USA TODAY Sports
Playing for their postseason lives, the Longhorns will look to solve the Kansas State offense in tonight's quarterfinal match up.
2013 Big 12 Tournament
#7 Texas vs. #2 K-State
Thursday, March 13, 2013 | 6:00 pm CT
Television: Big 12 Network
Not that any rational Texas fan actually has any expectations as to defeating Kansas State in an athletic competition, but since our athletics department hasn't embraced an auto-forfeit policy yet, we'll keep covering the match ups. Par for the course, Kansas State has licked Texas twice already this season, destroying our pre-Kabongo unit by 26 in Manhattan and then bombing us to death from deep in a 12-point win at the Erwin Center after Kabongo returned.
In the first match up, Texas simply fell apart, rebounding and turning the ball over like it was a ticking bomb (Give it to them!) and guarding the Wildcats like they were a colony of lepers. (Don't get too close!) The second game in Austin was more competitive, and the Texas' offense was substantially better with Kabongo back in the line up, but the Wildcats just crushed Texas from beyond the arc, nailing 9 of their 18 three-pointers, while Texas left points on the board by making just 19 of its 33 free throw attempts.
If Texas aims to avoid the season sweep tonight and survive to play another day, perhaps a little defense is in order, yes? As I noted last night, along with Kabongo's battle with K-State point guard Angel Rodriguez, Jonathan Holmes is a key player for our chances tonight, and he absolutely cannot take himself out of this game with senseless fouls; e need 25+ minutes from him tonight.
We would also benefit greatly if Papi would make an appearance against the Wildcats. The versatile freshman played two of his worst games of the season against K-State, connecting on just 2 of his 8 three point attempts, accumulating just 1 assist versus 7 turnovers, and picking up 9 fouls in 51 minutes played.
It will be interesting to see if Barnes sticks with the usual starting line up or mixes things up to get Juice and Mac in there from the get-go. Given that our biggest issue with Kansas State is figuring out how to stop them from scoring, I'm fine with starting Holland and subbing in the sophomores for offense after the game settles in. The last thing Texas needs is Kansas State getting off to a hot start in front of a huge home crowd.
Either way, Texas will need everyone to step up tonight on defense or tonight could mark season's end. With Texas at 16-16 on the season, a loss drops the team under .500 and out of the eligible pool of candidates for the NIT. (Texas could still wind up in the CBI Invitational.) Go 1-0 tonight and they are guaranteed at least a .500 record and, most importantly, they live to play another day.
Win or go home.