That was a fantastic and thought provoking article by Trips Right. Isn't this fun? It is nice to have everyone all riled up over Texas basketball and the underachieving 17-2 Texas Longhorns.
While I tend to agree with Hiphop on the failings of our execution on defense, it is interesting this year that those failings are fundamentally different than they have been in years past. Generally speaking we over rotate on defense, generally in a quest for ball hawking man pressure so we tend to overlook it.
This year we have just not executed off the ball at all, as Trips and nearly every other poster cogently (or bitterly and cogently in Ransom's case) mentioned on the post mortem (to hyphenate or not hyphenate, that is the question) linked above. The postulated theory that it is J'Covan Brown and Jordan Hamilton's fault is a little weak though.
They aren't exactly leading us in minutes.
Was Connor Atchley's excellence as a team defender that big an asset? Did it erase the defensive shortcomings of both AJ Abrams and DJ Augustin? I find that a bit hard to believe.
If you look at our starting line up, you see two excellent on ball defenders, a formally excellent on ball defender that has lost a step but does understand team defense, one foul prone big man with some shotblocking skills and generally poor fundamental defense, and one big man with some shotblocking skills and great effort that is a poor fundamental defender.
Off the bench, we bring an athletically limited shooting guard that could not jump over a phone book and has a screw loose (literally, in his foot), an athletically limited shooting guard with small forward height and frankly ghastly on the ball and off the ball defensive habits, a 6'6" (maybe) power forward with solid athleticism and lots of energy, a 6'7" highly athletic power forward that does not defend the post well and can't catch a rebound, a 6'10" string bean that has no defensive redeeming qualities, and a 6'10" guy that broke his foot and lost his bounce then cut his fro and lost his mojo.
We use these ingredients to try to implement a man pressure defense. This may not be be the best fit for who we have considering the above.
But, what is the best fit?
You are a defensive coach, but you aren't a defensive wizard that mixes things up like junk zones or changing defenses each possession or in the last 15 seconds of shot clock to steal possessions and create doubt. You wouldn't run a rhombus and one if a mad man had a gun to your head. You somehow (despite the smooth buttfucking you give to the mind of all your charges) rely solely on the effort and skill of your charges in pressuring the basketball and contesting shots. You have relied on this your whole career. This career has been worthy of great praise.
We know now that this defensive coach decided to play to his strengths by emphasizing and teaching man pressure basketball. That, I think, was a logical conclusion. Dance with the one who brung ya has a natural reverberation around the 40 Acres.
The real question for the sagacious cognoscenti that inhabit this enlightened corner of the Longhorn Interwebs, is what would you have done differently?
I know what I would have done, but I guarantee that Coach Barnes would not have gone this course because we have 400 some odd games of Longhorn tenure to fall back on. I can even tell you what Coach Barnes might do, for the same reason.
But, I don't care about reality. I want the opinions of the tens of people that post here.
You have twelve basketball players that are mismatched to your goal of man pressure basketball, especially if offense is some consideration. They are not without redeeming qualities though.
So, Pop Quiz Hotshot: What would you do? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?