AP Rank: 21
Standing at 9-2, the Longhorns don’t have any bad losses with their lone two losses coming to UConn and Marquette, respectively.
On the other hand, the Longhorns have no resume-building wins, meaning they will enter Big 12 play with zero Quadrant 1 and Quadrant 2 victories.
Despite being ranked 21st in the country in the latest AP Top 25, Rodney Terry’s club finds themselves with a NET ranking of 67 and a KenPom ranking of 38 -- all of which are far behind their AP Ranking.
To make matters just a bit worse, according to BracketMatrix (a site that combines different bracketology into an average seed), Texas stands as just a nine seed. ESPN Joe Lundardi’s recent bracket has the Longhorns as one of the last four in the tournament whereas a few bracketologists don’t even have Longhorns in the field at all.
Is this the new 2017-2018 Saint Mary’s?
Although I tend to be a bit more optimistic about the Longhorns largely due to the emergence of Dylan Disu -- who played in his first game of the season just over a week ago after dealing with a foot injury -- there is no denying that the lack of marquee wins is the reason for their middling metrics.
Wins over Incarnate Word, Delaware State and Houston Christian don’t prove much, and scraping by Louisville thanks to a Max Abmas buzzer-beater in the Madison Square Garden is more of a testament to avoiding a bad loss than anything else.
Abmas (17.7 Pts, 3.0 Reb, 4.3 Ast), the team’s leading scorer, has put up strong numbers and Dillion Mitchell’s decision to return to Austin for his sophomore year looks every bit like the right decision as he nearly averages a double-double (11.6 Pts, 9.7 Reb) for the Longhorns. Tyrese Hunter (11.7 Pts, 2.6 Reb, 4.3 Ast) has also become far more efficient this year, increasing his field goal percentage from 39.4% to 47%.
Replacing Marcus Carr, Timmy Allen and the dazzling shot fakes of Sir’Jabari Rice was never going to be easy. Although the Longhorns have a far way to go metrics-wise, there will be plenty of opportunities to grab resume-building wins.
Maybe I’m too much of an optimist, but I trust the Longhorn’s upside to grab enough victories to earn a solid seed in March.