Texas Basketball: Shaka Smart takes huge step back in blowout loss to WVU

Texas basketball might’ve racked up their worst loss of the 2019-20 regular season so far with a 97-59 loss vs. No. 12 West Virginia on Jan. 20.

Two really bad losses sit on the minds of the Texas basketball program and their fans after an embarrassing 38-point road loss at the hands of the No. 12 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers on Jan. 20. That loss to head coach Bob Huggins and West Virginia moved Texas to a record of 12-6 (2-4 Big 12) on the season so far. Not too long ago was Texas looking to solidify their status as a true NCAA Tournament contender for a single digit seed this year.

Head coach Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns basketball program is seeing the patience of their fan base dwindle with each passing loss. Smart missed the NCAA Tournament all too many times during his roughly five years on the Forty Acres. Missing out on the Big Dance one more time could be the end of his run as head coach of Longhorns basketball.

What made this loss to West Virginia so bad was the nature in which it happened. The Longhorns entered this Monday afternoon showdown at WVU Coliseum trying to bounce back after they slipped up against the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half to the tune of a 66-57 Jan. 18 loss at home at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas had the lead for much of the matchup against Kansas, but couldn’t hold on once star point guard Devon Dotson and Marcus Garrett caught fire late.

Losing to Kansas the way Texas did isn’t the worst way to go out against a top 10 team led by legendary head coach Bill Self. But the way the Longhorns would respond against the Mountaineers just two days later was what made this so much worse.

The suffocating defense that Smart’s teams are so well known for completely faded against the Mountaineers yesterday afternoon. Giving up 97 points in Big 12 play is completely inexcusable against any of the talented teams this year.

Texas literally could not stop any of the scorers that West Virginia had in their starting five or that came off the bench. West Virginia managed to score 97 points while their points leaders had just 13 on the day, with freshman big man Oscar Tshiebwe and sophomore Derek Culver tying each other.

If not for the game-high 18 points from junior wing Jase Febres and 15 points from junior guard Matt Coleman, the Longhorns would’ve amassed a measly 26 points on the day. No other player in the starting five for the Longhorns racked up more than four points against the Mountaineers.

The biggest fault in the way the Longhorns played in this game was the level to which they were outrebounded. Remembering the last time the opposition more than doubled the number of boards Texas raked in in a single game goes back pretty far. West Virginia was the battle on the glass over Texas 53-25. There were seven players that all at least had four boards for the Mountaineers.

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Getting outrebounded like that is nothing more than a poor excuse for coming out with little effort. West Virginia is a very solid team on the glass, but the Longhorns have plenty of length and athleticism in their rotation.

The way Smart’s team showed out in this game was pretty pathetic and a strong response is much needed. Next up for the Longhorns is the Big 12/SEC Challenge, in which they will battle the LSU Tigers on Jan. 25.

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