Texas Basketball vs. Gonzaga: 5 bold predictions for top-12 showdown

Drew Timme, Timmy Allen, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Timme, Timmy Allen, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /
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Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball
Tyrese Hunter, Texas basketball /

Tyrese Hunter scores a season-high 20 points

Texas has itself a big-game player when it nabbed the former Iowa State Cyclones standout freshman guard and the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Tyrese Hunter out of the NCAA Transfer Portal during the offseason. Hunter was the most impactful addition by way of the portal during the offseason for Beard and the Longhorns.

This matchup against Gonzaga will be the first real opportunity that Hunter has to make an impact on a high-stakes game as a Longhorn.

During his true freshman campaign at Iowa State, Hunter proved that he can handle the spotlight, and a little bit more.

According to Barttorvik, Hunter posted his best box plus/minus last season at Iowa State in top 50 quality games compared with any other grouping of matchups. Another stat that backs the idea that Hunter can handle the spotlight well is the split for his line in the NCAA Tournament. Hunter averaged more points per game, assists, steals, blocks, and fewer turnovers in the NCAA Tournament than he did during the regular season or in the Big 12 Tournament last season.

So, we know that Hunter has proven before that he can handle the spotlight well. Now, he has to prove that he can spark this Texas team against a top-two-ranked opponent in Gonzaga.

Moreover, Hunter’s season-high in scoring through the first two games came when he posted 18 points in the season-opening win over the UTEP Miners.

We saw Hunter score in double figures in the first two games of the season without him getting the three-ball going or getting to the free-throw line all that often. He did have six free-throw attempts against UTEP, but that’s still well short of where he could be given how much volume he could have on offense this season.

If Hunter is able to get the three-ball going or get to the charity stripe often (or both), then he could be in for a massive game against the Zags.

And given how Hunter is already averaging 1.6 points per field goal attempt, if he’s able to get the three-ball going and takes a double-digit number of attempts in this game, it’s definitely not out of the question that he puts up at least 20.