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Texas suffers blowout loss to Oklahoma State, putting NCAA Tournament hopes in question

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Following a dramatic win over Oklahoma in Norman on Tuesday evening, Texas appeared to be rolling into their regular-season finale with a ton of momentum. The momentum was brought to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon inside the Frank Erwin Center. Oklahoma State used an incredible shooting performance and Texas was not good on both ends of the floor, allowing the Cowboys to blow out the Longhorns, 81-59. Here are some thoughts and takeaways from a head-scratching game.

  • Texas did not come to play and Oklahoma State took advantage by punching the Longhorns in the mouth early. The Cowboys jumped out to a 20-3 lead behind the hot shooting of Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa. Dziagwa finished the afternoon with 19 points and was a perfect 7 for 7 from the field, including going 5 for 5 from deep.
  • The Longhorns turned in one of their poorest defensive efforts of the season. Oklahoma State was red hot from three-point range (8 for 13) but also dominated Texas inside. Cameron McGriff had his way with the Texas big men en route to 19 points.  Royce Hamm played sparingly after Oklahoma State attacked him early. Brock Cunningham got called for several silly fouls trying to be too aggressive and was a non-factor the entire afternoon.
  • The lone Texas big man who played well was Kai Jones. Jones had a career-high 20 points and brought some energy off the bench. The freshman had his moments, especially on the defensive end of the floor, but overall turned in a very good performance.
  • As bad as the Longhorns were on the defensive end of the floor, they were just as bad offensively. Oklahoma State made it clear early on they were going to let Texas shoot whatever they wanted to from the outside, and the Longhorns proceeded to turn in one of their worst shooting performances of the season. Texas was 5 of 29 (!) from three-point range and shot 35.2% from the field overall.
  • The Longhorns were dominated every which way on Saturday, which begs the question of what kind of team does Shaka Smart have? Is the one that ripped off 5 straight wins or the one that was blown out on their home floor by a team who won’t even sniff the NCAA Tournament? The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, but the Longhorns simply have to play better or else the wins they stockpiled over the last 3 weeks could mean nothing.

What’s Next?

Texas now finds itself squarely back on the bubble as they head to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament. A win in their first-round matchup would likely be enough to hear their name called on selection Sunday, but any scenario not involving Texas making the conference championship game will leave the Longhorns sweating a week from Sunday.

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