Texas earned another impressive win last Saturday, beating a ranked TCU team on the road. The win was important, as Texas needs as many good wins as possible for their postseason resume as things move closer to Selection Sunday. Another great opportunity was presented with Iowa State coming to Austin on Tuesday. Unfortunately the Longhorns could not capitalize and lost another game at home. In what would have likely cemented their March Madness ticket with a win, the Longhorns now have work to be done.
Rodney Terry and the Longhorns currently sit at 15-8 and 4-6 in conference. They need to get to 20 wins in order to feel comfortable with their position on Selection Sunday in a mere five weeks. Texas welcomes West Virginia in a must-win game on Saturday before some time off and a rematch on the road with the Houston Cougars next Saturday. Let’s dive into some things that continue to go wrong for Rodney Terry’s bunch and the good things they can build on.
1-4 the Last 5 Home Games Cannot Happen
Texas being 1-4 in the last five games at home is unacceptable. If you cannot win on your home court in the Big 12 Conference, you are destined to struggle. The Longhorns have played well on the road however, going 3-2 with two ranked wins over Oklahoma & TCU. Those wins are saving Texas from an otherwise disastrous season. Given that the ‘Horns only lost one game at Moody Center last year, 1-4 at home in Big 12 play thus far this season is very discouraging.
Texas has some tough road games remaining including Houston, Kansas, Baylor and Texas Tech. This means they need to win out at home, no questions asked. Winning out would only bring them to 5-4 at home in Big 12 play, which is quite underwhelming, but Rodney Terry needs to get to that 5-4 mark for any hope of making the NCAA Tournament. Missing the Big Dance would not be a good thing for Terry in his first full season as head coach. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and the Longhorns need to make the most of it.
Tyrese Hunter Needs to Provide More
Tyrese Hunter has often been boom or bust this year and that is not good enough. As a junior looking to improve his NBA stock, he needs to play more consistently. In the last five games, Hunter has reached double digits once, which was 10 points against BYU. He is averaging over 34 minutes a game in that stretch. That simply isn’t enough out of what is supposed to be one of your top players.
Hunter’s lack of impact was made crystal clear in the loss to his former team Iowa State on Tuesday. In 33 minutes he was 0-8 from the field with no free throw attempts. That is as close to no impact as you can get. Iowa State showed what happens when Texas has no real threat besides Abmas. Iowa State was very physical with Abmas and the graduate transfer struggled with it. If Tyrese Hunter doesn’t step it up, the Texas offense will continue to struggle and the Longhorns’ defense is not good enough to carry them. Hunter needs to step it up quickly if Texas wants to remain playing in late March.
The More Chendall Weaver, the Better
Chendall Weaver was finally inserted into the starting lineup against TCU and this was a move that needed to happen for some time. Weaver is a guy that gives his full effort and consistently makes an impact on the game. He doesn’t take possessions off and is constantly getting after opponents on both sides of the ball. In addition, he crashes the glass like very few guards do. In the loss to Iowa State, Weaver had five offensive rebounds in 19 minutes. That is incredible and the kind of performance that can change a game.
Weaver did get himself in some foul trouble against the Cyclones, and that will happen when a player plays with the intensity he plays with. He has the ability to get to the rim more often as a scorer than most Texas players do, and hopefully he gets more opportunities to do so with the ball in his hands. Giving Weaver more minutes and opportunities will only help the Longhorns.