Texas: Momentum Heading Into Conference Play Is Important


The Texas Longhorns are off to a good start and their momentum will be key as conference play approaches.

The Texas Longhorns knew they would be in for a big change in the 2015-16 season when head coach Rick Barnes was fired and former VCU head coach, Shaka Smart, was brought to Austin. As a result of the change made, point guard Isaiah Taylor decided to stick around for another year and Texas automatically became a more popular destination for recruits.

With that being said, the Horns still had reliable options such as center Cameron Ridley and guard Javan Felix returning for their Senior seasons and that has helped them so far. Here’s a look at their results through just eleven games:

  • Loss to Washington, 77-71
  • Win over Texas A&M CC, 67-56
  • Loss to No. 25 Texas A&M, 84-73
  • Win over Washington, 82-70
  • Loss to Michigan, 78-72
  • Win over UT-Arlington, 80-73
  • Win over Samford, 59-49
  • Win over UTSA, 116-50
  • Win over No.3 UNC, 84-82
  • Win over Appalachian St., 67-55
  • Win over Stanford, 75-73

That adds up to 8-3 and a six-game winning streak heading into the Christmas break and the schedule shows a few good signs for the Horns.

First, they are taking care of the teams that they are supposed to take care of. The loss to Washington was made up with a win roughly two weeks later. Also, the loss to Michigan is not as bad as it seems considering the fact that they are 9-3.

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Second, they are winning close games that come down to the wire. In two of their closest games of the season (UNC and Stanford), the Horns were able to grind out wins late in the game and hit buzzer-beaters. That’s something every tournament-level team needs to have experience with if they plan on making a deep run.

Third, they have managed to put together a win streak of six and counting after some inconsistency early on in the season. By taking that into account, it is obvious that the Horns have formed some chemistry and they’re going to need that once their season kicks back up again on Dec. 29th.

They will face off against UConn and then start the long stretch of conference play. At the moment, there are five teams from the Big 12 that are ranked: Kansas (2), Oklahoma (3), Iowa St. (11), West Virginia (19) and Baylor (23). Plus other teams like Texas Tech and Kansas St. have better records than Texas.

Though the games against all of those opponents will be hard, the Longhorns will have some experience playing against elite teams. Their win over North Carolina earlier in the season was a major step in the process of becoming relevant in the Big 12 again and it was the first signature win of Shaka Smart’s career in Austin.

That six-game win streak that the Longhorns are currently on needs to be extended to a seven-game win streak after they play UConn to ensure that they are fully prepared. The key to having success once conference play comes around is building momentum and working to extend it throughout the season.

Next: Cameron Ridley Has Elevated His Game

The Horns already have their momentum right now and it will be important for them to take care of business again since their first conference game will be against Texas Tech in Lubbock.

Though the Horns will face a tough task in the next few months, it won’t be impossible for them to find success. They are rolling right now if they continue to play by keeping Isaiah Taylor and Cameron Ridley as their focal points on offense, their momentum will take them to greater heights.