MUST-WIN FOR BARNES AND THE BOYS?
When WVU's Bob Huggins, Juwan Staten and Devin Williams take the floor in Austin for Saturday's 5:15 pm CT tip against tumbling, 20th-ranked Texas (on ESPN) - it's make-or-break time for the Longhorns.
It's potentially, save-the-season time when it comes to momentum and psyche.
Everyone is waiting for Texas sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor to get back to relentlessly attacking the basket - driving and dishing, driving and scoring or driving and getting fouled.
The person waiting the most may well be Jonathan Holmes, who loves to follow Taylor to the rack for any put-back opportunities.
Once both of those things start happening again, Texas probably gets back to being Texas.
Taylor has struggled to hit his trademark floater in the lane and has been reluctant to attack the basket. Once Taylor gets back to driving and hitting that floater, post defenders will leave their man to help stop Taylor, leaving Cam Ridley, Prince Ibeh, Myles Turner and Holmes wide open for a pass from Taylor for easy dunks or lobs.
But if Taylor and Holmes continue to struggle, two things will need to happen: 1) Rick Barnes will need to draw up some offense for other players, such as Myles Turner ... 2) The Horns can't let any offensive woes drag down the team's defense.
UT should be an elite defensive team because of perimeter defenders like Damarcus Holland and Holmes and rim protectors such as Cam Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Turner.
When you look at that schedule, Saturday's game vs WVU becomes a must-win to keep the team's psyche in tact.
SECOND-HALF, BERMUDA TRIANGLE FOR TEXAS WOMEN
Heading into Saturday's 12 pm tip in Austin vs Texas Tech, the UT women are still No.4 in the country ... for now.
The Longhorns will drop in next week's rankings after back-to-back road losses to Iowa State and Oklahoma, when the second halves of games turned into the Bermuda Triangle. (More on that in a second.)
Karen Aston's team is suffering from some of the same problems the Texas men are: Kelsey Lang, who has been a scoring machine this season - much like Jonathan Holmes - went 1-of-10 vs Iowa State and 2-of-9 vs OU (that's 3-of-19 FG combined for those keeping track at home ... Holmes is 2-of-19 the past two games).
Lang is 6-foot-5 and just needs to be aggressive, much like Isaiah Taylor needs to be more aggressive for the men's team.
Both the UT men and women have settled for jumpers instead of getting the ball inside.
The UT women blew a 13-point, first-half lead vs Iowa State by going 8-of-38 shooting in the second half. Then, they went 8-of-30 shooting in the second half of the OU game.
Freshman Brooke McCarty, one of the team's best shooters, has tried to do too much by forcing shots. Now, McCarty is in a slump after going 1-of-8 (1-of-6 from 3) vs Iowa State and 1-of-11 (0-of-7) vs OU. (A John Holmes-like 2-of-19 FG the past two games!)
Aston desperately needs star freshman G Ariel Atkins - who creates offense by driving to the basket as the team's third-leading scorer - to return from an ankle injury that has caused her to miss the last 8 games.
Like Isaiah Taylor, Atkins makes everyone's job a lot easier when she's getting into the lane, drawing defenders and finding open teammates for easy buckets.
GIVE Mack Brown CREDIT FOR BEING HONEST
Mack Brown probably hated hearing people like me say since 2010 that Mack pretty much burned that 2010 season to the ground by being pissed off at everyone - assistant coaches and players - after losing Colt McCoy and the BCS national title game to Alabama while being convinced Texas would have beaten the Tide with Colt.
"I've stood there, in that tunnel at the Rose Bowl, right after we lost to Alabama and Colt McCoy got hurt and didn't get to play. And where Mark Helfrich has got to be careful, he's got to do a better job than I did of bouncing back and saying, 'What a great year. We've got to better. We gotta get bigger. We gotta get stronger to win this thing next year.' But let's don't let this ruin next year. Don't let one loss kill us for the next year, and that happened to us at Texas."
NO CHEESE FOR YOU!!
Seattle suburb bans cheese ... Milwaukee rock station bans Seattle rockers (Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, etc) ... You get the picture
SPEAKING OF RIDICULOUS ... SOME Russell Wilson STATS
The last 9 games, from about the time Seattle looked like they were about to implode, Wilson has completed 84 PERCENT of his passes and averaged 53.1 yards per game rushing.
Wilson belongs in the NFL MVP discussion, especially if the Seahawks win it all. Why? Because Wilson was being blamed for the team's troubles.
The rumblings behind the scenes were that Golden Tate broke up Wilson's marriage by messing around with Wilson's wife - thus Seattle traded Tate to Detroit. Then, Percy Harvin got into it with Wilson, and the team shipped Harvin out (to the Jets). The team, which was also missing S Kam Chancellor and LB Bobby Wagner at the time, started losing.
A teammate was quoted anonymously saying Wilson "wasn't black enough."
How did Wilson respond? By going on a rampage on the field to show his teammates how much of a war daddy he is - with an 84 percent completion rate and an average of 53 yards rushing per game, including 107 yards on the ground in a win over the Giants in November and two clutch, rushing performances in a sweep of Arizona - 10 carries for 73 yards and 6 carries for 88 yards (including a 55-yard TD run).
Don't forget about Russell Wilson.
THIS N THAT ...
-- Best part of Cardale Jones' announcement in Cleveland (where he's from) that he's returning to Ohio State was the tweet of his teammates
With most everyone thinking Cardale was holding a press conference to announce he was leaving, did it remind anyone of this?