until Texas vs Kansas

Monday, January 24


Oklahoma 64 Texas 60

Oklahoma ended a five-game losing streak to the Longhorns by beating Texas 64-60 in Norman on Saturday. Playing in its first game without star forward P.J. Tucker, Texas couldn’t muster enough offense in the second half to pull out a win. Oklahoma got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Kevin Bookout, including a wild three point play in the game’s final minutes that buried the Horns.

This was a game Texas-con-Tucker could have won. Texas-sans-Tucker wasn’t good enough. This is probably going to be the story for the rest of the conference season, and I expect road wins against the Big 12’s top teams to be few and far between. Given the importance of road victories in RPI and tournament seeding, the loss of Tucker is magnified.

The bright spots for Texas were that Daniel Gibson was outstanding and the Horns nearly won the game. Oklahoma has won nine in a row and is terribly difficult to beat in Norman, but Texas was ahead by seven at one point and could have easily won the game with a bit more offense down the stretch. I thought we’d lose by 10 points or more, and a close loss in our first game without Tucker is at least a bit encouraging.

Nevertheless, it’s going to be a rocky road ahead for Texas, especially with Aldridge still out. The next road test is a trip to Lawrence to play Kansas, who will be fiery after getting blown out at Villanova on Saturday. It's hard to see the Horns leaving town with a win.



The Horns lost a tough one in Norman on Saturday, 64-60, but this one was lost when Tucker was declared ineligible and Aldridge went down at Nebraska. Texas is forced to now play with only eight legitimate players and one of those, Dowell, is available for very few minutes. This means the Horns now have one post sub, Williams, and one sub for the three backcourt positions, Paulino. We no longer have the luxury of really defending the low block and not worrying about fouls. Our lack of depth has forced Barnes to make adjustments. The obvious one is to play a 2-3 zone to protect Buckman and Klotz from foul trouble and force the opponent to beat you from the outside. Barnes loves man to man. He said he couldn't remember starting a game in a zone defense as the Horns did at home against Ok St. They followed Monday night's win by playing zone exclusively against the Sooners. And for the first 35 minutes it worked well. OU was ice cold from the outside and UT seemed like they might escape with a huge victory. But McKenzie and Lavender hit two threes in the final two minutes to put the Sooners ahead for good.

The 2-3 zone is a double edged sword though. Yes, it protected Buckman and Klotz and successfully forced OU to rely on the outside shot. OU shot a pitiful 6/28 from behind the arc. But the weakness of the 2-3 is on the defensive glass. OU out rebounded the Horns by 6 and took seventeen more shots from the floor. Even though the Sooners shot below 40%, they made just enough shots to win. Look for the Horns to continue to play almost exclusively zone until they get Aldridge back. And that may not happen until next season.

A tough loss but a positive effort. Hopefully, we can convince ourselves we are capable of winning without Tucker and Aldridge. I agree with Bean, road wins will be extremely difficult from here on. We must continue to win at home starting with Tuesday night against Texas Tech.

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