Rick Barnes can't have been happy with the way his team played today, but no doubt he'll be glad to have picked up the win.
There's no such thing as a bad road win in the Big 12, but this sure would have been a tough loss to swallow had the 'Horns failed to leave Lubbock with a win. After a sluggish start to the game that left them in an early 10-2 hole, Texas controlled the remainder of the first half and wound up leading by as many as 14 points. But a nightmare of a second half -- and some ridiculously generous officiating of Jaye Crockett -- allowed Texas Tech to creep back into the game, and the Longhorns collapsed down the stretch, letting the Red Raiders force overtime. Fortunately, it was Texas that rallied in the extra frame, erasing a six-point deficit to escape with a must-have 71-67 win over Texas Tech.
I'm extremely grateful for the win, but I don't have anything positive to say about the game. Actually, that's not true. I don't have anything positive to say about our team; Texas Tech and Billy Gillispie did a great job giving themselves a shot to win, and we were reminded why the West Texan was previously so successful in the Big 12. Gillispie threw the junk drawer at Texas defensively, and we handled it horribly in the second half. Our young players struggled, our junior star struggled, and our head coach struggled. Thank God for inbounds, because the plays Rick Barnes drew up were our best offense today.
These kinds of games happen on the road -- even sometimes against bad teams -- which is why you have to win on your home floor. There wasn't much to like about the way we played in the second half today, but at the end of the day, just like all our close losses won't help us get into the 2012 NCAA Tournament, this close win will help. We're almost certain to lose to Kansas in Allen, but if we can protect home court against OU we'll likely finish the Big 12 season 9-9, with a reasonable chance to hear our name called on Selection Sunday, with or without a win in the Big 12 Tournament. That's the only thing that matters, and on that count today's ugly win was just as valuable and important as a blowout win would have been.
Survive and advance.