Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022
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Men’s basketball Saatva Empire Classic opponent preview: Louisville, UConn, Indiana

Junior+guard+Tyrese+Hunter+dribbles+the+ball+to+the+basket+during+the+game+against+Rice+on+Nov.+15.+
Kennedy Weatherby
Junior guard Tyrese Hunter dribbles the ball to the basket during the game against Rice on Nov. 15.

No. 19 Texas men’s basketball will travel for the first time this season to Madison Square Garden in New York City this weekend to compete in the Saatva Empire Classic.

The Longhorns will first take on Louisville, followed by either UConn or Indiana. Here is a rundown of the three potential opponents with the tournament on the horizon:

Louisville


The Cardinals finished out last season 4–28 overall, with a 2–18 conference record in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Kenny Payne’s first year as head coach. Louisville is currently 2–1 this season with losses to Chattanooga and an exhibition loss to Kentucky Wesleyan. After coming off a rough season last year, Payne brought in high-level transfers, like former University of Southern California guard Tre White and former Illinois guard Skyy Clark. Eight new players were added to compensate for the seven players who were lost to the transfer portal after last season. The main thing that Texas will have to look at in this new lineup is the wing position. Because of their returners’ and new additions’ proficiency in the position, it can be a weapon that will be used in the tournament.

No. 5 UConn 

The Longhorns have a chance of playing the reigning national champions on the second day of the Empire Classic. No. 5 UConn held a 31–8 overall record and 13–7 conference record in the Big East last season. The Huskies won the national title after a commanding 76-59 win over San Diego State. A dominant force that Texas will have to combat is sophomore Donovan Clingan. The 7-foot-2-inch center was a prominent piece of the Huskies’ offense and defense, not only because of his size, but his agility and his ability to shoot from the outside. However, the three departures of Jordan Hawkins, Andre Jackson and last season’s leading scorer Adama Sanogo has left the team with major shoes to fill. One new prospect to keep an eye on is freshman guard Stephon Castle. Castle came in No. 10 spot in the 2023 class, according to 247Sports, and is a force that Texas will have to keep an eye on. UConn sits 3–0 on the season with the Huskies dominating by 30 points or more in each matchup. Playing the defending national champion early in the season will be a solid litmus test for this Texas team. 

Indiana

Texas also has the potential to play Indiana instead of UConn on Monday, pending the result of Sunday’s Indiana and Louisville matchup. Indiana finished off last season 23–12 overall and 12–8 in Big Ten play. In last season’s NCAA Tournament, the Hoosiers came in as the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region in their second back-to-back appearance in the tournament after missing out the previous six years. The Hoosiers made it to the second round before falling to the Miami Hurricanes, 85-69. Indiana reloaded their roster after the departures of Trayce Jackson-Davis, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Miller Kopp and Race Thompson with players like former Oregon center Kel’el Ware and top freshman recruits Mackenzie Mgbako and Gabe Cupps. The Hoosiers also still have critical returners like Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway and Malik Reneau in their possession that will be more prominent in the starting lineup. With their versatility in players, Indiana will be a team that Texas will have to prepare for.

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