Look at that. The Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team did it. They actually did it.
Over the weekend, Texas clinched a win over the Kansas State Wildcats, 64-50. And to say the least, it was an ugly showing on the part of both squads, particularly in the first half.
Then the second half happened. It went well, too, as the Longhorns forced 10 turnovers in the final 20 minutes – five steals, nine blocked shots and multiple shot-clock violations.
The win over Kansas State marks the Longhorns first in the Big 12 Conference this season.
Asked about the Longhorns’ varying style of play in the halves, head coach Shaka Smart said after the game, “A want to. You know, a want to get stops for Texas. I thought we really challenged our guys coming off the last game [against the Oklahoma Sooners] to give each other better energy during the game. Our guys really, really want to do well. They want to do well as a team, they want to do well individually, but sometimes you can kind of get wrapped up in your own game, in your own mind, if you’re not careful. So we challenged our guys to just help each other out there on the floor. That’s what a team needs to do.”
Perhaps baseball season isn’t starting early after all. Some highlights below:
WHAT THE WISE MEN ARE SAYING ABOUT THE LONGHORNS
Hookem.com: Golden: Horns found right winning formula vs. Kansas State but can they duplicate it?
247Sports: The Stampede: Texas prepares for big visit weekend
NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE IN LONGHORN LAND AND THE BIG 12
- Over the weekend, the Texas women’s basketball team dropped their second Big 12 matchup of the season to the conference’s top-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers, who are currently sitting at No. 19 according to the Associated Press poll. It was a close one.
- For the first time since 2017, Texas baseball was not listed among the top-25 teams in D1Baseball’s preseason poll. It makes sense, given how the Longhorns finished their 2019 season on a somewhat abysmal note, ending with a .500 record of 27-27 overall.
- It was a good weekend for Texas’ men and women’s tennis teams. On the second day of the Pink Flamingo Invitational in the Bahamas, the women’s team clinched four wins. Meanwhile, at the Miami Invitational in Coral Gables, the men’s team notched 10 wins.
The Texas men’s tennis team picked up 10 more wins at the Miami Invitational in Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday. https://t.co/ECdOH5DKUA— Hookem.com (@bevobeat) January 13, 2020
Texas women’s tennis wins four matches at Pink Flamingo Invitational https://t.co/gkQsBzait1— Hookem.com (@bevobeat) January 12, 2020
- In Sporting News’ “way-too-early top 25” for the 2020 season, the Longhorns were ranked No. 13, ahead of Big 12 Conference rival the No. 17 Oklahoma State Cowboys, and behind the No. 7 Oklahoma Sooners. From Sporting News: “We’re not going to say that three-word catchphrase out loud, but perhaps we were a little early. Sam Ehlinger returns for his senior season, and the Longhorns’ young talent showed how good they can be in the Alamo Bowl victory against Utah. Receivers Brennan Eagles and Jake Smith should thrive in increased roles on offense, and the offensive line will be better. The defense will be improved around linebacker Joseph Ossai, who had 13.5 tackles for loss in 2019. It comes down to winning those close games: The Longhorns have six losses of seven points or fewer the last two seasons. The Sept. 12 trip to LSU will come with the same hype as it did in 2019.”
- 247Sports also released their way-too-early 2020 rankings, with Texas ranked No. 12, and with similar sentiment as part of the logic behind their reasoning. From 247Sports: “Is it do or die time for Tom Herman in Austin? With a senior leader at quarterback in Sam Ehlinger, it’s worth buying stock in Herman and the Longhorns in 2020 if the price is affordable coming out of summer with a healthy roster. Texas was a mash unit on defense this fall and succumbed to three quality opponents — LSU, Oklahoma and Iowa State — by one possession among its five total losses. Taking the field with a full chamber and winning close games matters inside the Top 25, two sticking points for the Longhorns next season.”
- Former Longhorn and Tennessee Titans safety Kenny Vacarro’s interception against Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson sealed their victory against the top seed.
- Pro Football Focus ranked the top 130 offensive lines during the 2019 college football season, and the Longhorns finished with a ranking of No. 29 overall, ahead of the LSU Tigers but behind the Auburn Tigers. Notably, junior offensive lineman Sam Cosmi was the highest-graded player, with an 83.7. From PFF: “The Texas offensive line was certainly thought to be one of their weaknesses heading into 2019, but it was far from that. In fact, if they are both to return to college football in 2020, both Cosmi and fellow tackle Derek Kerstetter will be two of the three highest-graded returning tackles in the Big 12.”