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Depth versus Depth

There's depth, and then there's depth. The Horns have one, but not the other. Confused? Okay, here's what we're talking about. A team can be deep in one of two ways, or, ideally, both. What the Horns lack in the number of able players they can trot out there (it's pretty much a six-man rotation at this point), they make up for in terms of depth of talent. The Horns top five (Gibson, Tucker, Aldridge, Buckman, and Paulino) is outstanding and on any given night each player could be the game's hero.

Paulino has had terrific games, Tucker has been the Big 12 player of the week twice, Gibson just lit up Baylor for 37, and Aldridge and Buckman continue to produce strong numbers in the paint. While Texas can't brag of a solid bench, it's hard to argue with the depth of scoring options among the top five.

Since the embarrassing double-digit losses to Duke and Tennessee in December, the Horns have gotten back to stifling team defense and run off an impressive nine straight wins, including huge victories over Memphis and Villanova. At 4-0 in conference play, and clearly the class of the conference, Texas is looking at being a #1 or #2 seed.

All that's left now is to figure out if the Horns lack of depth on the bench will take its toll on the talented starters. The Horns starters are regularly playing 30 to 35 minutes a game, and sometimes all 40. It's helpful that the Horns are blowing out the inferior teams, because that volume of minutes may be unsustainable over the course of a long season. Considering how physical the Big 12 is, Rick Barnes needs to get the talent as much rest as he can when the game is in hand.

If Texas is able to stay healthy through the regular season and Big 12 tournament, they'll be sitting in an excellent position come March. Because once we get in to the tournament, it's the other kind of depth that becomes more important than sheer volume of numbers. May it be a healthy next six weeks for the Longhorns.