Texas defense smothers Xavier, Horns to face Miami in Elite Eight
Many Texas fans feared for the worst as Dylan Disu limped off the court a few minutes into the game on Saturday night. The big man had been the star of the postseason run for the Longhorns but was unable to give it go after suffering a foot injury during practice. 38 minutes of game action later, and Texas had barely missed a beat, cruising past Xavier 83-71 to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight. Here are some thoughts and takeaways
With Disu limited, the Longhorns leaned heavily on Christian Bishop. The Kansas City area native tuned in his biggest performance of the season, scoring 18 points and grabbing 9 rebounds despite battling foul trouble for much of the evening. Speaking of foul trouble, Jabari Rice and Marcus Carr also spent much of the first half with 2 fouls but were able to battle through to make big contributions. Carr matched Bishop's 18 points and Rice scored 16 of his own. The duo combined to go 13 of 26 from the field, including 3 of 5 from deep. Tyrese Hunter played his best game in months on both ends of the floor. The Iowa State transfer scored a team high 19 points and played a key role on the defensive end of the floor. For the third straight game, Texas held one of the best offensive teams in the country mostly in check. Xavier finished the game shooting 44% from the field and only surpassed the 70 point mark thanks to some wide open looks late as Texas looked to run out the clock. With Disu's injury and iffy available for Sunday's game against Miami, Texas will need Dillon Mitchell and Arterio Morris to raise the level of their games. The freshman duo combined for 24 minutes last night, but had 0 points and only 4 combined rebounds. Mitchell in particular is going to need to give the Longhorns quality minutes with Bishop being the only other player above 6'6 on the roster. Miami will offer another stiff test for Texas, as the Hurricanes knocked off #1 seed Houston on Friday evening. Miami is led by a trio of guards that averages 13 points or more. That group includes Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack. Forward Norchad Omier is averaging a double-double for the season (13 points and 10 rebounds).