K-State, Texas meet Saturday stuck in the same rut

K-State head coach Bruce Weber talks to his team during a timeout during the game against Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 2, 2014 at Bramlage Coliseum. K-State defeated Omaha-Nebraska 84-66. (George Walker | The Collegian)

K-State and Texas are facing adversity.

There’s no doubt about that.

The Wildcats started the Big 12 season on a roll, while Texas was the preseason favorite to challenge Kansas for the conference title. Now, K-State has taken to mediocrity, in record and performance. Texas, too, has slid all the way down … all the way down … to eighth place in the conference standings.

But even though losing is losing, how each team is handling their current situation appears to be much different.

“We’ve got a group of guys who are hurting and I hurt for them,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said to the media after Wednesday’s loss. “But I know this: we’ve got a group of guys who, if they can put it all together, can be awfully good.”

While Barnes may seem hopeful and somewhat optimistic about his team struggles, Weber took a tone of exasperation when speaking about the Wildcats woes Wednesday in Lubbock, Texas.

“You’ve got to do your job; everyone’s got to do their job,” Weber said. “Everyone’s got to depend on everybody, especially when we’re down some people. Everyone didn’t do their job tonight, and that still comes down to myself. And I haven’t done as good of a job as I should, and that’s why we’re in the predicament we’re in.”

Two teams, both picked in the top half of the Big 12 conference, trending downward in a hurry.

For Texas it might just be misfortune. Three out of its last four opponents are ranked in the top 25 and three of its last four games came on the road. That is a killer stretch, but one that every team in the conference will have to face at some point in the competitive Big 12.

Despite the current four-game skid, Longhorn players have kept their poise. When asked if this team resembled the 2012-13 Texas team that went 7-11 in conference play and lost in the first round of the CBI tournament, junior guard Demarcus Holland was candid.

“No, this team is way different than that team,” Holland said. “We still have a lot of confidence moving forward. As hard as it seems to understand that, we trust each other and we all believe in the system. We all know that we still have a lot of games to play. We don’t have one selfish body on this team, and I think that everyone on this team can compete at a high level. I trust my teammates, so we aren’t panicking.”

Even though record-wise, things may look better in Manhattan, the hopeful tone emitting from Austin, Texas has not quite made its way to the Little Apple.

“We have, as a team, failed at maturity; we have failed at discipline and consistency,” Weber said to K-State Sports Wednesday. “That’s on and off the court. That’s why we are 12-11 and 5-5. I gave them a sheet. In the summer, I always give them keys and focuses and the first thing was maturity. One, we have young guards. There was a disconnect between older and younger guys. I talked about discipline. Doing what’s the right thing everyday. And that’s on and off the court. And then consistency, when you have discipline and maturity you’re going to be disciplined and that’s what we failed on and it’s a shame.”

Saturday, one of these teams’ downward spiral will cease, at least for the weekend.

The question is, will it be the team taking the high road in Texas or the low in K-State?