Few opportunities remain for Texas to strengthen road mettle before postseason


Assad Malik/The Daily Texan

Senior Gaurd, Marcus Carr, attempts to score while being blocked by a Baylor basketball player. Texas played Baylor at Ferrell Stadium on February 12th, 2022.

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

No. 20 Texas rolled into Waco on Saturday morning fresh off a win at the Frank Erwin Center against No. 6 Kansas, only to get routed by No. 7 Baylor. The reigning national champion handed Texas its seventh loss of the season, an 80-63 final score with Baylor leading virtually all the way through. 

With Selection Sunday less than a month away, the Longhorns still struggle on the road. Texas is currently 2-6 on the road overall and 2-4 away from home in the Big 12.

The issue isn’t exclusive to the Longhorns. The majority of Big 12 teams have losing records on the road, with seven out of 10 teams in the conference winning no more than half of their in-conference away games. 

Unsurprisingly, Baylor and Kansas are two of the Big 12 teams that have winning records on the road.

Texas has not made it out of the first-round of the NCAA Tournament since Rick Barnes was head coach in 2015. Meanwhile, Baylor is coming off of a national championship and Kansas has not had a first-round exit in over a decade. Teams of a consistently high caliber such as Baylor and Kansas have proven that they can not only play, but win, in hostile environments because of their experience. 

In terms of personnel, Baylor has maintained some key members of its 2021 national title team. Players such as Matthew Mayer and Adam Flagler were vital to the success of the Bears last season. Baylor only lost one game in the 2021 regular season. 

Mayer had 12 points and four rebounds against Houston in a 2021 Final Four win, and Flagler scored 13 points against Gonzaga in the national title game. Both players are still crucial to Baylor’s success; Mayer and Flagler both scored at least 10 points against Texas on Saturday. 

While Texas has the talent on paper, the team is missing the experience of players who have been successful in high-stakes games.

Crieghton transfer Christian Bishop is the only player on Texas’ roster who has played meaningful time in NCAA Tournament games and won. Last season, Bishop scored at least 12 points in all three of Crieghton’s tournament games. The Bluejays eventually fell to Gonzaga in a 83-65 Sweet Sixteen loss. 

The Longhorns are well aware that their tournament history is no excuse for the outcome of this season. 

“This is disappointing because we are all older players who are all striving to make a run in the tournament,” senior guard Courtney Ramey said.

The Longhorns are running out of chances to make the jump. Only six games remain in the regular season, and the schedule does not get any easier. Texas will visit its Red River rivals in Norman on Tuesday, and the regular season closes with a rematch against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas’ home-court environment is one of the most intense in the nation, with students sleeping inside of “The Phog” days before a game to secure their seats, an audience sure to test Texas’ resolve.

“We don’t have too many more opportunities to play,” Ramey said. “We keep letting success dictate our season and then follow it with a bad game.”