Texas eeked out an ugly win last night in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic by "beating" West Virginia 76-75 on Lamarcus Aldridge's last second heroics.
Rick Barnes must be terribly disappointed with last night's effort. Daniel Gibson, despite making six three pointers en rout to his team high 20 points, was brutal as a point guard, committing nine(!) turnovers against just one assist. Folks, that's just hard to do.
West Virginia decided that the final 52 seconds would be a good time to miss three straight front ends of one-and-one opportunities, allowing the Horns to make the winning rally. If not for their monumental choke at the line, Texas would have certainly lost the game.
The main problem, as usual, was the half court offense. We have had high praise for Rick Barnes and the job he's done with this program, but he's been prone to one big criticism: he can't coach half court offense. The Horns looked lost on offense, running around sloppily with (seemingly) no plan whatsoever for creating open looks to the basket. Texas had five--FIVE!--free throw attempts in the game. Considering that the Horns dominated the rebounding contest 41-22, it's amazing that Texas was unable (or unwilling) to systematically work the ball inside.
As we said in the preview, the big key for Texas was not turning the ball over, as we knew West Virginia would take care of it on their end. Well, the Horns fell squarely into that trap, committing 24 turnovers against just 11 from West Virginia. That's far too many wasted possessions, and if not for the aforementioned domination in rebounding, it would have been lethal.
As is, Texas gets a `W' and will play Iowa for the championship tonight. We'll have a full preview of the game later today, but suffice it to say: if Texas doesn't figure out how to run a half court offense and take care of the ball, Iowa will gladly do what they did to us in an early season tournament last year--hand us our first loss of the year.