Texas Basketball: 2 studs, 1 dud from first week of the season

Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images) /
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Sir’Jabari Rice, Texas basketball
Sir’Jabari Rice, Texas basketball /

Throughout much of the first two games of the regular season, Texas basketball has looked the part of a top-25 ranked team in the preseason polls. Granted, head coach Chris Beard and his squad have yet to face a really tough test through the first couple of games of the season.

To open up the regular season, Beard and the Longhorns faced what looks to be an underrated UTEP Miners team out of Conference-USA at home at the Moody Center on Nov. 7. UTEP pushed Texas a good bit until some of the more prominent players started to take over down the stretch in the second half.

And then, the Longhorns found a lot more success in the second game of the season, dominating the Houston Christian Huskies at home at the Moody Center on Nov. 10 by the final score of 82-31. That was the biggest margin of victory for Texas in a men’s hoops game since the 2015-16 season when the Longhorns beat the UTSA Roadrunners by a whopping 66 points.

Hopefully, we’ll see the blowout win against Houston Christian last week give Texas some real confidence and momentum heading into the biggest non-conference game of the season on Nov. 16, when Beard’s squad hosts the No. 2 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs at home at the Moody Center.

Studs and duds from the first week of the season for Texas basketball

Here’s a look at two studs, and one dud, from the first week of the regular season for Texas men’s hoops.

Stud No. 1: Sir’Jabari Rice, SG

Among the new additions for the Longhorns, one of the most impressive to open up the regular season was definitely the former New Mexico State Aggies transfer shooting guard and senior Sir’Jabari Rice.

The three-time All-WAC guard/wing Rice was a force on both ends of the floor for the Longhorns to start the season. He’s giving Texas some much-needed floor spacing by shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc on six attempts total.

Rice is also playing some gritty and effective on-ball defense on the wing and the perimeter. Through the first two games of the season, Rice has an insane 68.7 defensive rating and 6.3 defensive box plus/minus.

Moreover, Beard and the Longhorns originally brought Rice in to partly fill the void left by the departed senior shooting guard/wing Andrew Jones. Texas lost a valuable two-way wing that could space the floor and play consistent defense on all positions between the one and the three.

And from what we’ve seen out of Rice in the first two games of the season, he’s doing all that and more. In fact, through the first two games of the season, Rice ranks second on the team in points per game (12.5), second in assists per game (2.5), and leads in three-point shooting percentage and total three-pointers made (three).

Rice has definitely surpassed expectations very early on in his time with the Longhorns.