Texas Vs. Kansas State: Longhorns Rebound From Poor First Half To Defeat Wildcats

After trailing 40-27 at the half, Texas had their best 20 minutes of the season, outscoring a tough Wildcat team by 26 points in a game that could propel them to the NCAA Tournament.

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Texas Basketball's Bright Future

With Texas finally securing a quality win over a top Big 12 opponent on Saturday, the Longhorns performance should quiet any doubters about Rick Barnes, who has the program set up for a Final Four run next season.

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Texas Vs. Kansas State Final Score: Longhorns Have Big Second Half To Defeat Wildcats, 75-64

The Texas Longhorns did a complete 180 degree turn around in the second half against the Kansas St. Wildcats. Texas was trailing 13 points at the half but were able to double up Kansas State 48-24 in the second half to win 75-64.

Texas started the second half on a 16-2 run to trail Kansas State by one after only seven minutes of play, and Texas took their first lead in the second half at the 8:45 mark when J'Covan Brown hit a three-point shot to give Texas a 56-54 lead.

From that point on Texas never trailed again, and were able to build their on their lead by stopping the Kansas State offense and making 13 of 15 of their free throws over the last five minutes in the second half. The free throw difference was the key as Texas was 35 of 48 from the line compared to Kansas State who was only eight of 12.

Texas was led in scoring by Brown who had 23 points and Alexis Wangmene contributed with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

For more on Texas basketball, head over to Burnt Orange Nation, while Bring On The Cats has everything you need to know about Kansas State hoops.

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Texas Vs. Kansas State Halftime Update: Longhorns Offense Struggling, Down 40-27 To Wildcats

The Texas Longhorns are shooting a woeful 7-of-25 in the first half versus the Kansas St. Wildcats as the boys from Manhattan have a commanding 40-27 lead in Austin, Texas.

The Wildcats leading performer has been Rodney McGruder, as his 11 points and 5 rebounds have been key to Kansas State's strong first half. Will Spradling has also chipped in 11 points and 3 rebounds and Adrian Diaz contributed 7 points off the bench. Texas has struggled to get any offensive flow going, their leader J'Covan Brown is shooting just 2-of-8 thus far for 8 points and Myck Kabongo has given Rick Barnes' team 7 points off the bench.

With a win Kansas State is closer to securing a bid in the NCAA tournament while a loss for the Longhorns will virtually eliminate them from any chances at an at-large bid.

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NCAA Tournament: Texas On The Bubble To Make It, Must Win Upcoming Games

The NCAA men's basketball tournament is a little over a month away and it's impossible to tell which teams will be making it in and which teams that are currently on the bubble will be shut out but a basic picture is forming. According to SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean, the University of Texas Longhorns are one of the eight teams are on the bubble for making it in, but are currently on the outside looking in.

This list is similar to the last eight out that appeared in Monday's projection. With the exception of UCF knocking Marshall off the bubble, these teams were either off during the early part of this week (Dayton, Wyoming), won games with little positive impact (UMass, N.C. State, Texas, Xavier), or suffered a damaging loss (Mississippi). Keep an eye on N.C. State, as Mark Gottfried's team's opportunity to make a move is nearly here, thanks to three quality win opportunities in six days--a trip to Duke next Thursday night, followed by home contests with Florida State and North Carolina.

The Longhorns are currently sitting with a 15-9 record (5-6 in the Big 12) and their last seven games of the season, two of which are against ranked opponents (Baylor and Kansas), are must-win games. Their next game is on Saturday at home against the Kansas State Wildcats (17-6, 6-5 Big 12) and a loss could seal the Longhorns' fate as a team that misses the big show.

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Texas Vs. Kansas State Preview: Five Questions With A 'Bring On The Cats' Writer

As part of a new series we're doing here at SB Nation Dallas, we'll be conducting a back-and-forth with other SB Nation writers from around the country to preview big games for area teams.

For the Texas - Kansas State basketball game, we've brought in "Ahearn Alley", who does a great job covering Wildcats basketball for Bring On The Cats.

Head over here for a look at my responses to his questions about the Texas basketball season so far.

1) Kansas State has kind of slipped under the national radar for most of the season. What's their identity in the post Jacob Pullen era?

