The Texas Longhorns are on to the Big 12 Semifinals after defeating the Iowa State Cyclones last night. Â Texas came out of the gate slowly, like they normally do. Â They missed easy shots, they took bad shots and they fell behind early. Â Although things weren’t going their way early on, the Longhorns kept fighting like they have done all year. Â They did just enough to stay within striking distance throughout the game, and then took it over in the 2nd half. Â With about 16 minutes to play and down 7, Texas turned up the intensity offensively and defensively. Â The play that turned the game happened on defense. Â Iowa State’s Scott Christopherson lost his dribble on the right wing, and Myck Kabongo quickly dove on the ball and threw it to an open teammate. Â The play resulted in a layup for Texas. Â Iowa State immediately called a timeout. Â You could see the momentum changing sides at that moment. Â The Texas bench erupted and the Texas players that on the court sprinted to towards the bench in excitement, while Iowa State looked defeated heading towards their bench. Â Texas never looked back after that. Â They outscored the Cyclones by 11 in the game’s final 15:53. Â The Longhorns got very good performances from a lot of different places last night. Â Julien Lewis started his Big 12 tournament career with a splash. Â The Freshman scored 9 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Â Myck Kabongo and Clint Chapman also had very good games. Â Kabongo scored 11 points and handed out 5 assists, and Clint “Chappy” Chapman added 10 points and grabbed 8 rebounds for the Longhorns. Â But of course, the guy for the Longhorns was J’Covan Brown. Â Brown played like a man who wanted to go to his 3rd straight NCAA tournament. Â He scored 23 points, including 2 key and 1 plays down the stretch.
Texas is now 20-12 on the season, and will face the Missouri Tigers in the Big 12 Semifinals tonight. Â Some believe the Longhorns are safely in the dance because of yesterday’s other events. Â Northwestern and UConn, 2 other teams who were considered to be on the bubble lost in their conference tournaments yesterday. Â I believe the Longhorns need to beat Missouri to feel safe.
What Lies Ahead for Texas:
The Semifinals of the Big 12 tournament and the 5th ranked Missouri Tigers. Â Texas also gets another chance at a signature win this year. Â This will be Texas’ 7th chance to beat a top 15 team. Â They have lost twice to Missouri, twice to Baylor and twice to Kansas. Â In 4 of those 6 losses, Texas had a chance to win the game and made mistakes down the stretch. Â Texas is hoping the 7th time is the charm. Â In my opinion, with a win over Missouri, the Longhorns will surely be in the NCAA tournament.
Keys To Success for Texas:
– Guard the 3 point line: As Texas already knows, Missouri can light it up from 3. Â Texas needs to be disciplined and not leave shooters open. Â That means the guys guarding the ball have to do a great job. Â They must not give up penetration.
– Make shots: I have this as a key to success every game for a reason. Â Texas’ shooting woes are troubling. Â Here is a team who is always in games against top 15 teams despite shooting the ball horribly. Â They have to work so hard defensively to get turnovers and get stops in a row to mount a comeback every game. Â If they can start making some of the easy shots they get, they’re a really dangerous team going forward. Â McClellan, Lewis, Brown and Kabongo have to knock down open jump shots. Â Holmes, Chapman and Bond have to score those easy put backs and layup opportunities.
– Rebound: Without Alexi Wangmene, Texas will need everybody focusing on grabbing defensive rebounds. Â Texas cannot afford to give Missouri extra opportunities to score. Â The Tigers are one of the most efficient teams in the country offensively. Â Giving them 2nd and 3rd opportunities to score is a recipe for disaster.
– J’Covan Brown led all scorers with 23 points. Â He also grabbed 5 rebounds
– Myck Kabongo scored 11 points and handed out 5 assists
– Clint Chapman scored 10 points and pulled down 8 rebounds
– Julien Lewis scored 9 points and grabbed 7 rebounds