The Longhorns got their butt whupped at No. 18 Kansas State on Wednesday night, 83-57. The Horns are now a healthy 9-11, 1-6 in the Big 12, and yet are still good enough to kick the blank out of TCU when the teams play on Feb. 2 in Austin.
The Horns are flying high to their first losing season under Barnes since he arrived in Austin in 1998. The only way this season is salvaged is if Kevin Durant returns to lead the Horns to a Big 12 conference tournament title and they reach the NCAA tournament for a 15th consecutive season.
The suspension of Myck Kabongo for taking impermissible benefits hasn't helped, but even had he played this team is still lacking.
The only thing saving Barnes right now is that college football signing day is Feb. 6, and that day is usually when football coach Mack Brown wins another championship. Also saving Barnes' butt is that he coaches a sport that the great people in the great state a Texas routinely marginalize.
Perhaps the only thing that will put Barnes in Bevo flop is if UT manages to lose to an awful TCU team either on Feb. 2 or in Fort Worth on Feb. 19.
Even then, however, any talk that Barnes should seriously be fired is inane. The man has done more to legitimize that program than any coach in the history of Texas basketball. The only time his teams at UT failed to win 20 games was his first season when they won 19, yet still reached the NCAA tournament.
Since he arrived, Texas has been the second-best team in the Big 12 to Kansas, which is one of the top five programs in the nation.
Barnes can recruit, and despite what his critics say, he can coach. You don't reach a Final Four and 14 consecutive NCAA tourneys because you don't know what you are doing.
This will be Texas' first losing season it finished 14-17 in 1997-'98, the last year under Tom Penders.
Barnes' teams have generally played hard, been clean, and usually win. This season has not been the norm.
The man has earned the right to have a bad year.
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