On a night when playing basketball was probably far more difficult to do than usual, the No. 7 Texas Longhorns took the floor and came away with a 87-81 overtime win over the Rice Owls.
Given the circumstances surrounding the program, I have just one overarching thought from Texas’ win over Rice.
The Chris Beard situation is clearly going to be a black cloud over the program until it’s resolved, and likely even for a while afterwards. News of Beard’s arrest for third-degree felony domestic violence surfaced this morning, and just about 12 hours later, the Longhorns had to take the floor at the Moody Center to host Rice. Unsurprisingly, Texas played its worst game of the season, looking out of sync, sloppy, undisciplined, etc. To be sure, Texas made just enough key plays in key moments to overcome adversity and win, but the Longhorns looked like a team whose mind wasn’t exactly on the game in front of them, and that was to be expected.
Now, the unfortunate reality is that the high-level program and roster and atmosphere that Chris Beard helped build and revitalize may suddenly not be his anymore, and that’s something this group of Longhorns is now tasked with carrying forward for the time being. And that will prove to be the case until there’s any finality regarding Beard’s future in Austin, and likely even beyond that. The Horns’ now-suspended head coach isn’t on those sidelines at present, and he might never be again.
There’s no real way to put a positive spin on that. But there’s a lot of season left to be played. Beard’s arrest and whatever the ultimate aftermath of that is going to impact this group of Longhorns, likely for the remainder of the season, even if he is miraculously allowed to remain in Austin.
But for now, the question becomes how will what’s now Rodney Terry’s Longhorns respond to some significant unforeseen adversity? So far, so good.