With yet another loss last night to the Missouri Tigers, 82-77, the Texas Longhorns lost their sixth game in the last nine that they have played. Along with that they fell to 6-5 in the Big 12, which is good for sixth place. since starting the year 17-0, and getting to be the #1 team in the country for the first time in school history, Texas' overall record now stands at 20-6. Once a team that was predicted to make the Final Four or even win the championship, Texas is now looking like a team that won't go far at all in the NCAA Tournament next month, and is looking at possibly falling out of the Top 25. Here is some of the reasons why I feel that they won't make a fun in the Tournament until they can solve these issues.
1) Free Throw Shooting: Texas is shooting 61.7 percent from the charity stripe which is ranked 85th in the nation. They went 10-19 (52.6%) in last nights game against Missouri in the loss. This has shown up to be Texas' biggest problem. They can't hit their free throws in the beginning, middle, or at the end of games. Their free throw shooting is what will help win some games in the Tournament, but the way that they shoot free throws it will also lose them a game just as it has this season.
2) Dexter Pittman: Damian James can't do all the scoring himself and expect the Longhorns to win. Where has Dexter Pittman been lately? In the wins you hear of them Pittman and James having monster games, this has not been the case lately. Pittman played 12 minutes last night against Missouri, due to early and often foul trouble. He didn't attempt a single shot and finished the game with two points. If Texas is going to make a run in the Big 12 or NCAA Tournament they need to find a way to get balanced scoring from Pittman like they were in the beginning of the season, and get him the ball more in the post because it opens up everyone else on the perimeter. If they get scoring and big games from Pittman and James this team is tough to beat.
3) They play too many guys: This hurts the Longhorns. Some games they go 10 to 12 guys deep and you just can't have this at the college level. This is more of a high school trend that one would see. Texas should stick to about seven to eight guys that can come in play some defense, rebound, and put the ball in the basket.
4) Team Chemistry: Once things start going bad, it's all one on one junk. They just totally forget about the team aspect of the game and try to do it all their selves. The only one that seems like they want the ball is Damian James, while all the other players just stand around and watch hoping that he makes a play so they don't have to. They need to get the chemistry that they had back when they started 17-0 and were also blowing people out. They need to start trusting each other again as well. Watching them lately it's like they are just going through the motions and that they are not having any fun. Well I wouldn't either if I started out 17-0 and then lost six of my next nine games that moves us as Big 12 favorites to sixth in the conference. If they can get this back, and get it back soon, this Texas team will be tough to beat.
Texas has the talent to go far in the NCAA Tournament but if they don't get this stuff figured out and back together it's going to be a early exit for them in next month's NCAA Tournament. I'm a Texas fan and want to see them go far but I'm also being realistic.