AUSTIN (KXAN) — A tough loss to West Virginia on Saturday dropped the Texas Longhorns two spots in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings Monday. The Longhorns strong start to the season has tapered off with Big 12 opponents chipping away at Texas’ once impressive record.
Texas is now ranked No. 14 in the latest AP poll. It won’t get any easier Tuesday night against No. 17 Kansas.
After starting the season with a 10-1 record, the Longhorns have lost five of their last eight games. A 25-point win against Kansas stamped Texas into college basketball’s contender category in early January. The second matchup with the Jayhawks is an opportunity for Texas to jumpstart its confidence with the regular season nearing completion.
The last time Texas took the floor, there were plenty of fireworks as Longhorn guards Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones had an altercation, which resulted in Ramey being physically restrained by teammates during a timeout.
Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart acknowledged that the argument came at a bad time in the game with Texas leading by 14 point, but doesn’t feel like it will be a lingering issue. He’s just glad that the team is passionate about playing at a high level.
“To me, the opposite of that is apathy, and that’s the worst quality that you can have in a competitive setting,” Smart said. “Again, it’s our job to make sure that passion is directed in the right way.”
Texas is facing a Kansas squad that has been on a roll lately. The Jayhawks have won five in a row, climbing to third place in the Big 12 standings. After a 91-79 loss to West Virginia on Feb. 6, Kansas dropped out of the national polls for the first time in 12 years.
The Jayhawks regained their status in the Top 25 the next week with three blowout wins. Smart doesn’t expect a 25-point win this time around against coach Bill Self’s team.
“Sometimes you look at the score and sometimes you lose sight of the fact that it’s maybe somebody’s day or it’s not someone’s day,” Smart added. “They’ve played significantly more Big 12 games than most of the Big 12 teams and I think in their case, from the outside looking in, it’s helped them get into a rhythm of playing good basketball, playing the way Coach Self wants them to play.”
This will likely be the final home game of the season for Texas. Before tipoff, the Longhorns will honor their six seniors: Matt Coleman, Jericho Sims, Jase Febres, Drayton Whiteside, Blake Nevins and Royce Hamm Jr. Texas will also receive a boost from the fans, who will be allowed to attend the game at a reduced capacity.
“That makes a big difference, even though we’re not allowed to have fans like we normally do,” Smart said. “Quite honestly, just for our guys families to be able to see them, really grateful for that particularly on Senior Night.”
How to watch/listen
No. 14 Texas and No. 17 Kansas will tip off at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Frank Erwin Center. You can watch the game on ESPN or online through your cable provider on WatchESPN.
Channel listings for ESPN
- Spectrum: Channel 52 or 301
- Grande Communications: Channel 28 or
- DirectTV: Channel 206
- AT&T U-verse: Channel 602 or 1602
- Google Fiber: Channel 210
- Dish Network: Channel 140
You can listen to the Texas radio broadcast on the Longhorns Radio Network through Texassports.com or on Sirius XM Channel 83.
The Kansas radio broadcast can be found here.