AUSTIN (KXAN) — When discussing Texas’ run to the end of the regular season, Shaka Smart discussed the facts and tried to avoid an excuse.
Essentially, the Longhorns postseason started early with multiple games wedged into a short time frame with all of them away from Austin in the final week of the regular season.
Normally, the Big 12 decision makers attempt to balance the schedule at the end of the season. Normally, in the final week of the regular season, each team will play one game at home and one game away. Normally, the conference won’t schedule more than two straight road games for a team at any point of the season.
But this isn’t a normal year. A season played during the COVID-19 pandemic means the usual protocols are thrown out the window.
Texas will play Iowa State Tuesday night for the second of four straight road games to face a winless in the conference Cyclones team. The Longhorns still have to travel to OU on Thursday and TCU on Sunday.
When looking at this mad dash to the end, Smart was matter of fact in his assessment.
“We’ll quickly have to turn the page,” Smart said.
The stakes are still high, as well. Texas likely needs to pull off two wins this week to avoid playing in the opening day of the Big 12 tournament next week. It wouldn’t hurt their NCAA Tournament resume’ to add another win or two.
Most bracket projections have the Longhorns as a four or five seed for the tournament set to tip off in a little over two weeks. For the conference tournament, Texas could finish anywhere between fourth and seventh.
Iowa State, without a Big 12 victory this year, hasn’t won a game since Dec. 20 against Jackson State. The Cyclones are already enduring an historically bad season, but a season without a conference win would make new history. Iowa State pushed Baylor to the brink last week in Waco. In Austin, they only lost to the Longhorns by 6.
The Longhorns are 3-6 in their last nine games. Smart needs his whole roster operating at maximum capacity, but freshman Greg Brown appears to be hitting a wall.
Brown scored 43 in Texas’ last three wins, including 13 against Kansas. He has just 15 points in the last three losses with only one field goal in the loss over the weekend at Texas Tech.
“Our job as a team is to take on that challenge,” Smart said.
How to watch
Texas and Iowa State will tip off at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. You can watch the game online through Big 12 Now and ESPN+. To watch through ESPN+, you will have to pay an additional fee for a subscription.
You can listen to the Texas radio broadcast on the Longhorns Radio Network through Texassports.com or on Sirius XM Channel 83.