Back in January Longhorn fans were a buzz because Rick Barnes had his team playing at it’s best probably ever and people were saying this was his most talented team from top to bottom he has ever had in Austin. But then came the late February and March collapse, which has started to become the Rick Barnes mantra. While this has been a recurring theme in the Barnes regime, there is one fact that nobody can ever dispute. Rick Barnes has made Texas basketball relevant, and he brings in some of the best recruits in the nation. He has taken this program and put it at heights thought that were impossible at a football school.
That being said, the Longhorns have one of the highest paid coaches in the country and there is nothing to really show for it. No Big XII conference tournament championships, no national championships, and one Final Four appearance. While the natives are getting restless in Austin with the current state of the team and the heat will start to get a little hotter under Barnes’ seat in the Irwin Center, he is no danger of losing his job anytime in the near future. He is the man responsible for making Texas basketball relevant and giving Longhorns fans something to do until Baseball season gets into full swing.
At what point does the fan base get tired of making the tournament, only to get bounced in the first couple rounds. I think after this season, that will not be sufficent enough, as with any up and coming program, expectations are going to be more and more. With the quality of talent being amassed in Austin, fans are going to start to expect appearences in the Elite Eight or Final Four on a yearly basis. First thing that needs to be fixed, is Rick needs to start having his team peak at the right time, every year at tourney time, Texas is on a slide and can’t ever recapture the momentum from earlier in the year.
Rick Barnes is a good coach, and has brought success at Texas, but this off season, he needs to figure out what the problem is and try to fix it. Because the fans and media are becoming more and more critical of him and his lack of deep tournament runs. Longhorn fans better hope that he doesn’t get an offer he can’t refuse from NC State, because if Barnes leaves, he may take all the success that Texas has enjoyed with him.
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