South Carolina at Kentucky Post-Game: Should Darrin Horn Be on the Hot Seat?

An old saying goes that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, hoping to get the same results. If that's true, Darrin Horn is certifiably insane.

I'm not going to give a detailed review of what happened this afternoon in Lexington. Suffice it to say it was a dismal day for Carolina basketball. And the truth is, there was probably little Horn or our team could have done today to win this game. The 'Cats are a deeper, more talented team, they were at home in the friendly lair of the Big Blue Nation, and they came to play today, shooting the ball as well as I've seen any team shoot it this year, particularly early on, after which point the game was never in doubt.

That said, it didn't have to happen like it did, with Kentucky mopping the floor with Carolina to the tune of 90-59 in a game that really wasn't anywhere near that close, if you can believe that. And as far as I'm concerned, the culprit is coaching. My main problem? Horn's continued reliance on Bruce Ellington to shoot us into games. Ellington was 1-11 from the field in 31 minutes of playing time. If this was a one-game thing, it would be one thing. But it's not. Ellington has not had a good game in weeks. Sure, he's had a couple where he's scored some points, but it's always been on a poor shooting percentage. More often than not it's been like it was today, with Ellington chucking up brick after brick and missing more shots than he scores points.

I get that Horn came into the season hoping that Ellington would be able to step into Devan Downey's shoes and be our leader on offense. It wasn't a bad plan, even in hindsight; Ellington came in as a heralded recruit and early on, he lived up to the hype. And for that reason, I hate to pile on him. He's a freshman, and he's struggling mentally. I don't think that means it's the end of the road for him. However, it does mean that as a coach Horn needs to step in and try something different. We can't keep going into every game planning for our first plan to be to have Ellington to chuck up half a dozen or more threes and hope some of them fall. That would be crazy, right?

Yet that's precisely what Horn is doing right now, and that, along with  some of the other problems we've discussed this year, is causing me to lose a lot of confidence in him. A lot of people have defended Horn by saying that this team had low expectations, and certainly, it's a roster full of freshmen playing in a tough division. I get that. But we're awful right now, folks, and we seem to be getting worse. The worst of it is that I haven't gotten the impression that Horn is capable of doing anything to get us out of the rut. I see very little evidence of strategical genius in his coaching. What he does seem to do very well is motivate his players, but that only goes so far, because it's hard to motivate players once the season has gone down the tubes.

I don't think it's time to part ways with Horn yet. A historically mediocre program can't justify firing a coach in his third year, especially when we returned little talent to speak of this year and had no expectations. Horn deserves a chance to see this group of players mature and to see what he can do with them. However, I do think that it's time to put the pressure on. This program can be solid than this with the right coach. I hope Horn is that guy, but right now, I'm really having doubts.

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