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Golden: Texas men are tired but in need of a quality win

Horns are 13-5 and 7-4 in the Big 12 entering Tuesday's road game against Oklahoma

Cedric Golden
Austin American-Statesman
Texas guard Matt Coleman III, seen here against Baylor earlier this month, leads the Horns at No. 12 Oklahoma on Tuesday. It will the first of five games in 11 days. "Everybody's body is tired," he said after Saturday's win over TCU.
  • Texas faces Oklahoma Tuesday, its first of five games in 11 days.
  • The Texas women lost 60-35 to Baylor Sunday and star post Charli Collier scored only two points on three field goal attempts.

Texas has had a nice season, but the Horns could use a few more quality wins.

Longhorns fans didn’t know it at the time, but those two earlier victories over traditional powers — North Carolina and Kansas — aren’t as impressive as they would have been for about any other year over the last 20 years.

The Tar Heels (12-7) and Jayhawks (15-7) aren’t having their usual banner seasons, so Texas needs to secure another sexy win or two to further its cause for a solid seed in the NCAAs.

Wednesday’s opponent, No. 12  Oklahoma, would be a great notch in Texas’ belt, especially with the Horns entering a crucial stretch of the season with five games over 11 days, a real gut-check given that this team has only been practicing together in full for a bit over two weeks.

The ravages of COVID-19 decimated the roster and even took out coach Shaka Smart for a game — a crushing 80-79 home loss to these same Sooners — but Texas played one of its most complete games on Saturday against TCU.

More:NCAA Tournament bracketology: Texas slotted as a No. 3 seed in latest projections

A win would really bolster the 13-5 Longhorns and their 7-4 record in the highly regarded Big 12.

Smart said mental preparation is just as important as figuring out how much to practice and when to rest his guys. Yes, these are the times that try men’s souls and definitely their legs, which have to be heavy at this point in the season.

It’s a nice 11-day test and one would think a veteran roster will be up for the challenge.

“Everybody’s tired,” said senior guard Matt Coleman. “Everybody’s body is tired. But you know, one thing about that is less practice. You get to play some games, so  let's get it. Let's get it rolling.”

Oklahoma may not get the big headlines, but the NCAA selection committee is showing love. In the committee's initial bracket reveal, the Sooners received a No. 3 seed along with Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. Lon Krueger’s crew has wins over four teams in the committee’s top 16.

Texas post Charli Collier, seen here blocking the shot of Oklahoma State's Lexy Keys on Feb. 10, has dominated in most games this season but was held to two points on 0-for-3 shooting in a 60-35 loss at Baylor Sunday.

Collier, Horns didn't show: The Texas women lost to a much better team on Sunday, but where was Charli Collier?

That’s the biggest question coming from Texas’ latest beatdown at the hands of perennial title contender Baylor.

Collier, a national player of the year candidate, has racked up double-doubles at a record pace, but I have quietly waited for weeks to see what she would do against the program that owns the Big 12. We all knew Baylor coach Kim Mulkey would have a defense dialed up for the 6-5 post, but Texas’ best player just didn’t show up in Waco.

Collier has to put up the same effort against elite competition that she does against the Idahos and Drakes. The matchup against Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith was much anticipated and while she was saddled with early foul trouble, Collier was far too deferential for someone who could be the No. 1 overall pick of the WNBA draft.

More:Bohls: Baylor crushes Texas, but disparity won't last forever

Coach Vic Schaefer sat her longer than expected and if felt like he was sending a message that she has to be better. Can’t blame him there. If your biggest dog isn’t barking against your fiercest rival, bad things are bound to happen, like a 60-35 beatdown.

Texas lost by 25 and its best player who averages 22 points and has four 30-point outings to her credit, attempted only three shots before fouling out. Give me an 0-for-15 over an 0-for-3 any day, especially from a great player.

Everyone is entitled to a bad day at the office, but a player of Collier’s caliber can’t play so listlessly on national television if she is as good as many (me included) believe her to be.

She’s a smart young woman who knows a bit about self-criticism. She has to take a long, hard look at why she played with no juice in a game that’s been circled on the calendar all offseason.

Former Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle was hired by Jacksonville head coach Urban Meyer last week but abruptly resigned soon after amid criticism of the hiring, most notably from the Fritz Pollard Coaching Alliance. Doyle left Iowa in June after reports surfaced alleging his mistreatment and racist behavior toward Black players.

Urban plight: Urban Meyer thought he could bring in an alleged belittler of young Black men into a position of prominence and not expect backlash in the most popular league in America?

Think again.

The new Jacksonville Jaguars coach has won big in college but has already gotten off to a horrible start in his first month as an NFL head coach. Chris Doyle’s tenor as Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach was marred by stories of racist treatment of his Black players, which led some to leave the program now headed by longtime head coach Kirk Ferentz.

More:On Second Thought Ep. 209: Can Shaka keep the Texas locker room together? Super Bowl wrap

So when Meyer hired him, the criticism came in swift fashion, most notably from the Fritz Pollard Coaching Alliance, which was created to encourage diversity in the interviewing and hiring of people of color. Meyer's reasoning of having known Doyle for 20 years reeked of favoritism and was a real diss to the men Doyle terrorized at Iowa.

"At a time when the NFL has failed to solve its problem with racial hiring practices, it is simply unacceptable to welcome Chris Doyle into the ranks of NFL coaches," said Alliance executive director Graves in a statement. "Doyle's departure from the University of Iowa reflected a tenure riddled with poor judgment and mistreatment of Black players. His conduct should be as disqualifying for the NFL as it was for University of Iowa.”

Predictably, Doyle resigned.

I think Meyer just found out that he’s coaching in a different league now.

Nice start.