Longhorns need Christian Bishop’s March Madness win experience

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Christian Bishop is the only player on the Texas men’s basketball team who has won a March Madness game. The transfer from Creighton helped the Bluejays to a 72-58 win over Ohio in the second round of the 2021 NCAA tournament before transferring to Texas in April.

The team is in serious need of March Madness win experience, especially after last season’s devastating loss to Abilene Christian University in the first round of the NCAA tournament. 

But Texas’ history in the March Madness tournament isn’t pretty to begin with. The Longhorns have never won a championship and hold an overall record of 35-38. Texas has not won a second round game since 2014, when the Longhorns scraped by the Arizona State Sun Devils in a tight 87-85 win and were dismantled by Michigan in the third round. 

Despite the current team’s lack of NCAA tournament win experience and Texas’ history with the NCAA tournament as a whole, there are still incredibly high expectations for head coach Chris Beard’s squad. Just last week, Andy Katz, March Madness analyst and host, released his first 2022 March Madness bracket predictions. Katz listed Texas as the overall No. 3 seed, right behind powerhouses No. 2 Gonzaga and No. 1 UCLA. 

The main reason for Texas’ high expectations this season is the plethora of talented transfers that Beard picked up from the portal. Bishop, who played three seasons at Creighton, dominated the Big East, averaging 11 points on a conference-high 68.1% shooting. 

Despite his success in Omaha, he felt like he needed a change of scenery.

“I felt like for a lot of people, you’ve just got to switch up the scenery,” Bishop said. “I think it’s a great spot down here in Austin. Good people and we love to win down here. So it’s an easy decision to make.”

He officially spoke to the media for the first time Tuesday, along with junior forward Brock Cunningham and new head coach Chris Beard. 

Beard called Bishop a “positionless” and “versatile” player who could impact the court in several ways.

“When I first recruited (Bishop), I said, ‘I don’t want to change you,’” Beard said. “‘Everything you can do in terms of pick and roll game, shot blocking, (physicality) and things you can do around the basket. (I) don’t change that. I just want to add some things to it.’”

As official practices begin this week and the Nov. 9 season opener against Houston Baptist approaches, Beard said he still has yet to decide on a starting lineup. 

Many of the new transfers, including Bishop, are used to playing for long periods of time and being a team’s go-to player. The large pool of talent in this year’s team will make choosing starters quite the challenge, but having too much talent is a good problem to have. 

The Longhorns will be banking on the experience of veteran players such as Bishop to meet the high expectations placed on them for the upcoming season.