To be perfectly honest, it couldn't have come on a better evening, as this was not only the Longhorns best team effort of the season, but Rick Barnes' finest evening of the year as a coach, as well. From the opening tip, Rick set the tone for the game, opting to make AJ Abrams defend JamesOn Curry and utilizing Damion James beautifully as an offensive weapon off of the screen. Rick also did a tremendous job of using Kevin Durant as a weapon other than a scorer: by taking advantage of what Oklahoma State wanted to do with Durant defensively, Barnes put Augustin in a position to continually break down the Cowboy defense with penetration. Barnes sent Durant down to work double screens that Oklahoma State spent enormous defensive capital on stopping; that, in turn, freed DJ to get to the rim on direct penetration.
This isn't just about tonight, though. It's about Rick Barnes' tremendous record as a coach in Austin. Andrew and I are some seriously obsessed Longhorn hoop fans - something that can lead us to be hyper-critical of every last little move. We don't spend enough time talking about the great shape that this program is in, the wonderful job he's done recruiting elite talent to the 40 Acres, and the outstanding track record he has with putting this team in a position to be relevant each and every March.
Rick hasn't broken through with a national title yet, but he's consistently a part of the conversation. For that alone, we should be grateful.
And even if we have to get back to being the hyper-critical fans that we are tomorrow, let's take tonight to extend our congratulations and a giant thank you to Rick Barnes for making Texas basketball something we can be proud of and excited about each and every year.