On the road again
With the win against the Aggies, Texas got its first win on the road against a conference opponent. It was also Texas’ second win on the road this season, bringing its record to 2-5 on the road and 2-7 away from home. Texas’ next three road opponents have a combined record of 32-37 with only Oklahoma being over .500. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech have a combined 8-24 record in Big 12 play. But the Longhorns will finish the season on the road in Lawrence, Kansas, where Texas has one win in 10 attempts.
Texas’ two point win was the 10th game it has played that ended in a single digit margin, and the Longhorns are 3-7 in such games. Texas had leads in three of those games in the last five minutes of regulation. Texas lead Oregon State with two minutes left in regulation before the Beavers forced overtime, where they ended up winning by five points. The Longhorns also had a four point lead over Kansas with three-and-a-half minutes to go before the Jayhawks closed out on a 7-2 run to escape Austin with a three point win. Most recently, Texas took a one point lead over Missouri with under a minute left to play in Austin before the before a Tiger layup with 30 seconds left gave them the one point win.
Texas has six losses in conference play this season, and while under head coach Rick Barnes, Texas has won at least nine conference games every season. In order to match that number, the Longhorns will have to win six out of their final seven games which include four road games, and matchups between Baylor and Kansas, who at press time were ranked sixth and seventh in the AP Top 25 poll, respectively.
Impressing the committee
In the past three seasons, of the 192 teams that made the NCAA tournament, only six teams made the tourney with less than 20 wins as non-automatic qualifiers. All six teams came from a “Big 6” conference: Arizona in 2009, Wake Forest in 2010 and Illinois, Penn State, Michigan State and Tennessee all made the tournament in 2011. With a 15-9 record, and no quality wins to speak of, Texas is a fringe tournament team at the moment. In order to make the tournament, the Longhorns will most likely have win five of their final seven games, and at least one of their final two matchups with top 10 teams. If they cannot manage that, then they will have to take their chances in the conference tournament, which Texas has never won under Barnes.
Printed on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 as: Texas breaks road skid at Texas A&M