Wow, where to begin? I'll let PB take the critical, more thorough look and only offer a few brief thoughts before trying to erase the last two home games from my memory.
- This team has no identity. Are we a team that pounds it into Gary Johnson and Dexter Pittman? Are we a team that relies on dribble penetration? Are we a team with an entire offense designed around getting a 5-10 guard catch-and-shoot opportunities? Are we a team with so many athletes who are such poor shooters that an up-and-down helter skelter full-court press should really be our offense? I have no idea and neither does Rick. The sooner we figure this out the better.
- Our half-court offense is so bad that we have only a razor thin margin to work with. The defense was great early in the season and is still acceptable now, but our offense is so inefficient that we simply can't blow anyone out. We don't shoot the ball well enough to pull away when we grab leads. We don't sink free throws at a high enough rate to always know that games are out of reach. And we don't have a go-to, consistent offensive player to lean on when we go a couple of possessions in a row without a bucket.
- This team is so inconsisent, it's scary. BigRoy touched on this in his preview and I've mentioned it as well in reviews and other comments. Rick Barnes doesn't know who is going to show up on a given night. Sometimes it's AJ with solid shot selection, sometimes it is Justin Mason taking care of the ball and attacking the rim, sometimes it is active Gary Johnson on both ends, sometimes it is Dexter Pittman who is owning the paint, and sometimes it is Damion James who looks like his hours of jump shooting in the summer are finally paying off. But on any given night, who freaking knows?
- Not have a true point guard hurts, but so does having just a single three-point threat. I laughed at the Missouri defense in the first half. I simply couldn't figure out how they were allowing Texas to beat them with Dexter Pittman over the top. How hard is it to pack the paint with three guys, apply light pressure on the ball (Mason or Ward), and shadow Abrams everywhere? Mason isn't a threat to shoot from the perimeter, neither is Varez Ward or Connor Atchley, really. Rick Barnes can't insert Dogus Balbay either. He won't/can't shoot even when he gets inside the lane. Our typical high pick-and-roll offense isn't difficult to defend either. Who cares if Connor pops open for three? He doesn't have the confidence to knock down the 20 footer. Who cares if Mason or Ward or Balbay is left alone for a second as the defenders sort out who is taking who. It doesn't matter. None of the three of them can sink a three-pointer, so leaving them free for a second or two is fine. Sure, not having a dribble penetratingpoint guard has hurt our offensive efficiency but not having anyone, other than AJ, who can make a simple open three-pointer has been equally crippling.
- Something wasn't right with Damion James tonight. There were reports of knee/leg pain that required an MRI a few days ago. He didn't play great defense, only played 27 minutes, and didn't seem to have the same explosiveness that we normally see.
- New goal: top four and a Thursday bye in the Big XII tourney. My pre-season thought was 12-4 behind OU and Kansas. After the Baylor win, I started dreaming of 13-3 and possibly playing through the final weekend with a shot at a shared title on the line in Lawrence. Well, after two straight home losses, the goals have changed. We must protect our home court the rest of the way. This includes beating Oklahoma State, OU, Texas Tech, and Baylor. To be certain of a top four conference finish, we'll need all four home games left and probably need at least two more road wins. The most likely two are Nebraska and Colorado with tougher road games at A&M, at Oklahoma State, and at Kansas also left.
In summary, Longhorns drop their second straight, 69-65, at home to Missouri. Texas falls to 15-6 overall and just 4-3 in Big XII play. PB will post a full review tomorrow. The sky is still not falling but man it's starting to feel like it is.
Vent if you need to.