Few college basketball shticks are more predictable than Rick Barnes’ propensity to disappoint.
In 2006, Barnes was handed Kevin Durant—a top-three player in the NBA already—and couldn’t advance past the second round of the NCAA tournament.
He hasn’t made it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in five years, and over his 25-year head coaching career has made only one Final Four, where he promptly lost to a No. 3 seed as a No. 1.
Armed with unlimited resources at the second richest athletics department in the country, Barnes has championed something much less than greatness at a university that calls for championships. Sure, the Longhorns head coach owns a streak of 17 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. But what has he ever made of those other than wasted opportunity?
No one doubts Barnes’ ability to pad regular season win totals before his inevitable early-tournament sendoff. It’s his bad habits of failing to mesh talented individual pieces into a strong, cohesive unit that’s drawn warranted criticism. Never mind how his teams perennially scuffle with the most basic fundamentals.
Forget the past, though, for one moment, because the maligned legacy of Rick Barnes sunk to a new low on Monday night.
Barnes’ Longhorns, a team ambitiously ranked No. 24 by the coaches in their preseason poll, fell to Division II Chaminade, the host school of the Maui Invitational, in the quarterfinals of the early-season tournament. It was a Texas-size upset, the kind that would put a coach at any other high-ranking athletics department summarily on the hot seat.