Column: Win over Wildcats could spark late-season run

Nick Castillo

Despite its four-game losing streak, Texas marched into Kansas State’s lauded “Octagon of Doom” on Saturday and snagged a much-needed win.

Winning in Manhattan, Kansas, hasn’t come easy for the Longhorns. They lost the past four games at Bramlage Coliseum, which were often followed by chants of “We own Texas” from the stands.  

But Texas’ win at Kansas State this past weekend was big. 

After a surprisingly successful 2013–2014 campaign and the addition of freshman forward Myles Turner, the Longhorns were slated to dethrone Kansas from the Big 12 perch. Before the season, Texas was considered a national title contender, and the Longhorns lived up to expectations, starting off hot with a 10–1 record — the only loss coming at the hands of No. 1 Kentucky.

But since then, Texas has lost seven of its last 13 games. And after completing the first half of Big 12 play, Texas is far from the promised land.

However, the Longhorns should use the win against the Wildcats to as a springboard gain momentum as they head into the second half of conference play.

With a 4–6 record in the Big 12, The Longhorns currently rank eighth in the conference. Texas’ next two opponents are TCU and Texas Tech, who both have nine losses in the Big 12.

If the Longhorns find wins against the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders, Texas would be on a three-game winning streak and would have a conference record above .500. With a winning streak in hand, the Longhorns may gain the confidence they need to finish the season strong. 

“Confidence is still high,” sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor said. “We are still a good team. We still have good players on this team.”

But in order to turn its season around, Texas will need better play from Taylor. Taylor is averaging 14.5 points per game, but, at times, he still looks hesitant to make a move. The Longhorns got a lot out of Taylor in their win against Kansas State, but Texas needs him to play consistently as the season winds down.

With the next two games against weaker teams, Texas has an opportunity to get its season back on track. The Longhorns are far from where they hoped to be, but they can get close to their goal if they can build off their win against the Wildcats.

“We put it all together, and we can go on a run,” head coach Rick Barnes said. “It’s not about a run, though. It’s about tomorrow.”