I think that we all went into this season with some excitement. Let's face it. It's not easy to cultivate basketball expectations at a football school but Rick Barnes has managed to do that. We're all disappointed. The season isn't over but after jumping out to a 17-0 record this team has floundered and looks suspiciously like a "one and done" team in the NCAA Tournament.
I don't get to see as much of the Horns as a lot of you who live in Texas and the southwest but I did see them at UConn and I have seen about a dozen games or so. I've taken a lot of your observations and some have made sense to me and I agree with them. Others I may not. Here's my thoughts. They may fit. If so, great. If not, correct me....
1. The rotation. This argument makes some sense to me. It seems like the "embarassment of riches" in talent really left us with no established lineup or go-to guys not named Damion James.
2. Damion James. I can't say enough about this guy. Obviously, the man leaves it out on the court every time. It seems that his body language is showing me a lot of frustration. He has no help on offense. He has no help on defense. He's trying to do it all and he can't.
3. Players who aren't players. If you look at our star newcomers, there's a lot of guys who insist on being one-dimensional playing either offense or defense but not both. I really can't tell what the hell Jai Lucas is good at much less why there was fuss over him at all.
4. Leaders who aren't leaders. In the most recent game, Mason looked like he was getting abused. He looks like he can't defend and he certainly can't score. He's a senior for God's sakes. Couple that with Dexter Pittman who is inconsistent (I'm trying to be nice) and the team is lacking in leaders.
5. Intensity/Hustle- I bit my lip on this for weeks. I don't like questioning anyone's desire but getting beat consistently in transition and being flat-footed on defense is just inexcusable. There is so much standing around while the other team makes plays it's maddening. How many times is there no rotation to help on defense?
6. Selecting shots and making shots. We don't really seem to have an offensive philosophy or at least all five guys on the floor aren't smart enough to be on the same page. We don't have a guard that will consistenly control the offense and the drive to the hoop is not what it used to be with Augustin. We're horrible on the season for free throws even though it's a little better recently.
7. Guard play- We give up a lot of 3's (5.7 per game ranking us 220th) and we turn the ball over more than 185 other teams per game (13.9)
8. Personal Fouls- We foul a LOT (241st in nation)
9. Rebounds- Our rebounding stats are good so it's confusing to me why it seems that we can't hold on to a damned basketball when it comes off the rim. Seems like stone hands to me.
Is this a fair assessment? I think so. I'm not saying they're bad people or that I want them all vilified. I just don't know how this particular incarnation of the Horns is just so painful to watch. I don't want to Rick-Bash but he doesn't really look like he has any answers out there. Has he lost this team? I have no idea but he's got some guys that don't really look like they're doing anything but their own thing.