Jonathan Holmes

Texas, Jonathan Holmes beats Kansas State at the buzzer (VIDEO)

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Remember when we were all laughing about Texas because Rick Barnes was so totally about to be fired and, like, he didn’t even know, bro?

Because Texas was going to be awful, right?

So much for that.

After starting Big 12 play 0-2 with losses to both of the Oklahoma schools, the Longhorns have now won four in a row, including victories over No. 8 Iowa State on Saturday and, on Tuesday night, a 67-64 win over No. 22 Kansas State thanks to the buzzer-beating heroics from forward Jonathan Holmes.

As a result, the Longhorns are currently sitting in second place in the Big 12 standings, two games behind Kansas and holding a tie-breaker with the Wildcats. Think about that. We may only be a third of the way through conference season, and Texas still have eight (seriously, eight!) more Big 12 games against teams currently sitting in the top 25, but what we know now is that the Longhorns are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Can they outlast Kansas and win the conference title?

Probably not.

This is still Texas and there are still the talent deficiencies that tend to go hand in hand with losing your top four perimeter threats.

But Cameron Ridley is starting to prove why he was a top ten recruit coming out of high school, and the ability of Holmes as a versatile scorer and defensive playmaker compliment him perfectly up front. If you toss in Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh off the bench, Texas has a front line that can match up with anyone in the country, and that includes Kansas and star center Joel Embiid.

Javan Felix is a solid enough lead guard when he is flanked by young talents like Isaiah Taylor and Demarcus Holland.

They have some depth, they’re playing hard and they’re playing together. The egos are gone, and it’s working.

Texas looks like an NCAA tournament team, and if they can pull that feat off, it probably will earn Rick Barnes a number of Coach of the Year awards.

So much for getting fired.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: