With all due respect to PB, AW and all the B-Ball proponents here at the BON, I'd like to offer up a dissenting view. Like many a Texas fan here, I'm the very definition of the Longhorn fan who, on occasion, will allow him or herself to have brief dalliances with the basketball program provided it doesn't interfere with our true obsession: sweet-sweet, clean Texas Longhorn football. (For the love of all that’s good and pure, is it f*cking August already or what?)
Anyway, it’s not like I don’t support the burnt orange in every sport and academic foray it encounters. Hell, if there was a Longhorn Chess Club, I'd talk shit to the other Big XII nerds because don't you know we'd be awesome at it. But while I support them, i don't share the same passion for them that I do for football. So here’s my question for you...
Okay, not yet, I’m still warming up to it.
So this year while I was still enjoying my post Holiday Bowl buzz (PB, you were there, I saw pictures), I was alerted to the fact that the Barnes Stormers might have a little something-something cookin' with big wins against the Westwood Bru Crew and the Man Vols.
So I got a little excited, started reading the BON daily, got paralysis from all the pre and post game analysis, submitted some much needed color commentary to the terrifically acerbic gameday open threads (if I do say so my damn self), and even visited some site called RPI For Dummies by Ken Pomeroy to find out just how likely it was for a UT team in mid-season form to win a game on the road, in the Eastern time zone against a team with a point guard with two first names and a tattoo of a dagger on his right arm while playing on a parquet floor overlaying an ice hockey rink when the humidity outside is 50% or greater and the color commentary is being provided by Gus Johnson.
Needless to say, I got Hook'emed by Longhorn basketball. Oh yeah, it sucked me sideways. And dare I say it, just for a second, as you implored us to do, I let myself care (told myself I wasn’t going to do this) about Texas basketball almost as much as I do about Longhorn football. Believe me, last Friday night I was all kinds of DKR shit-faced yelling at the TV when UT outran Stanford and the Lopez twins took the second half off to spill a box of toothpicks on the court just so their stats-crazed mom could get a Jim Nance plug for correctly guessing that there were 127 toothpicks on the floor and 17 still in the box while sitting a ways away in the upper deck at Reliant eating pop tarts and watching The People's Court. We cut down some trees that night, didn’t we. F*ckin’ A we did. Felt so good to be a paid passenger on the Longhorn B-Ball bandwagon instead of a stow-away for a change didn't it?
And then Sunday, Bloody Sunday came. I felt just like that 8-year old boy I used to know with the overactive imagination who went blissfully riffling through his presents Christmas morning looking for the highly sought-after action figure he knew for sure lay amongst the homemade wrapping paper his little sister bedazzled with rudimentary star prints made from dipping a carved-up potato in lead-based paint only to watch in horror as his older cousin would steal said action figure and later use his swivel-arm battle grip to grasp a BlackCat and blow that plastic arm to smithereens in a senseless act of violence and familial betrayal.
That’s right, just like GI JOE, my newly beloved Longhorns got their dicks knocked in the dirt. And just like that, all my delusions of grandeur came crashing down around me and I got that all-too familiar sinking, empty feeling I get after, dare I say it, a rare Longhorn football loss. And I spent the rest of the day curled up the fetal position combing out the newly coifed Tom Penders perm on my amputee action figure.
And you know what, it’s all your fault. You made me care and I'm very angry with you for that. (Not really, we're still chilly chill, that was just my therapist talking, he said I should say that.)
So here’s my question to you purveyors of hoop dreams...
If the football team went to a BCS bowl and got their asses handed to them like the basketball team just did, do you really think we (and I mean all of Longhorn Nation here) would be writing things like, "wow, kudos on the special-special effort boys?"
We’d be ripping them a new one and sticking a For Sale sign in it. Plus, we’d all be miserable right now.
Honestly, I don’t want to discount all the success Barnes has had over the past decade and I’m sure you can make an argument that he’s had almost as much success on the court as Mack has had on the field (PB wrote like 12 pages on this once), but I want to know the end-game here.
Can you honestly tell me that we're building towards a legit title run in b-ball like we’re always looking ahead for in football? And is that even possible under the current structure? I concede that without Barnes, the 40 Acres never would have seen the likes of TJ Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Daniel Gibson, Kevin Durant, and DJ Augustin...but how is parading a cast of All-Americans through Austin while they’re on loan from the NBA for a year ever going to land us anything but a flat ass from sitting at the close-but-no-cigar bar year after year? How can you win a title when it seems like you're starting over year after year?
My guess is we'll win the national title in basketball about the same time Texas fans' expectations for the basketball team are commensurate with that of the football teams.
Probably alone on this one, but I'm also the same guy who said he never understood the love-fest for KD because the year he spent at Texas left me with no tangible memories to covet.
Again, I'm just a disgruntled, ignorant Longhorn fan looking for answers, and a hug.
PS. If DJ comes back next year, I take it all back.