On Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns picked up a much-needed win over the TCU Horned Frogs after losing four straight games in the midst of numerous injuries. Now the Horns travel to Manhattan to face the reeling Kansas State Wildcats on Wednesday.
The Wildcats have lost six straight games and 12 of the last 14 this season to sit at 9-17 overall and 2-11 in conference play, the worst season of head coach Bruce Webber’s coaching career by a significant margin.
Tempers tend to flare in the midst of such significant struggles and that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday, when Webber and junior guard Cartier Diarra got into a confrontation captured on camera during a timeout. Diarra shouted at his head coach and then clapped derisively at him. On Thursday morning, Diarra apologized via an Instagram story.
“I just wanted to clear the confusion and apologize for making it seem as though my coach and I had an altercation. Coach wanted me to take advantage of the switch instead of shooting, and all I said was that I’m going to make the next shot,” Diarra wrote.
“Coach knows I’m a competitor and I give my all and all he was doing was challenging me and that’s how I responded. I was raised right and I’ve never cursed at Coach Web or any former coach for challenging me. I would love if this negative storyline could go away. EMAW tatted on the skin and it ain’t for no reason. I’ve always been about K-State.”
At 13.0 points per game, Diarra is the team’s second-leading scorer. He leads the team in assists per game at 4.4.
In the previous meeting between the two teams this season in Austin, Texas pulled out a 64-50 victory thanks to 18 Kansas State turnovers and struggles shooting from the field, including a 1-for-8 shooting performance by senior guard Xavier Sneed, the team’s leading scorer. Three players scored in double figures for the Longhorns, including junior guard Matt Coleman, who led the team with 14 points. Overall, Texas shot 43.5 percent from three-point range on 20 attempts.
The question on Saturday is whether Coleman will be available — last Saturday, he left the game against Iowa State early in the second half due to a bruised heel that caused him to miss the TCU game on Wednesday.
Texas will be without junior forward Jericho Sims (back) and sophomore forward Gerald Liddell (back) against Kansas State, with junior guard Jase Febres (knee) also expected to miss the contest.
The game tips off at 1 p.m. Central on CBS. According to KenPom.com, Texas has a 43-percent win probability in the game with an expected margin of 63-61.