17 Jan

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FIVE QUESTIONS – Texas Basketball (Jan. 17)

Sheldon McClellan shoots over North Carolina defendersAfter a long period of time when trips to the NCAA tournament seemed as routine as income taxes and nationwide economic growth, the Texas men’s and women’s basketball teams find themselves in a dogfight to make the postseason.

The Texas men – who have played the entire season without sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo and most of it sans injured sophomore forward Jaylen Bond –sit 8-8 overall and winless in Big 12 play after overtime losses to Baylor and West Virginia and a 20-point blowout at the hands of Iowa State. Up next is sixth-ranked Kansas in the Erwin Center Saturday afternoon, so the future is anything but rosy.

Texas coach Rick Barnes has guided the Longhorns to a school-record 13 straight NCAA tournament appearances, but it will take quite a coaching job, and a strong response from his players, to keep that streak intact.

The Longhorns’ women’s team (7-9, 0-5 Big 12) has struggled even more, dropping a team-record seven straight games including a 66-59 loss to Texas Tech on Wednesday night. Up next is 16th-ranked Oklahoma in Norman and Texas has not even played top-ranked Baylor yet.

The UT women will be forced to play the rest of the season without two players who were set to make major contributions this season after senior post Cokie Reed and junior guard Chelsea Bass retired from the team earlier this week for health reasons.

The 2012-13 campaign was never going to be easy for either team, and both have shown flashes of good play. Let’s take a look at five questions (three for the men’s team and two women’s team) as they dive into

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James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.