The Longhorns were able to get a much needed-victory Saturday, defeating ninth ranked Baylor. It took a buzzer-beating layup from Tyrese Hunter, but Texas will take a win any way they can at the moment. This ended the Longhorns’ two game conference losing streak, bringing them to 2-3 in Big 12 play instead of an abysmal 1-4.
The Big 12 is a gauntlet with no nights off and the Longhorns’ upcoming schedule embodies that. Baylor marked the start of four straight games against ranked teams for Texas and the next two are on the road against Oklahoma on Tuesday and BYU on Saturday. Then they welcome #4 Houston to Moody Center next Monday. The positive in all of this is that with the difficult schedule, any win boosts the team’s resume and gives Rodney Terry a chance to see what his squad is really made of. Let’s dive into what the Longhorns need to do in order to keep the momentum going.
Chendall Weaver Needs More Minutes
Chendall Weaver got the most minutes against Baylor he’s had in a game since the December matchup with LSU. Weaver had just one shot attempt against Baylor but he brings needed energy and makes plays that don’t show up in the box score. An example of that was late against Baylor when he dove for a loose ball and helped Texas regain possession forcing Baylor to foul Max Abmas to extend the game.
Weaver brings a third guard to the floor, helping to take some of the ball handling pressure off of Tyrese Hunter and Max Abmas. He is able to create his own shot and shots for others, which is something Texas has lacked this season. Weaver battles on the defensive end and brings additional offense to the table, which is a positive for Texas. It is unlikely to happen but it would be interesting to see how things play out if Terry gave Weaver an opportunity to start in Ithiel Horton’s spot.
An Effective Tyrese Hunter is a Game-Changer
There have not been many games this season where both Hunter and Abmas have been effective. That was the case on Saturday and a large reason why Texas had their best half of basketball in the first half. Things tailed off in the second half but the Longhorns were still able to grab the win. Against the Bears, Hunter shot 8-13 from the field, which included 4-7 from three. If Hunter can knock down the three consistently, that adds a new dynamic to the Texas offense.
Outside of Abmas there is nobody on the Texas team that opponents fear beyond the arc. Should Hunter put that fear in opponents it will open up space for the Texas offense that they have not seen. In doing so it will create better looks for others and take some of the attention off Abmas. Abmas can’t do everything for the Longhorns’ offense, therefore Hunter is vital to their success.
Continue to Battle on the Glass
Baylor is a team that always rebounds well, especially on the offensive end. They average over 12 offensive rebounds a game. Texas allowed just half that, giving up 6 offensive rebounds to the Bears. The Longhorns equaled Baylor by getting 6 offensive rebounds of their own Saturday. Their rebounding numbers have been improving and a large part of that is due to Dylan Disu playing more minutes. If Disu can stay healthy that will help the team in several ways, but especially on the rebounding end.
Kadin Shedrick is slowly returning from his back issue, but played 16 minutes against Baylor and was effective. Hopefully over time his minute-load can increase which puts Disu or Shedrick on the court at all times, giving Texas a presence in the paint throughout the entire game.