A frustrating loss for Texas moves them back into a loss-column tie with Kansas in the Big 12 standings, but the 'Horns head-to-head win over the Jayhawks keeps them in the driver's seat for the conference tournament's #1 seed.
I was traveling during yesterday's game, which meant watching the action from a crowded airport bar with no sound. To the poor lady sitting next to me who had to listen to me groan and sigh for two and a half hours - my apologies.
A few additional thoughts to AW's:
- Texas finished the game with 28 three point attempts, which is a terrific indicator that we got away from what worked so well for us during the eight-game win streak. I actually thought a majority of the looks were good, clean looks that we just didn't hit, but that's largely beside the point. Texas ran the perimeter weave, failed to penetrate consistently, and rarely worked the offense inside-out.
- No surprise, then, that Texas finished with just 13 free throw attempts on the game. Compare that with the 43 attempts by the Red Raiders and you've got a nice snapshot of what went wrong. Even though the last ten attempts for Tech came as Texas tried to play catch up, they did a much better job all game long of getting to the rim and being aggressive on offense.
- A final point on that front - as highlighted by AW in the postgame wrap - foul trouble was an issue throughout the game for Texas. Credit to Pat Knight for going after us and taking out two critical players in James and Atchley. Without them, Texas became too perimeter oriented and had one of those ugly box scores where AJ Abrams finishes with 17 fielg goal attempts, including 12 from downtown.
- A loss is a loss is a loss, and this one hurts, but in terms of running up to the edge of the cliff, AW's right: hold your horses. Texas finishes its Big 12 road slate 5-3, with wins over Colorado, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Kansas State. Perfect at home, Texas' only conference losses this season have come on the road at Missouri, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. The final two home games now become critical for Texas, but if they can hold serve and finish at 13-3 on the season, with at least a share of the Big 12 title and the tournament's #1 seed, it will be a roaring success.
- The loss does change the national picture for Texas. Heading into Saturday, Texas might have been in a situation to control its own fate on the road to the top line in Houston. After today, that's clearly no longer the case. It's important to remember that there's a lot of basketball left to be played before Selection Sunday, so at this point, we should probably start toning down some of the seed speculation and take more of a "wait and see" approach. Nothing is out of play for Texas just yet, including the top seed in Houston, but a stumble down the stretch could change things dramatically, as well. For now, the top priority is protecting home court and finishing with the #1 seed in the Big 12 tournament. That puts us in outstanding position heading into the season's final week.
- Texas' final two opponents, Nebraska and Oklahoma State, squared off yesterday in Stillwater, with the Pokes picking up a 77-63 win to move to 7-7 in conference.