Rodney Terry and the Horns basketball team have lost consecutive games for the first time this season, losing to Baylor and TCU on the road. Are you worried about how the team is playing heading into the final game of the season or are you blaming this on the schedule?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - This team has been pretty resilient over the course of this season, so I am going to lean toward the scheduling being the culprit. The Big 12 is an absolute meat grinder of a conference to play in and that has to be physically and mentally taxing at this point in the year.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I am of two minds on this. Yes, it is frustrating to see them drop those games with a chance to put a stranglehold on a regular-season conference title, especially with how poorly they played in both of those games. At the same time, the question could also be rephrased as “lost back-to-back road games against top 25 teams in the toughest basketball conference in the country.”
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - You won’t get a full season without a poor shooting performance (Baylor), but back-to-back is a little alarming. It’s also worrisome when you get absolutely dominated on the glass (TCU). Of course, a win against Kansas tomorrow would change how we view the end of the season but ending on a three-game losing streak is not how you want to be playing in March.
It’s no coincidence that in the two losses, Marcus Carr has shot the ball poorly and has been held below average for points. Is there a bigger issue to Carr’s struggles?
Daniel - Doesn’t help that a guy like Tyrese Hunter has been a shell of himself since early in the season. Initially, it looked like Hunter was going to be a high-end player for Texas this year and since then he’s been average at best and that might be generous. Carr is having to carry a heavy burden with Hunter not being effective and if he’s off the team suffers in short order.
Gerald - I was ecstatic when they added Tyrese Hunter from the portal because Marcus Carr needed to have someone else to share the load in the backcourt. Hunter is 15-32 for the last three games, which is somehow an improvement over the three prior games but still below the standard that Texas needs from him. When Marcus Carr has to go into superhero mode, Texas is worse for it.
Cameron - It’s starting to feel that Texas will only go as far as Marcus Carr takes them. It also feels like Timmy Allen is less and less a part of the offense. Go back and look at the box scores when it felt like Texas was playing their best basketball and you’ll see Allen was either the leading scorer or No. 2. I don’t know if too much of the responsibility is on Carr but he needs some help and I’d like to see the staff get Allen more involved.
While we approach March Madness, the Longhorns will return to the football field next week as spring practices commence. What positional group will have your attention throughout the spring?
Daniel - Quarterback is the easy answer, but I’ll be watching the receivers and linebackers closely. Both groups added talented players via the high school ranks and the transfer portal and will have some very spirited competition this spring to see who will crack the starting rotation. Liona Lefau, Anthony Hill, and AD Mitchell are all names I will be keeping an eye on this spring to see how they acclimate to their new homes.
Gerald - Because Seahorn picked two, I will as well and say offensive line and safeties. While Kelvin Banks and Christian Jones were somewhere between good and elite all year last year, the interior of the offensive line left a lot to be desired. With Cole Hutson out with an injury, can DJ Campbell fully step into his five-star billing while competing with classmates Hayden Conner and Malik Agbo? Will Jake Majors continue to level up and hold down the center spot or will there be more competition in the middle? At safety, Anthony Cook is gone and Texas looked shaky at times at the back of the defense anyway in 2022. Will the addition of Jalen Catalon raise the standard at the back of the defense and help shore up what was sometimes the Achilles heel of an otherwise great defensive unit?
Cameron - Give me the skill positions. In the last few years, we have not had to worry about the running back position because of Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. In the words of Rick Pitino, they aren’t walking through the door anymore! Will Brooks or Blue step up? Or will it be the freshman Cedric Baxter? I’m also intrigued by the WR position because it kinda sucked last year. How healthy is Isaiah Neyor and will he truly change the offense?
I believe that ______ _______ will have a big spring this year because…
Daniel - DJ Campbell because he was starting to have the lightbulb flicker some in the fall and now he will have his first spring camp under Kyle Flood to really have a chance to make a leap in his development. Talent is not the issue and he has already shown as a true freshman that he has earned the trust of his position coach to get put in the game, so he just needs to get more reps and continue to get stronger.
Gerald - Quinn Ewers…because the standard in the wide receiver room has been raised. We’ve seen the ceiling of what Xavier Worthy can do, so hopefully, the rising tide in the WR room will raise his ship. Isaiah Neyor should be back from injury, Jordan Whittington is returning, and Texas added AD Mitchell and Johntay Cook making that group alone is lightyears better than the tools that Ewers and Sark had at their disposal a year ago. If a guy like Casey Cain can build on his bowl performance or Brennen Thompson can serve as a consistent backup in the slot, the passing game should look way better than it did a year ago. And I didn’t even mention Ja’Tavion Sanders, who is in a contract year after putting up one of the best seasons a tight end has had at Texas.
Cameron - Arch Manning becau- just kidding. I think Mo Blackwell will be a name we’ll hear a lot. With Overshown gone, Blackwell will see reps at linebacker and probably in the secondary. The addition of Jalen Catalon will likely mean Blackwell will see more reps at LB and I’m bullish on him after his strong performance during the second half of last season.