As good as the Longhorns, who are riding a three-game winning streak and are peaking at the perfect time, are playing right now, expectations must be tempered. Texas faces three tough tests, beginning with Thursday night's clash with Kansas State, before it can secure a Big 12 tournament title and a 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Here are three reasons why the Longhorns won't win three more in a row and go dancing:
1. Texas hasn't been able to win any more than three games in a row this year
The Longhorns haven't won four straight games since last February and haven't won six in a row over conference opponents since the February before that. Even with Myck Kabongo back in the lineup, winning three straight games against teams jockeying for seeding position in the NCAA Tournament will be nearly impossible, especially for a team that hasn't won more than three consecutive contests this season.
2. The road to a Big 12 tournament title is a rough one
Not only would Texas have to extend its current three-game winning streak -- the longest in the Big 12 -- to six but it would likely have to do it against the conference's three best teams: Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma State. In six games against those squads, the Longhorns were 0-6 and outscored by an average of 15.8 points per game.
3. ...Not to mention the Big 12 tournament is in Kansas City
Not only would Texas have to win three more games and likely have to do it against the top three teams in the Big 12 but it would have to do it all in Kansas City. The Longhorns won't quite be playing in Kansas State's Octagon of Doom or Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse but the Jayhawks and Wildcats, the Big 12 tournament's top two seeds, will be playing in their backyard this week. When Texas did travel to Manhattan and Lawrence this year, it lost by 26 points each time, marking its worst road losses in conference play under head coach Rick Barnes. Starting with their clash with Kansas State on Thursday night, the Longhorns have to turn that trend around quick.
"I'm not sure they're not the best team, one of the best teams in the country," Barnes said of Kansas State. "They're the conference champ. And [K-State head coach] Bruce [Weber] has done a great job with them. They defend you. They don't give you anything easy."