You’d forgive Rick Barnes if, after this week, he doesn’t want to see anything associated with the state of Oklahoma anytime soon.
Following a 21-point loss at the hands of No. 16 Oklahoma on Monday, No. 10 Texas headed to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State on Saturday. It didn’t go well, as Phil Forte and LeBryan Nash both scored 20 points to lead the Pokes to a 69-58 win over the Longhorns.
This is a big win for Travis Ford’s club, proof that they were underrated heading into the season. There isn’t much depth on the roster, but with Nash and Forte carrying the load, Michael Cobbins back in the mix and Anthony Hickey there to run the point, they look the part of a tournament team. A win over a top 15 team will certainly help Oklahoma State get there.
But the bigger story here is Texas, who has yet to do much of anything to prove they deserve that top ten ranking.
The issue for the Longhorns is on the offensive end of the floor. They’ve combined to score just 107 points in their two losses this week and have dropped to 75th nationally in offensive efficiency on KenPom. Aesthetically, it’s been even worse, as they simply look stagnant on that end of the floor. It doesn’t help that Jonathan Holmes shot 2-for-19 from the floor and 0-for-11 from three this week, or that Isaiah Taylor was 7-for-25 and 1-for-6, respectively.
But at this point, it’s still too early to make any definitive judgement on this team. If you’ve forgotten, Taylor missed more than a month with a broken wrist and only returned a week-and-a-half ago, at the start of Big 12 play. Taylor is the most important player on the Longhorn roster, as he’s the penetrating point guard that can break down defenses and get some of his less-offensively inclined teammates easier looks.
If there is a good thing to take out of this game, it’s that Myles Turner finally played like a top ten recruit against real competition. He finished with 18 points, six boards and five blocks while hitting all four of his threes.
If I had to guess, I’d say the Longhorns will be in the thick of the Big 12 title race come February.
But until they do something to prove they’re that good, that’s all it is: a guess.