The Texas Longhorns get another chance to pick up a conference win this Saturday, when they face the Kansas State Wildcats at home. Maybe Shaka Smart’s team will win, and maybe not, but at this point you and I both know the truth — neither one of us gives a crap.
This is my sixth season blogging about basketball here at the Burnt Orange Nation and the second time I have had the misfortune of writing about a team that isn’t very good. The last time this happened was the 2012-2013 season. After a loss to Kansas State that took place on the thirtieth day of January in the year of our Lord two thousand and thirteen, I compared watching the game to being exposed to chlorinated solvent. Good times.
I am not doing that this year. I am older and wiser, now at the age where I would be seen as a man in the eyes of Mike Gundy. This age has mellowed me, or perhaps has left me indifferent — there is no functional difference I guess. And after doing this gig for six years, I have been through the ups and downs enough to just not get all that worked up most of the time.
But I have to admit that writing about a bad team eventually becomes something of a drag. This process has helped me come to understand how annoying it must have been for Wescott to cover the last few seasons of Texas football — and he does this full-time, living and breathing it, while I am merely a moonlighting hobbyist — as writing about a bad and boring team isn’t all that much fun.
At least the 2013 squad was bad in ways that were interesting and ever-changing — this team is just bad in the same damn way each and every game. Hey look, someone just dribbled off their foot.
Can we just do the “It is what it is” jokes again?
So yeah, about Kansas State. We thought the Wildcats were going to be a crap team coming into the year and they are not. But while Kansas State looks pretty good at times, they have struggled to convert looking good into a winning record in the merciless Big 12, going 5-8 in league games. Bruce Weber’s team has an uphill climb to get into the NCAA tournament, but it is not out of the question as of yet.
I like Kansas State’s team. The Wildcats have a good young core of players who are better now after taking a beating last season. Dean Wade, Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes, and Xavier Sneed are all young and can all play, and are perhaps only scratching the surface of what they are capable of. I won’t hedge on this statement when it comes to Dean Wade, who is already very good, and I believe will eventually be excellent.
Maybe this is the team that Texas can be next year. Maybe next season, after taking a beating, Texas can be something more or less like this season’s Kansas State — a young team with a bit more experience that is on the rise. Texas won’t have seniors like Wesley Iwundu and DJ Johnson, but it will at least have a few juniors in the mix.
I don’t know, maybe you should watch this game or something — if only out of some misguided sense of duty. It is probably a better way to spend your Saturday afternoon than perusing this Reddit list of the most depressing Wikipedia entries while playing Leonard Cohen albums and cooking some miserable stew in a Crock Pot. And I say that as someone who likes Leonard Cohen.
The game tips off in Austin at 1 p.m. CT, and airs on the Longhorn Network.