Well, that was horrible. A team that started the season 17-0 and was once the top ranked team in the country is now a disappointing 23-8. The Longhorns drop to a paltry 9-7 in conference play and a tie for sixth place in the league with Oklahoma State after another embarrassing road showing. Texas falls 92-77 to Baylor.
Because the ‘Horns swept OSU, Texas will be the No. 6 seed and OSU the No. 7 seed. Texas opens Big 12 tournament play against No. 11 seed Iowa State on Wednesday at approximately 8:30 pm. Game can be seen on the Big 12 Network.
This afternoon's loss was more the same for Texas. If it isn't one thing, it's another. Sometimes it's Damion James and Avery Bradley who show up; other times it's Jordan Hamilton and J'Covan Brown who play solidly; and even other times it's Dexter Pittman and Gary Johnson. Rarely does anyone, other than maybe James, put together strong performances in successive games.
Sometimes our offense clicks with solid ball movement, smart outside shooting, and consistent feeding of James and Pittman. More often, Texas goes stagnant against a zone defense, forces three-pointers, and fails to play inside-out with Damion.
Too often we also show flashes and failures within individual plays. This afternoon against Baylor, Texas would play solid defense for 30+ seconds and force a tough shot, but fail to block out. Texas would create a turnover but then fail to run an efficient fast break. And so on, and so forth.
This has been one of the more frustrating teams and seasons of UT basketball that I can remember. We entered this season and even this conference season in January with so much promise, so much depth, and so many ways to beat you. Over the last eight weeks, we have become about seven players deep as injuries, shattered confidences, and low basketball IQs have cut the rotation significantly. Individual players have devolved into offensive or defensive players. Unfortunately, you can't substitute after every made basket and players have to play on both ends. For the most par, our best offensive players are our worst defensive players and vice versa (James is the clear exception here).
Last, this team looks to be thinking and not playing. Their confidence has been shot and anyone expecting a deep run in the Big 12 or NCAA tourneys is betting on something not seen in weeks.
Why did we get run out the gym today? No defense, especially in the paint, and turnovers. Our offense really wasn't that bad. If we had gotten anything on the defensive end, this would have been a close game to the end.
You can't give up 92 points on the road and expect to win. You can't give up 10 dunks to a single player and expect to win. You can't turn the ball over 18 times and expect to win. You can't get lost defensively on simple screens and cuts, give up layups and dunks, and expect to win. You can't get outscored 57-32 in the paint and expect to win. You can't lose fast break points 11-0 and second chance points 18-9 and expect to win. And so on, and so forth.
A quick look at each Longhorn and the Big 12 tournament matchups after the jump...
Gary Johnson-played the best of any Longhorn on the offensive end but even his career-high 25 points to go with eight boards wasn't nearly enough. As good and aggressive as Gary was on offense, his defense against Acy was part of the problem on the other end.
Damion James-DaMo was also solid offensively with 18 points and eight boards. He still doesn't get the ball on offense enough.
Dexter Pittman-4 points and two boards in 14 minutes. After another invisible performance, you have to wonder if Texas isn't better without Dexter on the floor.
J'Covan Brown-Brown's up and down performances are at an individual level much like Texas's overall performances as a whole. There are some amazing flashes but too many boneheaded passes and mistakes. There are times when he clearly understands and even dictates the flow of the game followed by other forced looks and nearly ‘ole style defensive attempts.
Avery Bradley-AB has clearly hit the wall in recent games. He looks tired and is attacking the rim with even less frequency than normal. Today was one of his worst performances of the entire season. Texas desperately needs a better performance from Bradley to do anything in the post-season.
Justin Mason-Played just 12 minutes and barely registered on the stat line. I'm assuming that Barnes wanted to go with more offense against the potent Bear attack. In hindsight, it was the lack of defense that cost us in this one. Would Mason have made the difference, though? I doubt it.
Clint Chapman-Chappy was forced into action in the first half after both Damion and Dexter had to sit with two fouls each. Predictably, it was a forgettable performance-six minutes, no points, one board, and one turnover. You know that Texas is in trouble if Chapman or Hill is on the floor.
Jordan Hamilton-His 18 points is just what Texas needs on offense, but he was terrible on defense. There isn't a guard on Baylor that Jordan can check. Period. The official stats are not out yet but the unofficial box score doesn't have a single rebound by Jordan. In 31 minutes, that is not getting it done. Hamilton also forced a couple of balls early and finished with three assists to three turnovers. Texas needs those numbers to be great than 1-to-1 to win any more games this season.
Post your own game thoughts here.
Big 12 Tournament First Round Games-Wednesday, March 11th (bracket)
No. 8 Colorado vs. No 9 Texas Tech (11:30 am Big 12 Network)-winner takes on No. 1 Kansas
No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 12 Nebraska (2 pm Big 12 Network)-winner takes on No. 4 Texas A&M
No. 7 Oklahoma St vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (6 pm Big 12 Network)-winner takes on No. 2 Kansas State
No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Iowa State (8:30 pm Big 12 Network)-winner takes on No. 3 Baylor