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So it appears that the young (4 frosh + 1 sophomore) Longhorns hoops squad is finally hitting "the wall".  This is the point in the season where young players often look worn out and play somewhat sluggishly.  In their last few games players have been standing around more on the offensive end, getting beat down the court on their defensive transitions and letting teams get a lot of of open looks from the perimeter.

First the reason young teams hit the wall is commonly attributed to them only being used to playing 20-30 games in a high school season.  And even those that played a rigorous AAU schedule have rarely played this many games in such a short period of time.  So right now it's likely their minds and legs are both tired.  Factor in the "college experience" as well; staying up too late, going to classes and studying, being BMOC for a large university...and these guys might be a bit gassed.

So what to do now if you're Coach Rick Barnes?

* Coddle the players.  Give them lots of positive reinforcement.
* Focus on fundamentals.  The first thing that breaks down with a tired player is the fundamental stuff.  Stress rebounding, shooting form, hustling back on D, etc.  Don't overload their brains with lots of info, just remind them of basic stuff.
* Go light in practice.  Rotate the practice schedule to let the guys have some fun.  Follow up a tough practice with a lighter one.
* Stay the course.  Don't expect less b/c the team is playing on tired legs.  Keep the offense running through Kevin Durant.  Keep expermenting with the different defenses.  Keep working on finding things that will work in the Tourney.

Because this will be a NCAA Tourney team if they don't crash down the stretch.  For now, they just need to get through this rough stretch.  And get themselves primed and ready for postseason play.  And although this team lacks experience in the postseason, the advantage the carry because they are young is lack of pressure.  Meaning, they aren't carrying a bunch of heavy expectations on them that might weight them down (like other teams).  They can go out and have some fun as they play.  Whatever results they achieve will exceed what many thought possible when the season began.

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