How UT Baseball can Learn from the San Antonio Spurs
Texas baseball got an unfamiliar dose of reality when they were left out of the NCAA Tournament by the selection committee for the first time since 1998. To put that in perspective, The Truman Show sat at the top of the box office the last time the selection committee left the Horns out. It seems appropriate since head coach Augie Garrido probably wishes he could send his team to the playoffs with the push of a button like one of Truman's producers.
While the tournament exclusion remains disappointing, the dismissal could ultimately turn into a positive for the Horns. Aside from giving the Horns a chip on their shoulder heading into next season, the burnt orange boys of summer would do well to learn from a team residing down south on I-35. The San Antonio Spurs, current front runners for the 2012 NBA title, had a similar fall from grace last season and have bounced back in a big way.
Tim Duncan and his band of brothers are the talk of the town now, but last year they were exposed by the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The early exit served as a wake up call for the Spurs, who tweaked their roster to better suit the tried and true style of Spurs basketball.
The Spurs and UT baseball teams have a lot in common. The coaches, Garrido and Gregg Popovich, are the most respected in their disciplines. Both teams emphasize a commitment to discipline and fundamentals, and neither teams have the reputation of being heavy hitters. Style almost always loses out to substance, and UT and the Spurs have the latter in doses.
Yes, there is a little room for concern and disappointment for UT baseball. When making College World Series appearances happens as regularly as your birthday, you get upset when you don't get to blow out the candles. But there's also reason to believe next season can be a gift. To quote Howie Day, even the best fall down sometimes. Ask Mack Brown if you need evidence not too far home.
When you remove emotion from the equation, it really isn't that surprising that this was a down year for Texas. When you lose three stud pitchers from one year ago and have an inconsistent defense and group of hitters, the result is going to be middling. The Spurs came to the same conclusion last year when they couldn't cover up holes in their line-up. With that said, the Longhorns will likely return stronger, healthier, and fueled by the unceremonious end from this year in 2013.
If I'm Augie Garrido, I'm making the Spurs' playoff run required viewing for the next few weeks. It will be far more entertaining and educational for the Longhorns. The season may be over but school is still in session.