Every player who transferred to Texas last spring came to Austin with a goal in mind.
Forget personal accomplishment. They wanted to win.
We’re also not talking about winning a few games before Christmas, or in January or February. Win in March. Step into the NCAA Tournament and win big.
Everyone knew that this team, given the overwhelming number of upper class men, might also have just one shot.
“Coming here and talking to (Texas coach Chris Beard) since the summer, all year round with all the guys, the team, the practice, everything, it’s always been about March “said goalkeeper Marcus Carr.
Continued: What scenarios for the men’s Big 12 tournament?
Most of these Longhorns only saw the NCAA Tournament on television. Christian Bishop went to the Sweet 16 with Creighton, but Carr never got that far with Minnesota. The remaining four Horns never made it past the first round. Timmy Allen never played in the NCAA, neither did Devin Askew or Dylan Disu.
If this group has any hope of playing well in March, the Horns need to ignite their rockets now. Saturday’s regular season finale at No. 6 Kansas (23-6, 12-4 Big 12) isn’t a win-or-go home affair, but No. 21 Texas (21-9, 10-7) should treat this as such.
You can bet the Jayhawks will. With a win, Kansas can clinch at least a share of the Big 12 title, if not all of it, depending on what happens with Baylor on Saturday.
“We’re going up against nine guys against Kansas. All nine are going to have to bring their A-game,” Beard said. “We can’t beat a team like Kansas with everything in play on Saturday with three or four guys there. Everyone has to show up and play well, and we have to play well. »
Kansas arrives at the station after having a long week. Saturday will be the Jayhawks’ fourth game in eight days. Still, star guard Ochai Agbaji is a solid Big 12 contender, and crazy things can happen inside Allen Fieldhouse on senior night.
Continued: A look back at the greatest Texas men’s games in Erwin Center history
“But again, it’s no different than March,” Beard said. “You want to win Game 1 of the NCAA Tournament? You are playing against a champion team. You want to win the second and get into the Sweet 16, you have to play your best 40 minutes of the season.
“You want to get out of this Sweet 16 and start talking about New Orleans, so you have to find another level. And we’ve been telling our guys about it since day one. So it’s not like a change of plans. It just reminds the guys that our goal has always been to play our best right now.
Continued:Texas fall to Baylor in final men’s basketball game at Erwin Center
Texas is nearly locked into the No. 4 seed for next week’s Big 12 tournament. UT is likely to face the No. 5 potential TCU (19-9, 8-8) in Thursday’s quarterfinals. No team wants to leave Kansas City after being knocked down.
In today’s college basketball world, the next few weeks could determine if this roster will explode or if more players will return. Much will depend on how older people feel. Many of them still have a year of eligibility left because of the pandemic.
Guards Jase Febres and Tristen Licon are the only two Longhorns who will run out of eligibility this season. Still, it says a lot that six other players were honored at Monday’s senior night festivities ahead of the game against Baylor.
The only reason Carr didn’t participate was because her parents couldn’t be in Austin.
“Honestly right now I’m so locked into our season and what we’re doing here right now I don’t really think about anything else,” he said on Thursday.
So who is really coming back? For the moment, it is not clear.
“We have a great open dialogue with these guys,” Beard said. “With these other guys, I feel like we’re completely on the same page with them. We haven’t talked about it for a minute and we won’t talk about it for a minute until the end of this season.
So, it makes total sense that the end of the season will change their opinion of the program.
“Good or bad,” Beard said. “I love running a race and watching a few of these guys as a stepping stone to where they are in terms of plans. For me, that’s what it’s all about.”
It starts with a strong performance from Lawrence. Coach Bill Self’s team may have dead legs after two tough games against TCU on Tuesday and Thursday. One of those games was scheduled for January 1 but had to be pushed back due to COVID-19 protocols.
The Horns will be well rested, having not played since Monday.
In the first game this season, Beard put Courtney Ramey on Agbaji, and one of the Big 12’s most dangerous scorers was limited to 11 points. Texas only made 3 of 20 3-pointers, but fought their way inside and made 20 of 23 free throws.
“We’re primed and ready,” Beard said. “We are looking forward to Saturday, although we know it will be very, very difficult. We understood. We understand where we are going and who we are playing against and what is going on in the air this game.