Rick Barnes

Pressure mounting on Texas head coach Rick Barnes?

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There are not many coaches out there that have it as good as Rick Barnes.

He’s the head coach of the men’s basketball team for the most recognizable university in the state of Texas which just so happens to have one of the richest athletic departments in the country. And that athletic department also doesn’t give two hoots about the basketball program so long as they are winning enough games to be relevant.

When you combine the salary with the lack of expectations and pressure, there’s an argument to be made that Texas is the best job in the country. Seriously.

But things haven’t been going all that well for Barnes of late. Last season, his Longhorns went 16-18 and lost in the CBI, extending their streak to five consecutive seasons without making it out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. That streak will likely continue into next season, as Jaylen Bond, Julien Lewis and Sheldon McClellan followed Myck Kabongo out the door.

How bad are things getting for Barnes down in Austin?

In a place where they couldn’t possibly care less about college basketball, local columnists starting to take notice. In Kirk Bohls’ story from over the weekend, this nugget was included:

“If I said I was not concerned, that would not be accurate,” said Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds, who said he has had serious talks with Barnes. “I am concerned. I am troubled by it, and we need to get it fixed.”

When was the last time you heard DeLoss Dodds say anything about the Texas basketball program?

That’s a problem.

To be fair, some of this isn’t his fault. He didn’t expect Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson to be one-and-done recruits. He couldn’t have known that Myck Kabongo would be a bust that missed two-thirds of last season because of issues stemming from his relationship with an agent.

But Barnes isn’t known as a guy who is a great x’s-and-o’s coach. His reputation is as a recruiter, someone that amasses talent and rolls the ball out, hoping that his guys end up being better than the other guys. That’s fine when your roster has guys like Kevin Durant, DJ Augustin and Damion James. When that talent well dries up, however, it becomes a different story.

Right now, Barnes isn’t getting it done on the recruiting trail. Texas is a gold mine of basketball talent right now, and schools like Kentucky (Julius Randle, the Harrisons), Oklahoma State (Marcus Smart, Le’Bryan Nash) and Duke (Matt Jones, Rasheed Sulaimon) and pulling talent out of the state, Baylor and Houston are having more success keeping in-state kids in state.

Think about it like this: there have been 11 five-star recruits to come out of Texas during the Longhorn’s Sweet 16-less stretch. Barnes has landed exactly one of them: Cameron Ridley.

That’s not going to get it done.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.