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Texas appeared to have turned a corner. A week ago, they were cutting the down the nets in Kansas City after winning the Big 12 Tournament and secured a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In a blink of an eye, all momentum was lost. The Longhorns put together their worst performance of the season on Saturday, falling to 14 seed Abilene Christian in the opening round in a shocking upset. Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from one of the lowest moments the Texas basketball program has seen under Shaka Smart: Texas backed themselves into a corner from the start. Matt Coleman picked up two quick fouls, forcing his way to the bench. The Texas offense never recovered. Coleman finished the game with only 9 points and turned the ball over 7 times. His performance was a far cry from his 30 point outing just 7 days ago. Not much else to say other than Coleman just did not have a good game. The Longhorns were dominated on the glass, specifically the offensive glass where they allowed Abilene Christian to pull down 18 offensive rebounds. The Wildcats repeatedly beat Texas to spots on the floor to pull down rebounds and out-hustled the Longhorns all evening. It's to believe that a program like Texas can't physically dominate a program like Abilene Christian, but it happened. If Texas would have found a way to pull out a win it would have been because of the effort of Andrew Jones down the stretch. Jones was the lone guy on the floor who had any feel for creating his own shot and connected on a 3 with under 20 seconds left to give Texas the lead. Jones lead Texas with 13 points and was 3-5 from deep. He also turned the ball over 4 times, but he certainly wasn't alone in his struggles of taking care of the basketball. Jericho Sims had the quietest double-double you may ever see. Sims was a complete non-factor the entire second half and only had 3 (!!!!) field goal attempts the entire game. Abilene Christian did a good job of defending him and forcing him to kick out to shooters, but the fact he didn't touch the basketball more is mind-boggling. It's easy to second guess personnel decisions after a loss, but it was certainly surprising to see Donovan Williams and Royce Hamm on the floor together during the first half. Williams did not appear at all during the Big 12 tournament and was used sparingly in the regular season. Shaka Smart had to juggle his lineup often considering the number of players he had in foul trouble at various points, but he did himself no favors offensively with some of the combination of players he was putting on the floor. All the credit in the world should go to Abilene Christian. Despite shooting under 30% from the field and under 20% from deep, they outplayed Texas. The better team won the game, which is a tough pill for a lot of Texas fans to swallow. The Wildcats had a good gameplan, knew what their identity was and executed it to perfection. What's Next? Let's not beat around the bush, there is a real question as to whether Shaka Smart will be coaching this team next season. He has two years remaining on his contract. While the regular season performance was good and the Big 12 tournament championship brought a lot of excitement, the failure to deliver a single NCAA tournament victory so far in 6 year tenure is what most people will think about. Chris Del Conte will have a tough decision to make. The Longhorns will be opening up a new basketball arena in less than 12 months, and they may have a new coach to go along with it.
Photo: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports The 3-seed Texas Longhorns (19-7, 11-6 Big 12) will face the #14 seed Abilene Christian Wildcats (23-4, 13-2 Southland) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday evening. The Longhorns enter the game as winners of the Big 12 Tournament, their first in school history, and a #3 seed in the Big Dance for the fifth time in school history. Texas finished ranked #9 in the AP Poll, the first time the program has finished in the Top 10 since 2011. Abilene Christian won the Southland Conference Tournament for the second straight year and is appearing in their second straight NCAA Tournament. What: #3 Seed Texas Longhorns (19-7, 11-6 Big 12) vs. Abilene Christian Wildcats (23-4, 13-2 Southland) When: Saturday, March 20, 2021 Tipoff Time: 8:50 PM Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium - Unity Court Location: Indianapolis, Indiana Television: truTV Last meeting between these two teams: N/A All-time series record: N/A
Join HornSports for March Madness this year by filling out a bracket and participating in our Bracket Pool! PRIZES The winner will receive a $100 Uber Gift Card and a microfleece HornSports zip-up jacket. Runner-up will receive a HornSports cap and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card. Fill your bracket out: http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/brackets/pool/C3FB156C2D06762A/ GOOD LUCK!
We didn't make the NCAA Tournament this season but one thing is for sure: our players are not stupid. Today the Longhorn basketball team was awarded a Team Academic Excellence Award by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). What is this award you ask? It is given as recognition to teams that earned a cumulative 3.0 or better grade point average. Congrats to the Longhorn Basketball team for the honor but.................. personally I would have rather made the NCAA tournament. Stop studying so much and play some damn basketball!