Thanks Rick Barnes and Texas for making me look like an utter fool for devoting an entire post about how you’d actually win an NCAA Tournament game. My mistake. You strung me along there for a while and had me believing that you’d be the ones getting slaughtered by Kentucky instead of Wake Forest
But no, you did exactly what you’ve done all seasons. A completely nonsensical substitution strategy. Terrible free throw shooting. Absolutely zero rebounding presence.
And of all of those things, I find my frustrations aimed squarely at Damion James and Gary Johnson.
These two were (largely) the only constants on a team of question marks. They usually didn’t do anything special but you knew what they would do: hustle, rebound, clean up and leave their hearts on the floor. Both had the chance to win that game Thursday night. James just needed to make one free throw to give Texas a one-point lead with seconds left in regulation and likely the win. Johnson could have iced it in OT after the Horns blew a ridiculous eight-point lead.
Both failed. Miserably.
It’s disappointing for a guy like James. He was the leader of this mess of a team and the season–his final game of his collegiate career–was squarely on his shoulders. If the ESPN 30-for-30 doc about Reggie Miller taught me anything, it’s that winners come through when the game is on the line. He had his chance and he blew it.
After the game, all he had to say was “No comment.”
I would have gone with that too.
Even though the loss was infuriating, at least it was the last. This team is finally done. Doesn’t matter what happens next year. Bradley, Hamilton and Brown could all go pro for all I care. Chances are they’d have better chemistry–and chances–with Andrew Dick running the point and Matt Hill manning the paint.
Well not really. But it seems like a better alternative now.