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Matt Norlander

Texas' Final Four hopes take a hit with Balbay injury — or do they?

The Dagger

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Dogus Balbay is done for the season.

The Turkish defensive specialist for the Longhorns went down — without any contact — in Saturday's 71-67 win against Texas Tech.

It's his left knee, and it's a dreaded ACL tear.

Good thing Texas is so deep, right? No team has insurance like the Burnt Orange.

Although Balbay led the team in assists (3.9 per game), he was considered to be a huge liability on offense; his defense was why he was ever put on the floor.

Will Balbay's absence make Texas a weaker team defensively? Yes. No denying that Balbay was a weapon a lot of other teams didn't have. Is Texas going to be stronger offensively? I think so.

Now Texas (21-6, 7-5) has its hand forced. Rick Barnes is losing bodies, and a shift in approach will be made. Injuries are never positive, but this could be the best thing to happen to Texas.

This is the second injury to Texas' backcourt this season. Varez Ward went down with a quad injury in November.

So now it's J'Covan Brown, the freshman with the high ceiling, who will be throw into the fire and asked to produce for Barnes' struggling squad.

Expectations are that Brown can blossom.

Texas' next opponent is Oklahoma State on Wednesday night. The Pokes know about season-ending injuryes — they recently lost their starting point guard.

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