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The Madness! (Column by correspondent Corey Elliot)


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submitted Today, 08:38 AM in Texas Longhorns Basketball By Corey Elliot   social_twitter.png@CoreyElliot

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is referred to as the definition of insanity. So, technically, all Texas basketball fans are insane.

The majority of Longhorns hoops fans watched the same, dysfunctional team put out a lethargic, and in some cases uninterested, effort over and over again expecting a different result, only to be let down a mile short of successful, and stuck in the middle of mediocrity.

Let’s face it. Most of you reading this article wrote off the Longhorns basketball season before the drama and suspense of selection Sunday even began.

It’s OK. The guy writing the article did, too.

But I’m inviting you back to join me in believing these Longhorns are still capable of making us all eat our words. The many, many words, and tweets and message board rants, we have all surely spoken and written.


Because as cliché as it may be, this is ‘March Madness’ and anything can happen – and I mean anything. Just look at the Longhorns opponent – ask the fans in navy blue and white about being underdogs, overlooked and underestimated. They won’t have a reply for you, they’ll just point at the two Final Four banners hanging inside historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Since the Longhorns’ appearance in the 2003 Final Four, two 11 seeds, three 8 seeds and one 9 seed have made it to the Final Four. A deep tournament run for Texas is not impossible it’s just very unlikely.

But here’s the catch: it’s very unlikely for schools like Texas Southern, Belmont, Robert Morris and UAB to make the Final Four because they lack the talent and size (Man, it’s a rough time to be a UAB fan, but I digress).

Texas has the talent, the size and the athleticism to ruin a lot of office bracket pool dreams. Just because they struggled through injuries –and I’m not making excuses—bad coaching and the inability to get on the same page, it doesn’t negate the talent and the potential on the roster. Texas had a bad year. Ranked as high as six in the AP poll, you could even get by with saying a ‘devastating year’. But that does not negate the talent on that roster.

The talent, I might add, that is leaps and bounds above every player on the Butler roster, aside from Roosevelt Jones.

The reason it is very unlikely for Texas to make a deep run is, well, if you’ve been watching the same team I have, it’s been hard for Texas to score above 60 a few times this season. The Longhorns are in their own way in the same way an actual longhorn steer is in the way of traffic on a back country road; it ain’t moving no matter how many times you honk the horn and that’s frustrating.

Texas basketball has been frustrating. Notice the use of past tense? “Has been”, meaning Thursday can be a new beginning for this team rather than the same ending.

I don’t like to put the cart in front of the horse (or make analogies that remind me of the Sooner Schooner) but if the Longhorns advance out of the first round I feel like this team could catch a whiff of confidence and ignite a fire within itself.

But Thursday’s matchup with Butler is the only game on the docket right now, and if Texas isn’t prepared to exhaust all resources, and rewrite the end of this season’s story, then this game might as well be viewed as the last game of a devastating season.

I sat in Rupp Arena and watched Texas, without Isaiah Taylor, give the almighty Kentucky Wildcats all they could handle for 35 minutes. Not finishing may very well be the epitome of Texas basketball this year, but if we are going by eye tests and potential, I won’t budge. Texas is as tall, athletic and talented as any of the higher seeds in the field.

I wouldn’t have been surprised if Texas was a play-in team. I won’t be surprised if Texas loses to Butler in the first round. I won’t be surprised if Texas wipes the floor with Butler, either. I won’t be surprised if Texas makes a run to the regional final for a rematch with Kentucky any more than I wouldn’t be surprised if Butler wins by 20.

I will, however, be very disappointed if I tune in to watch Texas in hopes of finally seeing what this team is capable of come to fruition only to see the same, lousy, tired result.

For the sake of every acre on the forty, Gabriel and his horn, and all the Bevos that have come and gone, this team deserves to have the success many believed they’d see before conference play began.

Whether it ends in Indianapolis, or at the hands of a team from Indianapolis, I only hope that it ends with a team that did everything it is capable of, playing for a coach that deserves an ending on his terms, the way he always pictured it ending.

Because that’s what Rick Barnes deserves. For his sake, I hope the Longhorns play out of their minds. 

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