With five games left on his 23-game suspension, Myck Kabongo’s return is near. Unfortunately, that is about it on the good news front for Texas.
Coming off its first loss to Oklahoma in two years, the Longhorns are reeling and there’s not much hope left for a young team that struggles in seemingly every game.
“We do a lot of things well, but we don’t win because we don’t consistently do it when the game is on the line,” head coach Rick Barnes said.
The Longhorns’ five-game skid in conference play, coupled with leading rebounder Jonathan Holmes’ broken hand, doesn’t bode well for the team’s confidence moving forward. However, leading scorer Sheldon McClellan is coming off a 25-point performance against the Sooners, tying his career high, and Holmes’ absence inside opens up playing time for the Longhorns’ youthful big men.
Holmes is expected to miss three to six weeks because of his injury. Freshmen Prince Ibeh, Ioannis Papapetrou and Connor Lammert will log significant minutes and could improve faster than expected during that time.
The Longhorns’ second-leading scorer, Julien Lewis, is also expected to take on a larger role while Holmes is gone.
Despite their recent struggles, Kansas head coach Bill Self had nothing but praise for the Longhorns.
“Texas is the youngest team in the country,” Self said. “They are going to be really, really good.”
Expectations and results are two entirely different things, and Texas has figured that out the hard way. The result of an inexperienced, sometimes immature, team has made for a bummer of a season.
The Longhorns welcome the Texas Tech Red Raiders to the Erwin Center on Saturday evening in what could be their best shot to date at a conference win. The Red Raiders lost their first four games in conference play until they defeated Iowa State 56-51 earlier this week.
Much like the Longhorns, the Red Raiders have lacked an offense efficient enough to keep them in close games, and their 9-8 overall record includes just one win against a team with an RPI under 50 (Iowa State).
Junior forward Jaye Crockett leads the Red Raiders in scoring and rebounding with an average of 13 points and eight rebounds per game.
If Texas can keep the Red Raiders from shooting abnormally well and find a way to rebound without Holmes keeping things together in the lane, it stands a good chance of winning.
In its last five games, Texas has made an average of 6.4 free throws and is shooting less than 55 percent from the line. Those are points Texas desperately needs, especially in close games. Texas is 1-6 in games decided by six points or less this season.
“Our guards have to understand we have to get to the foul line,” Barnes said. “We have to put the ball inside.”
Published on January 25, 2013 as "Hobbled Horns host Tech".