Gotta be honest, guys. I feel like these midweek posts are starting to all sound the same. Something to the effect of, "Texas isn't very good, but there's still an outside shot at a turnaround, so these midweek games really matter, so let's get a win tonight." I apologize, but this is more of the same.
Except tonight's game is even more important because, unlike Lamar or TAMU-CC, Houston is a legitimate opponent on a neutral field. A win tonight would be good for Texas' RPI--which, according to Boyd's World, is currently an astounding 117 (compared with the Cougs' 54). Sitting at 14-18 on the season with 20 games to play, there is in fact--barely--enough time for Texas to get hot and get into the conversation for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
It's important to note, of course, that such a result is not likely. Realistically, Texas will need to get to 30-22 (that is, 16-4 the rest of the way) and then win at least one in the Big 12 Tourney for that to be possible. That's why, despite winning its second Big 12 series last weekend, the week just past was not good enough.
The home loss to Corpus has been beaten to death in this space, so I won't rehash how embarrassing that dagger was. But the team regrouped to take the first two games in Manhattan to move to 5-3 in the conference, and send Kansas State to 0-8. Winning a road series is good, right? And taking the sweep is just lagniappe?
Not this year. Not when every game has the urgency that comes with a losing record and diminishing opportunities to right the ship. At this point, any game Texas can win, it must win. Sunday's 3-2 loss to K-State, to complete a week of games against bad teams at 2-2, was therefore a more impactful result than either of the two wins.
Tonight's game begins a week that, frankly, Texas needs to go 4-0. After tonight's matchup in Sugar Land, Texas returns home for three games against Kansas--which currently sits in eighth place in a disappointing Big 12, outranking only K-State. Still ahead on the Texas schedule is first-place Texas Tech in Lubbock, fifth-place Okie State at home, fourth-place WVU in Morgantown, and fifth-place Baylor at home. Houston is the last RPI-improving opportunity in midweek as well, with Texas State, UT-RGV, and Prairie View rounding out the rest of the Horns' Tuesdays.
Looking at that schedule do you see a way to close it out at 16-4 without taking all four games this week? Me either. First pitch is at 6:30 on ESPN3.