Texas went on the road for the first time in Big 12 play on Tuesday night and Cincinnati gave the them all they could handle and a little more. It was the Bearcats’ first home game as a Big 12 member and the rowdy fanbase played the part. The Longhorns were able to pull out their first conference win 74-73, thanks to a Max Abmas jumper with just over six seconds remaining. Let’s get into some thoughts and observations from the game and moving forward.
Dylan Disu Needs to Start
In his first start of the year due to the injury to Kadin Shedrick, Disu showed out. He scored 33 points on 13-23 from the field and 4-10 from three. Disu was able to play 34 minutes and he mentioned after the game it was the first game without minutes restriction. Being able to play that many minutes is just as important as the points scored. Disu has battled numerous injuries at Texas and if he can stay healthy and on the court, this team’s ceiling changes.
Moving forward Disu needs to be in the starting lineup and he should replace Brock Cunningham. Cunningham plays a lot of minutes and would be better suited in a 20-25 minute role rather than the 30+ minutes he’s been playing this year. Disu can help improve the rebounding and add a scoring boost as well.
Defense Continues to be an Issue
Texas gave Cincinnati too many easy looks. They converted a lot of uncontested threes. This was especially the case in the first half when Cincinnati shot 5-8 from three. They cooled off in the second half finishing 7-17, but that is still over 40% and is a killer to defenses. Rodney Terry’s defense is a work in progress and letting a team get several uncontested threes off does not help.
The second chance points hurt the Longhorns as well on Tuesday night. The Bearcats killed Texas with 11 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 13 second chance points. Texas is lucky Cincinnati didn’t score more off those 11 offensive rebounds – a better team will capitalize more on that. Rebounding also needs to improve, plain and simple. A good solution is starting Disu with Shedrick and letting Cunningham come off the bench. That way Brock, who is a great energizer, can empty his back in his 20-25 minutes rather than worry about conserving energy over his 30 or more minutes.
Max Abmas is Clearly the Team Alpha
If there was ever a question before Tuesday’s game who the team alpha is, that question has been clearly answered. In a game where Disu had a career game, down the stretch the ball was in one players hands. That was Max Abmas, who prior to the last 5 minutes in the game, had just 8 points on 3-11 shooting.
In the final 5 minutes Abmas scored 7 points including the game winning shot with 6.2 seconds remaining. Abmas is the active leader in points scored in college basketball so his resume speaks for himself, but Rodney Terry and his teammates clearly trust him with game on the line.