How Texas Avoided Super Bowl 51 Finish vs. Iowa State

Texas Basketball’s two-point win over Iowa State nearly turned into a Super Bowl 51 outcome for the Longhorns.

Texas jumped out to a big lead as Iowa State could do nothing right early in the game. But, the veteran Cyclones started to climb back into the game as the young Longhorns played not to lose.

Indeed, it sounds like what happened Sunday in Houston. The Super Bowl-experienced New England Patriots found a way to tie the inexperienced Atlanta Falcons, then win in overtime.

Just a few hours after the Super Bowl, Texas Basketball head coach Shaka Smart talked about the game in his Monday press conference. Coach Smart said the only NFL game he watched this season was Super Bowl 51, where the Falcons took a big lead, then let it slip away against the Patriots.

On Tuesday night, Smart must have been having flashbacks to the Super Bowl he just watched on Sunday night.

The Cyclones erased a 17-point lead and eventually tied the game. But, Texas showed enough resolve to prevent the Cyclones from ever taking the lead.

Then, freshman center Jarrett Allen nailed two clutch free throws with seven seconds left. Iowa State’s Matt Thomas then missed a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game and been Iowa State’s only lead of the entire game. Just like how the Super Bowl ended with the Patriots’ only lead coming in overtime.

Instead, it was Texas 67-65.

Coach Smart Now Using Principles From Super Bowl 51

After Texas Basketball beat Iowa State, Shaka Smart continued to reference the lessons from the Super Bowl. He saw his team emulating what happened on Sunday, but the Longhorns fortunately did enough good things at the end to win.

“I think sometimes with this team this year, there has been a little bit of avoidance,” Coach Smart said after the game. “Like, I don’t want to make a mistake. But, you can’t play that way. You have to be aggressive.

“Sometimes when you have a lead down the stretch – you just saw that in the Super Bowl – you want to kind of hold onto that lead. But, a lot of times in basketball, it just doesn’t work out for you. We have to learn to play when we have a lead and play aggressive, just as aggressive as would be if we were behind.”

Shaka Smart identified one of the biggest things holding back this year’s Longhorns team – fear. There is a sense the guards are afraid to shoot because they are inconsistent. Or, there is a fear of making a bad pass. Or, the forwards are afraid of being called for an offensive foul. Well, perhaps not Shaq Cleare, who will back down anyone Charles Barkley-style and not care if he gets whistled.

On Tuesday night, it took a veteran leader like Kendal Yancy to grab every loose ball and attack the rim. It made the difference in whether Texas pulled a Super Bowl or not.

“That’s part of my role, pretty much just doing the dirty work,” Yancy said after the game. “It’s one of the things that this team really needs to get going, getting rebounds, getting extra possessions, getting extra attempts. That’s what we really need. I’m that guy to do that. Just trying to bring the spark out there.”

Coach Smart certainly appreciated the effort. Now, can Texas Basketball build on this victory after learning what the Atlanta Falcons learned from the Super Bowl?

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