Texas traveled to Fort Worth a month ago to take on a struggling TCU team that had lost each of its first eight Big 12 games. What many expected to be an easy win for the Longhorns wound up being a back-and-forth contest, with Texas eking out a close victory.
Four weeks later, the Horned Frogs come to Austin under very similar circumstances. TCU is still winless in conference play, having now lost 16 straight against league opponents. Nonetheless, last month’s contest was proof that the desperate Horned Frogs can’t be taken lightly.
“Any team can beat you any given night,” junior forward Jonathan Holmes said. “We have to bring our A-game because they’re going to come in here needing a win, and that’s what we have to expect.”
TCU’s Big 12 tribulations are likely a testament to the strength of the conference more than the team’s inadequacies. Head coach Trent Johnson’s team was 10-3 against non-conference opponents but fell victim to the challenge of playing in the nation’s toughest league.
“People look at TCU like they’re not a good team just because they haven’t won a game in conference,” Holmes said. “But those people forget how good the Big 12 really is.”
For Texas, the final two games of the season are crucial. Currently fourth in the Big 12 standings, the Longhorns have an opportunity to move up to second or third if they can defeat TCU and Texas Tech, who sit last and second to last in the conference, respectively.
The difference between finishing third and fourth in the league is huge, considering Kansas is clearly a cut above the rest of the Big 12. If Texas can move into second or third, they wouldn’t have to play Kansas until the Big 12 championship game. If they finish fourth, though, they would meet Kansas in the semifinals.