1) There are those out there who believe that a 9-9 record in Big 12 play will get the Longhorns into the NCAA Tournament. That would put Texas at 19-13 heading into the Big 12 Tournament with a chance to snake a win to get to 20. But with a conspicuous lack of big wins in non-conference play (except Temple), I think Texas needs to get one more win and go 10-8.
2) To get to 10 wins, you need to look at teams that the Longhorns could potentially sweep. At the top of that list is Texas Tech, inarguably the Big 12's worst team at this point. The Longhorns have to get two from the Red Raiders. And to make 10 wins feasible, they really need to sweep at least two other teams.
3) And one of the next most likely teams is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have the Big 12's second-worst overall record at 8-6, and while they sit at 1-0 in conference play, that win came over the aforementioned Red Raiders. The Cowboys are also reeling in that Jean-Paul Olukemi is now out for the season, robbing Oklahoma State of its third-best scorer and a glue player. So while the Cowboys weren't exactly setting the world on fire before, now they're in a weakened state of still trying to learn to play without him.
4) It might be an overused UnderArmour slogan now, but you have to protect your own house. Wednesday's loss to Iowa State hurt, in that the Cyclones were a team that the Longhorns could potentially have swept. But it wasn't devastating because it wasn't at home. With such a young team, Texas is bound to struggle on the road. But the Longhorns need to protect their homecourt (and if they could do so by knocking off one of the big three in Baylor, Missouri or Kansas it would be extra huge), and certainly can't afford to stumble at home against one of the league's weaker teams.
5) Simply put: Texas needs confidence. The young players need to know that they can win a conference game. Conference play is different in that everybody knows you. They have a half-season worth of film on your younger players, and they're used to seeing your offense and defense on a year-in, year-out basis. There's a reason certain teams and players typically hit a wall when this part of the season arrives. So the Longhorns need to learn that they can win at this level, especially heading into Wednesday's game against rival Texas A&M.