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Texas hits the road to take on high-scoring TCU

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Riding the momentum of a home win over No. 20 Oklahoma, can Texas take down TCU on the road?

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The fate of the Texas Longhorns’ season is hanging in the balance.

And that makes Wednesday night’s game at TCU the most important game of the season to date.

At 11-7, Texas’ tournament hopes are dwindling after losing three of its last four. Texas will travel to Ft. Worth to face the Horned Frogs tonight, and then proceed to Georgia on Saturday before facing No. 9 Kansas at home and No. 24 Iowa State on the road next week.

Make no mistake about it — Texas will need to win all four of those games in order to make a serious case for its place in the big dance. At the very least, Texas needs to win its next two games against TCU and Georgia, opponents the Longhorns are more than capable of beating. However, the Longhorns are 1-2 on the road and trips to Ft.Worth and Athens won’t be easy.

The Horned Frogs (13-4, 2-3) are below .500 in Big 12 play, but they’re far from a Big 12 Conference door mat.

If there is still such a thing as Havoc Defense, the Longhorns will need to bring it against a TCU team that can put up points.

TCU has put up 80-plus points in nine contests this season behind leading scorers Desmond Bane and Kouat Noi, who are averaging 14.8 and 14.2 points per game, respectively.

Texas (11-7, 3-3) has only surpassed the 80-point mark three times this season. In fact, in eight of the Longhorns’ 11 wins, Texas scored 76 points or fewer.

The aforementioned would suggest one thing: the Longhorns need to make this a defensive battle rather than an offensive onslaught.

Specifically, on defense, Texas should look to pressure TCU into bad decisions that result in turnovers. In 17 games this season, the Horned Frogs have turned the ball over 222 times, averaging close to 14 turnovers per game. Texas, on the other hand, has notched 104 steals on the season, averaging close to six per game.

The Longhorns’ average a margin of victory is only about seven points, which is indicative of the bumpy path Texas has taken through the first 18 games, losing contests it shouldn’t such as the Oklahoma State loss on the road, and squeaking by teams like Saturday’s win over Oklahoma, for example.

Offensively, Texas needs a game like the 20-point win over Kansas State. While the Longhorns just simply need to win Wednesday’s game, it would go a long way for this Texas team to go on the road and run the Horned Frogs out of their own gym. In 11 of TCU’s 17 games, the Horned Frogs’ opponents have scored at least 65 points. If Texas can put together a strong defensive performance, scoring points shouldn’t come as a tall task.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Central on ESPNU.