After losing two consecutive road games at Missouri and Kansas State, the Texas men's basketball team continues the toughest stretch of their schedule this season when they host No. 7 Kansas on Saturday afternoon.
For the first time in Rick Barnes' 14-year tenure in Austin, the Longhorns are in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. They desperately need to hold serve on their home court against the Jayhawks, as a victory over Kansas would give Texas a signature win they can trumpet to the selection committee in March.
Despite struggling with a severe ankle sprain, J'Covan Brown, the Longhorns top scorer and team leader, has stepped up his game against superior competition, scoring 22 points against the Wildcats and 34 against the Tigers.
Texas will need his production to counter-act the decided advantage the Jayhawks have in the front-court with 6'10 240 All-American candidate Thomas Robinson. Robinson, who is averaging 17.8 points and 12.1 rebounds a game as a junior, has the capacity to brutalize the undersized Longhorns front-line, and he will likely be double-teamed at every possible opportunity.
Kansas PG Tyshawn Taylor, after struggling with inconsistent play through the first half of the season, has come in recent weeks, including a magnificent 24 point performance against Baylor on Monday. Freshman Myck Kabongo, who had 14 points and 10 assists against Kansas State on Wednesday, will need to have his best performance of the year on both sides of the ball if Texas is going to pull off the upset.
The 3:00 PM game will be televised nationally on CBS.
Burnt Orange Nation has all the latest news and notes from Austin, while Rock Chalk Talk is the best place on the interwebs for in-depth coverage of Kansas basketball.