MANHATTAN, Kan. (KXAN) — One part of the difficult road trip through eastern Kansas is behind the No. 10 Texas Longhorns, and the team has just one day to prepare for the back end of it against the No. 8 Kansas Jayhawks.
The game tips at 8 p.m., Monday from Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, and if the Longhorns can muster the same energy they had while defeating No. 7 Kansas State 69-66 on Saturday, they’ll put themselves in a great position as the second round through the conference schedule rolls on.
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“This is one of the best wins I’ve been a part of,” Longhorns interim head coach Rodney Terry said. “I’ve been in this league 13 years and I don’t think I’ve ever played a Saturday and then a ‘Big Monday’ on the road, usually you’ll be back at home but that’s how it fell this time.”
Terry said the team sees this tough stretch as, “40 minutes by 40 minutes,” and after avenging an earlier 116-103 loss to the Wildcats on Jan. 3 at Moody Center, the Longhorns get to take on the Jayhawks for the first time this season after playing both Oklahoma State and Kansas State twice already. That’s just another quirk in the Big 12 schedule.
“We’ll enjoy this win for one night, and our coaching staff will get the guys prepared for Kansas,” Terry said. “It certainly is unique, but we’re not complaining about it. We look at it as an opportunity. We’re excited about this month.”
In terms of potential seeding for the NCAA tournament coming up in March, this win is every bit of a first-quadrant win for the Longhorns. Texas moved up a spot in the NET rankings to No. 8 with the win, giving the Longhorns eight first-quadrant wins so far this year. Only Kansas and Purdue have more such wins at nine.
Kansas State was No. 18 in the NET rankings before the loss, and they dropped to No. 22 afterward. The NET, or NCAA Evaluation Tool, rankings are what the tournament selection primarily uses to pick the at-large bids and to seed the tournament.
The Jayhawks are 11-1 this year at Allen Fieldhouse, affectionately nicknamed “The Phog” using the first name of the building’s namesake, and coming off a 68-53 loss to No. 13 Iowa State on the road.