Texas Basketball vs. Northern Arizona: 3 bold predictions

Arterio Morris, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Arterio Morris, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /
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Timmy Allen, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Timmy Allen, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

A hot Texas basketball team under head coach Chris Beard will be looking to stay undefeated on the season as they get ready to open up the Leon Black Classic on Nov. 21. No. 11 ranked Texas will start off the Leon Black Classic this week by facing the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in a neutral site game in Edinburg, TX.

The Leon Black Classic will feature two games on the docket for the Longhorns in celebration of the late former Texas player and assistant coach.

Beard and the Longhorns are coming off that huge 93-74 win at home at the brand new Moody Center in Austin on Nov. 16 over head coach Mark Few and the No. 2 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs. That win over Gonzaga moved Texas to a mark of 3-0 (0-0 Big 12) on the season.

Texas will have its shot to move to 4-0 on the season in a winnable contest against Northern Arizona to start off the week in the Leon Black Classic. Northern Arizona comes into this one with a record of 2-3 (0-0 Big Sky) following a nine-point win over UC-Santa Barbera on Nov. 18.

The ESPN Basketball Power Index gives Texas a 95.2 percent chance of beating Northern Arizona. As long as Texas doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, it should stay undefeated to start the Leon Black Classic.

Bold predictions for No. 11 Texas basketball to open the Leon Black Classic vs. Northern Arizona

Here’s a look at three bold predictions for the Leon Black Classic on Nov. 21 between Texas and Northern Arizona in Edinburg.

Arterio Morris has his breakout game this season

Although we’ve seen flashes from him this season, the Texas faithful is still waiting to see the former elite five-star recruit and uber-talented true freshman guard Arterio Morris breakout.

We saw Morris have a huge game for Texas in the preseason win in a charity game against the talented and young Arkansas Razorbacks, where he registered 19 points. Morris was also solid in Texas’ dominant 51-point win over the Houston Christian Huskies on Nov. 10, where he scored in double figures for the first time in his career.

But Morris barely eclipsed double figures in points in the win over Houston Christian with 10. It would be nice to see him get at least a dozen points in one of these more advantageous and winnable non-conference outings like this one against Northern Arizona.

Moreover, the Texas backcourt matches up well against Northern Arizona’s smaller point guards. Starting point guard Jalen Cone and backup freshman point guard Oakland Fort both stand shy of 6-foot. The Northern Arizona point guards have struggled at times this season to match up defensively against some of the more capable and athletic floor generals that are at least a few inches taller than them.

Northern Arizona likes to play tough man-on-man defense, leaving little room for error at times on-ball on the perimeter. Morris will have his chance to blow by some of the Northern Arizona point guards in this game.

And if Texas can get a big early lead on the Lumberjacks, we could see Morris getting north of 20 minutes on the floor for the second time this season. That would make for a real opportunity for him to break out offensively in this game.