until Texas vs Kansas

Sunday, February 13


Texas 75 Kansas St 72

Texas won on Saturday afternoon at the Erwin Center, 75-72. The key word here is won. The Horns had dropped four of their last five, and five of their last eight. Texas was quickly looking like a team destined for the NIT, but the Horns took a huge step toward the NCAA tournament with Saturday's overtime victory over Kansas St.

This game should have been a blowout. Texas started fast this time and was quickly up double digits for much of the first half and threatened to run away with the game. A quick second half spurt by the Wildcats cut an eleven point halftime lead to just five after only two minutes. Kansas State played much better in the second half than they did in the first, but they were additionally aided by pour ball handling by the Horns. Texas finished with thirteen turnovers - compared with only 5 Wildcat ones. Kansas State tied the game with two free throws with just seconds left. Daniel Gibson had a chance to ice the game with two free throws of his own just seconds earlier, but the 76% free throw shooter missed both, keeping the Wildcats in the game. Gibson more than redeemed himself in overtime, with fourteen points, including six straight free throws.

Texas did not let this one slip throw their fingers as they did just a week ago in the home overtime loss to Iowa St. A loss on Saturday would have been devastating. Texas still has a tough road ahead, and is nowhere near a guaranteed trip back to the NCAA tournament, but the victory, and the baby step forward, prove this is a team that isn't willing to give up. Barnes changed his game plan slightly on Saturday, playing more man-to-man and operating with even fewer than the available seven players. Mike Williams and Dion Dowell played limited minutes, leaving Klotz, Buckman, Harris, Taylor, and Gibson to essentially play the entire game. Barnes added after the game that, "Mike (Williams) is not looking to score," Barnes said. "We can't play with four offensive players." It is disappointing that Wiilliams, a McDonald’s All American from Alabama, hasn't shown the offensive abilities we need. Hopefully Texas can get Paulino back soon to add a solid backcourt sub and an additional scorer. But without a dressed Paulino, Texas will again attempt to win at home with seven scholarship players on Wednesday against A&M.

I predict Texas will be in the NCAAs come March. Texas really needs to protect home floor and secure must-win games against A&M and Missouri, and secure a victory at Baylor, as well. We currently sit at 5-5 in conference play, and those three games would cement at least a .500 conference record. With our RPI still in the 25-30 range, I see a bid for the Horns. We have tough road games at Tech and at Oklahoma St. and I don’t see victories at either place. The toss up game will be an ESPN Big Monday showdown in Austin against the Sooners. A win over OU would surely secure a trip to March Madness. Anything less than a 3-3 finish and we will need victories during the Big 12 tourney and probably some luck.

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