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

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

For Texas, it’s time to put up or shut up

Lorianne Willett
Tyrese Hunter attempts to score during Texas’ game against West Virginia on Feb. 10, 2024.

With roughly a month until the Big 12 Tournament, it’s time for Texas to put up or shut up.

We’ve seen the Longhorns at their worst in Big 12 play, and it has unfortunately often come at the Moody Center this year — blowing leads, shooting the ball pitifully, unforced errors and disappearing acts from usual contributors.

But then, as was the case on Saturday, Texas reminds us that it is the reigning Big 12 Champion. Texas has a roster loaded with talent and can find a way to win in big spots.

Since the start of conference play, the Longhorns have yet to win or lose more than two games in a row — oscillating constantly between looking like one of the better teams in the country and one limping to their exit from the Big 12. Despite its inconsistencies, barring a truly horrid close to the season, it’s hard to see Texas being left out of March Madness.

However, Rodney Terry’s team has yet to really show its true colors. There’s a case to be made that a season-long pattern of dropping anticipated conference matchups against Top 25 competition has demonstrated this team’s ceiling, but the Longhorns have played some of their best basketball under scrutiny, knocking off Cincinnati, Baylor and most recently the Mountaineers coming off of eyebrow-raising losses.

With seven games left to play, now is the time for the Longhorns to show who they can be for the remainder of this year. Excuses about needing time to gel are in the rearview. At the moment, Texas doesn’t look primed for a postseason run like last year’s, with shoddy depth and a complete dependence on good play from graduate students Max Abmas and Dylan Disu.

A road rematch with No. 3 Houston looms large for the Longhorns coming off their 36-point dismantling of West Virginia, and how they perform Saturday will be telling for what the rest of the season might hold. Just as they’ve had a tendency to bounce back after tough losses, the Longhorns have made a habit of following up good wins with stinkers.

Projecting a victory over the Cougars, who have not lost at home this year, is misguided, but to see the Longhorns roll over against them would work to erase the confidence Saturday’s win instilled and reignite warranted consternation.

“There will be a lot of eyes on that game of course,” forward Disu said. “We’re just looking at matching their physicality, obviously, you can’t go in there soft.”

The key to an upset over Houston and how far the Longhorns can go this year falls on depth, which has been a weak spot all season for Texas. As great as the West Virginia win was, in a 94-point effort the bench scored just four of those. Against stronger competition, as seen before, that will get exposed.

Traditionally depth means the bench, but, for a team as top-heavy as Texas, it’s anyone not named Disu or Abmas. Junior Tyrese Hunter, who has been disappointing as the presumptive third option for the Longhorns, seemed to break out of a brutal slump on Saturday, but to see him revert back would immediately hinder the team’s tournament potential.

All season long, Texas has felt like a team of “ifs.” Nothing can be iffy the rest of the way if the Longhorns want to be viewed as a real threat come tournament time.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.