The last Longhorn team that didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament couldn’t win on the road either.
In 1998, Texas’ second year in the Big 12, it lost six straight road games en route to going 14-17, the program’s only losing season in the past two decades. Head coach Tom Penders was replaced the following year by Rick Barnes, who took the Longhorns to the Big Dance the next 14 seasons.
Barnes is now leading the worst Texas team since Penders’ last year on the 40 Acres. The Longhorns are 11-14 and have won just three games in conference play, one of them coming in a 60-43 victory over TCU earlier this month. Texas, which has dropped each of their six road games against Big 12 opponents this year, face those same Horned Frogs on Tuesday.
A loss against TCU would mark the Longhorns’ eighth straight road loss in Big 12 play dating back to last season, which would extend the school record set this past Saturday. Kansas crushed Texas, 73-47, at Allen Fieldhouse last weekend, tying the loss with last month’s defeat to Kansas State for its worst road loss in Big 12 play.
But, with sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo having two games under belt since his 23-game suspension, head coach Rick Barnes still thinks his team can turn things around.
“With Myck coming back, I think everyone thinks it’s just going to get better and better. And it will,” Barnes said. “I don’t care what you do, at some point in time, you’ve got to make some shots. If you’re not making outside shots, you’ve got to find a way to get to the foul line. You’ve got to find a way to get some easy baskets.”
The Longhorns are shooting just 27.4 percent from the three-point range this year, the seventh-worst mark in the country, and a paltry 24.5 percent from beyond the arc in Big 12 play, the lowest in the conference.
When Texas handed TCU a 60-43 loss in Austin on Feb. 2, it shot 52.3 percent from the floor and knocked down three of nine three-point tries, while holding the Horned Frogs to 32.7 percent shooting from the floor.
That’s the kind of performance the Longhorns will need if they want to pick up their first road victory of the season Tuesday.