Texas basketball vs. UTEP: 3 bold predictions for the season opener

Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images) /
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Jamari Sibley, Alfred Hollins
Jamari Sibley, Alfred Hollins /

Jamari Sibley posts a team-high 20 points for UTEP

The two players that could be the biggest threats to Texas from the UTEP side in the opener will probably be the former Evansville senior transfer guard Shamar Givance and the former Georgetown Hoyas junior forward Jamari Sibley.

UTEP loses its leading scorer from last season, with the 6-foot-3 redshirt senior guard Souley Boum transferring from the Miners to join the Xavier Musketeers during the offseason. Boum was nearly a 20-points-per-game scorer for the Miners last season and is a reigning All-C-USA First-Team guard.

Losing Boum to the NCAA Transfer Portal is clearly detrimental for the Miners.

But the loss of Boum means that the likes of Sibley and Givance will have to pick up the scoring pace for the Miners this season.

Sibley is going to give UTEP a solid inside scoring and mid-range presence. The 6-foot-8 and 200-pound forward is a former top-100 recruit nationally that possesses some scoring versatility as he’s got a formidable mid-range jump shot and has started to improve his stroke from three-point land (shooting around 35 percent last season).

Meanwhile, the 5-foot-10 Givance will be the primary facilitator for the Miners in the settled half-court offense. Givance is a smart and quick point guard that averaged around four assists per game in each of the last two seasons for Evansville.

I do believe Texas has the personnel to limit the effectiveness of Givance as he starts to get settled in with his new team. Led by senior guard Marcus Carr, sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter, and senior shooting guard Sir’Jabari Rice, Texas has plenty of capable perimeter defenders to deal with UTEP’s starting guards.

Yet, Texas is a little bit more questionable with its interior and wing defense. Texas can be prone to giving up some points from bigs that can score from multiple levels.