until Texas vs Kansas

Monday, February 7


Iowa State 92 Texas 80

The disappointment is more than mounting here in Austin after a 92-80 overtime loss to Iowa State on Saturday. It’s beginning to look like a mountain. Texas let a seven point lead slip away in the final minutes of regulation and then got pounded in overtime, 24-12. If the loss wasn’t enough, it appears we may have suffered two injuries to our already severely depleted squad. Paulino suffered a dislocated toe and Harris reaggrevated a nagging groin injury. Both players started on Saturday. Neither scored. Are we really down to just six players?

Texas started the game as flat as a map of West Texas, quickly falling behind by double digits. Iowa State played an active 2-3 trapping zone that forced Texas to rely on the three ball which wasn’t falling. Texas fans should be use to seeing this zone because since we lost Tucker and Aldridge, Barnes has employed it almost exclusively. But Iowa State’s zone looked better than ours. We looked lost, struggled to get the ball inside or even get an open look on the wings which are normally open. But to our credit, Texas came back. We cut the lead to just five at halftime and took the lead five minutes into the second half. This is a game we should have closed out. I should be writing how we got off to a slow start but managed a win even with cold shooting and without two stars. I am instead writing that our lack of depth and experience were magnified over the final five minutes. Gibson and Taylor each had costly turnovers and Buckman missed a free throw that would have put us up three with under a minute left. We didn’t convert, let Iowa State get an easy basket to tie, and then couldn’t even get a shot off with our last possession.

High points: Brad Buckman played one of the best games of his career finishing with 20 points and 15 boards. He appears to have heard the challenge from Barnes. If we are to win any games from here on, we must establish a solid inside presence. Gibson was once again spectacular finishing with 23 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals. Yes, he did suffer 5 turnovers, but he also played 45 minutes. The whole game. Gibson was the fastest player on the court and obviously the one with the most upside. And surprisingly, Dion Dowell played quality minutes scoring nine points with a dunk and a three ball only a minute after entering the game in the first half. Dowell also played tough defense—especially on Curtis Stinson. Stinson is definitely the Cyclone’s best player and probably the only player on their whole squad who could start at Texas. The talent differential is yet another reason why this loss is so tough.

Low points: We lost. There is not much getting past the final score. We may have lost both Paulino and Harris, but I doubt it. I expect both of them to play on Tuesday at Colorado and we will need them. I don’t know how many fast breaks points we gave up but the numbers were substantial. Iowa State had countless 2 on 1 and 3 on 1 breakaways. The explanation is two fold. First, Texas played with basically six players and fatigue was a definite factor. Second, Gibson is the one creating the offense. Gibson took 16 shots, more than anyone else. At times it appears our offense cannot function without Gibson trying to create. But as he creates and shoots jumpers from the wing, no one is left at the top of the key to get back on defense. We want Dowell to help on the offensive boards, so that leaves only Taylor even close to getting back on defense. I expect Barnes to correct this breakdown by Tuesday.
This is a tough loss: our first in 16 home games; Iowa State’s first conference road win in 28 games spanning nearly three years; and our first home loss in 34 games vs unranked opponents. Barnes must find solutions quickly. We play at Colorado on Tuesday.


I can't believe I'm saying this, but Texas is quickly racing towards the dreaded "bubble." We have two quality wins (home versus Texas Tech and Oklahoma State), two suspect losses (A&M and Iowa State) and a weak non-conference schedule. If the season ended today, we'd be in the tournament, but Texas can't afford to lose to any more non-tournament teams. If we do, it'll be important that we win one or two of our remaining tough games--at Tech, at Oklahoma State, or home against Oklahoma.

The Horns have now dropped three of four since losing Tucker and Aldridge and the prospects for the rest of the year are getting dimmer by the day. I really thought we'd come out strong against Iowa State and put them away. Instead, we struggled early, rebounded to take the lead, then choked and failed to put them away. It cost us dearly in overtime and we're now in serious trouble. I hate to start looking to next year, but this year's team appears to be a couple players short. God I'm mad at P.J. Tucker...

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