Just a few points before some serious mourning.
- It's not instructive to try and pinpoint this loss on any one person. Some will try - ignore them. Truth be told, Durant didn't play very well. Augustin played terribly. Barnes didn't prepare the team well for the Trojans. Atchley was awful. JD Lewis is a Division 8 player. The point is: no one had a good day. Even Durant - the best player I've ever seen - was subpar. It happens.
- USC played well. The Trojans had a good game plan and executed it. Credit to their coach; credit to their team.
- The lack of a post presence on this team was a problem for Texas all season, and a decisive one today. USC pressured Durant and Augustin on the perimeter and disallowed them to work near the basket. Without any credible threat in the post, Texas wound up settling for far too many outside jumpshots.
- Again, please just ignore the critics who want to say Rick Barnes is to be singularly faulted for today's loss. Remember, too, that this season he did a magnificent job with this extremely young team. We've been short a big guy and vulnerable to physical teams all year, so I guess I'm not surprised that we got muscled out of the tournament today.
- Hey, if there's one bright spot, it's that this is one awful way for Durant to end his career at Texas. Maybe he'll feel compelled to return.
Update [2007-3-18 20:10:1 by awiggo]: I'll add a few of my thoughts to PB's. I fell in love with this Texas team and am devastated that this season ended so quickly. Kevin Durant is the best player I have ever seen play college basketball, DJ Augustin is as good as any freshman point guard in the country, and AJ Abrams is one of the streakiest and deadliest shooters in the country, but this was not a complete team.
Those of us who watch every game have commented, all year and even before the season started, about our lack of a post presence, about the difficulty of teaching defense to four freshman starters, about how stagnant our offense looks when Augustin is on the bench or in foul trouble, about our inability to rebound out of the 2-3 zone or our difficulty rebounding at all when we start three players under 6'3".
Many of these warts popped up again this afternoon in Spokane. We didn't rebound well, turned the ball over way too many times, and got bullied around by a physical and hot shooting team.
Congrats to Tim Floyd and the Trojans. They play well, hard, and physical and did their absolute best to limit Durant's impact on the game.
All that said, this was a fantasic year and anyone who wants to cut scholarships or demonize single players for poor performances or pray certain contributors graduate is not adding anything constructive to this blog.
Say that Lewis needs to get quicker, or Atchley needs to play bigger, or Abrams needs to do a better job recognizing good shots, or Augustin needs to get stronger, or Barnes needs to call more timeouts or work on his motion offense. But saying someone sucks or should be kicked off the team is juvenile analysis at best.
Congrats to Coach Barnes for recruiting and signing the best player ever to wear burnt orange and for providing Horns' fans across the country an awesome product to cheer for. Already looking forward to next year, with or without Kevin Durant, as Gary Johnson, Clint Chapman, Alexis Wangmene, and maybe Dogus Balbay join the Longhorns.