That's something we are still trying to figure out. We'd love to see Rodney McGruder, or maybe future Angel Rodriguez, be that Jacob Pullen type player that we can rely on any time we need to score, but that's just not happening this season, or probably next season either. As it is, we're left to deal with a team that is probably good enough to be middle-of-the-pack in the Big 12, but clearly a notch below the top 3 and capable of getting beat by a lot of teams on an off night.

Of course, Frank's teams will always be one of the toughest and hardest working in the Big 12, especially on the defensive end. They're also going to have a lot of depth and will try to wear you down over the course of a game, rather than actually outplay you. Unlike past iterations with guys like Michael Beasley, Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente, this team is clearly at its best when moving well without the basketball and being unselfish. The best example of this would be the majority of the A&M game, in which K-State had 15 assists on 21 field goals.

2) Where on the bubble is Kansas State right now and what do they need to do over the next month to ensure a Tourney bid?

As of right now, everyone seems to agree Kansas State is safely in. But our upcoming schedule scares me to death. After UT, we get Kansas at home, then Baylor and Missouri on the road. I'd like to think we've got a shot at beating KU at home, but it's not completely irrational to call UT a must-win, since it could start a 4-game losing streak. In that case, Kansas State would probably need to at least win out (vs. ISU, @aTm, vs. OSU) to feel safe.

Get a win against UT and everyone else, or against any of the Big 3 while avoiding a complete collapse, and the Wildcats should be fine. Since they're probably going to inexplicably lose to OU for a third time in our first Big 12 tourney game (see Colorado last season), I really don't want see the 'Cats going to Kansas City with any work left to do.

3. The Wildcats don't seem to have the same type of All-Big 12 talent -- Beasley, Pullen, Bill Walker -- they've had over the last few years. Do you think Kansas State can consistently recruit McDonald's All-Americans going forward or has Dalonte Hill's departure changed that?

It's kind of hard to see McDonald's All-Americans lining up to come to Manhattan, but it's certainly still a lot easier at this point than it was in the Woolridge/Asbury eras. It's obvious the program is getting a lot more respect now, not just from people outside of Manhattan but from the university as well, which of course is very helpful. I don't think Frank's system will draw superstars that are just looking for a pit stop on their way to the NBA, but it could be appealing to talented players who know they need to improve and are willing to put in the work. Think Missouri, not Kentucky.

As for Hill's impact, I felt that well had pretty much dried up. He obviously brought in Beasley, Walker, Wally Judge (thanks for nothing), and even Rodney McGruder and Jamar Samuels. But after having been away from the D.C. area for a few years, he no longer seemed to be able to pull the strings quite as well. It was pretty obvious he wasn't earning his abnormally large salary on the bench, so there were really no hard feelings when he left for Maryland. That's not to say this story didn't make me laugh.

4. From an outsider's perspective, what do you think of the job Rick Barnes has done at Texas? He's gotten a lot of heat for the way things have gone in the last three years.

While he's clearly not derping it up on the level of Scott Drew and Baylor, it seems to me that Barnes has been unable to get the most out of his talent. I haven't watched enough Texas basketball to really know why that is (though I have been mystified by his game management at times) and it's not like his teams have always been unable to win big games (this season nowithstanding). In fact, it almost seems like the bigger problem is UT tends to peak in January then either stays stagnant or slowly slides back the rest of the way.

Say what you will about Frank's coaching quirks - I have my share of concerns - he always seems to get the most out of his teams come March. It can be excruciating to watch at times in November, December, and even January, but it's difficult to look at his track record and say he doesn't know what he's doing. I don't want to speak for you guys, but I wonder if you would say the same thing about Barnes.

5. What do you think the key to Saturday's game is going to be?

Obviously, Rodney McGruder was the man in Manhattan, and I'm not going to rule out the possibility he could do that again. But I think it's more likely he'll need some help this game. The biggest boost K-State can receive is outside shooting from inconsistent guys like Will Spradling, Angel Rodriguez and Martavious Irving. If any of them can get going, our chances to win go up dramatically.

Oh, and making free throws down the stretch this time would help.

6. Your prediction?

I'll say Kansas State 78-76.

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Texas Vs. Kansas State: Game Preview, TV Info And More

With March rapidly approaching, the Longhorns need to beat the Wildcats on Saturday to set themselves for a late-season run at an at-large berth in the Tournament.

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