Two teams desperate for a win clash Tuesday night as No. 13 Texas travels to play Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan.
The Longhorns need a win to stop a three-game losing streak and pull out of a midseason malaise. The Wildcats just need a win, period.
Texas started the season 10-1 but has only defeated K-State in Austin in the last month. The Longhorns are now stuck in the middle of a six-team cluster in the Big 12 standings separated by a game and a half. Undefeated Baylor has separated from the field, and the bottom part of the conference is playing out the string.
The Longhorns (11-5, 5-4 Big 12) have had two non-conference games cancelled and two conference games postponed due to COVID-19, and they’re coming off a 75-67 double-overtime loss at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Texas shot 0-for-12 from the field in the two overtimes against the Cowboys. They finished the game shooting 25.3 percent from the field, including 5-for-35 from 3-point range.
“We obviously didn’t play with the level of poise we needed to have on offense,” coach Shaka Smart said. “We missed a lot of shots, which I think mostly were very good looks. Obviously, we’d love to have some of those shots back.”
The three-guard combination of Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey combined to go 10-for-49 (20.4 percent). Smart isn’t going to back away from depending on that trio.
“We’re gonna put the ball in their hands regardless of what we’re running and who we’re playing against,” he said. “We’re gonna live with them going and making plays for each other and for their other teammates. Today we had a tough time with that.”
That’s probably a good strategy, because those three players lead the Longhorns in scoring. Jones averages 15.2 points per game, followed by Ramey (13.7) and Coleman (12.8).
The Wildcats (5-15, 1-10) are looking for anybody to step up. They have lost 10 straight, most recently a 73-62 home loss to No. 13 Texas Tech on Saturday.
Now they’re trying to avoid a winless conference season at home for the first time since they went 0-8 in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1922-23.
The loss to Texas Tech was actually an improvement. They never trailed by more than 12 and were within six points on multiple occasions late in the second half.
“To our guys’ credit, they rose up today,” coach Bruce Weber said after the game. “I was proud to be their coach. They competed. They fought. They gave us a chance. Obviously, we’re not perfect. We gave it a go today. Obviously, I’d like to win for them, because it’s been hard and they’ve kept fighting.”
K-State has just two players — Nijel Pack with 11.9 points per game and Mike McGuirl with 11.6 — averaging in double figures.
–Field Level Media