“The Eyes of Texas,” as the Longhorn fight song proclaims, are upon No. 25 Texas, as the visitors from Austin take a four-game losing streak into Manhattan on Saturday.
The Wildcats (12-11, 5-5) aren’t faring much better, though, sporting their own three-game losing streak that cumulated Wednesday in a loss to then bottom-of-the-league foe Texas Tech.
Needless to say, the loss wasn’t the worst thing that happened to K-State Wednesday. Prior to tipoff, head coach Bruce Weber announced in a press release that sophomore guard Marcus Foster and freshman forward Malek Harris were suspended for a violation of team rules.
“Our whole team, we have been plagued from the start of the season by immaturity, by a lack of discipline and a lack of consistency,” Weber said after Wednesday’s loss. “That has been on and off the court all year.”
Weber is unsure whether or not the two will be available for Saturday’s contest.
“Hopefully they will learn from this experience and make the necessary progress to rejoin our team,” Weber added in the press release.
Without Foster, the team loses a consistent scorer. Foster is averaging a team-leading 14 points and was the Wildcats’ main threat from behind the 3-point line.
In the absence of Harris, K-State loses a consistent defender who has given the team valuable bench minutes with senior forward Nino Williams still banged up from injuries inflicted during the West Virginia game.
Even if Foster and Harris are available, the Longhorns will be a difficult obstacle for K-State.
Texas is led in scoring by sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor averaging 13.8 points per game. The Longhorns also rank fourth in the country rebounding the ball, averaging 41.8 game.
They are able to accomplish that with height on their team in players like 6-foot-11-inch freshman forward Myles Turner, 6-foot-9-inch senior center Cameron Ridley and 6-foot-8-inch senior forward Jonathon Holmes.
“I have no doubt in the group of guys we have here,” Texas head coach Rick Barnes told the media after Wednesday’s overtime loss to Oklahoma State. “What it goes back to is the fine line with execution. All five guys have to be playing together. All five guys have to be fluid. We talked yesterday about what we were going to run to start the game and that I can’t explain.”
In Wednesday’s post-game radio interview with K-State Sports, Weber said that he expects Texas (14-8, 3-6) to defend the Wildcats in a zone defense like many in the league have done successfully.
If Foster is out on Saturday, it will be critical for K-State to find a consistent shooter from behind the arc to try and break that zone.
In the second half against Texas Tech, it was freshman guard Tre Harris who hit three treys that brought K-State within one point. Whomever the scoring comes from, K-State will have to consistently score from outside, because Texas will be very hard to drive against to generate points in the paint.
K-State will also have to avoid five minute periods of not scoring, which it has a propensity to do, as well as a slow start to begin the game, which has plagued the offense and led to multiple poor first halves.
However, as inept as K-State’s offense has been, Texas has been just as bad. The Wildcats rank 113th in the country averaging 44.7 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Texas averages 43.5 percent, which drops them to 180th in the country.
Texas will face K-State in front of a blackout, as the Wildcats are encouraging fans to dress in their black K-State apparel. The Wildcats and Longhorns tipoff from Bramlage Coliseum at 3 p.m.
Timothy Everson is a sophomore in mass communications.