The university is closed for the holidays, so Texas players have nothing to do but sleep, eat, practice and watch game tape. And there was plenty to review after Tuesday’s 63-58 loss to Kent State.
“As a coach, the more you watch it, the more it bothers you,” UT coach Shaka Smart said. “Watching it 100 times isn’t going to change what happened. It’s about learning from what happened.”
The Longhorns watched how they turned it over 18 times, resulting in 24 points for the Golden Flashes. They saw a team in white miss 16 of 18 3-point shots. They had to cringe witnessing the visitors in gray go after every rebound in rabid-dog fashion.
There’s not much time to worry about it, though. Texas (6-6) opens Big 12 play on Friday at Kansas State (11-1).
“They see a lot of things that are fixable,” senior Shaq Cleare said. “Coach was trying to explain from here on out, it only gets harder. But everything we saw on film is stuff that’s under our control, stuff we can fix moving forward.”
Freshman guard Andrew Jones said he watched himself dribble the ball loose and away from his body. He had six turnovers, including one where Deon Edwin swiped the ball clean and ran the other way for a dunk. Sophomore Tevin Mack said two early fouls got his spirits down. That was a huge reason why it took him nearly 38 minutes to get into the scoring column.
“Everybody came in this morning kind of sad about last night, but once coach talked to us and we watched some film, we started getting our spirits up a little bit,” Mack said. “The energy in practice got better as time went on. I feel like we’re getting ready for Kansas State.”
Mack said there wasn’t doubt, “just more of a heightened sense of concern” about what lies ahead. The Longhorns were picked to finish third in the preseason Big 12 poll. They also started the year ranked 21st. None of that matters now.
The Wildcats’ only loss of the season came against Maryland, but don’t be overwhelmed by all 11 victories, either. K-State has played only three teams from Power 5 conferences — Boston College, Maryland and Washington State — and nobody ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.
“I know this, that group of guys in there, based on the way they’re practicing, I feel good about that group of guys turning into a really good team. The question is when,” Smart said. “We play a really good team on Friday. We don’t have the luxury of waiting on that long term. We need that to happen sooner rather than later.”
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