies until late in the season. My apologies for rubbing you the wrong way. I am so excited about the prospects for UT sports these next thirteen months, though and look forward to continuing to read, learn and share thoughts along the way. The baseball team is capable of great things this season, I'm chomping at the bit for August and football season to rectify last year's atrocious wrongs inflicted on them, and the men's and women's hoops will both be primed for deep runs.
'Til Gabriel blows his horn!