Texas Basketball: Evaluating 3 scorching hot players ahead of Big 12 play

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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Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

Outside of the Big 12/SEC Challenge game against the Tennessee Volunteers in a couple of months, No. 6 Texas basketball and acting head coach Rodney Terry wrapped up the non-conference slate earlier this week by downing the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions. Texas won its fifth consecutive game to head into the conference slate on a high note by convincingly downing Texas A&M-Commerce on Dec. 27 by the final score of 97-72.

Terry and the Longhorns are scorching hot on the offensive end of the floor heading into conference play. In the last two games, the Longhorns have put up a whopping 197 points.

Texas will be looking to parlay that offensive momentum into a solid start to Big 12 play. Terry and the Longhorns open up the Big 12 slate on Dec. 31 on the road in Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners. The non-conference slate gets off to a fast start against a solid Oklahoma team on the road, followed by a challenging test at home against an upstart Kansas State Wildcats squad.

Texas will head into the Big 12 slate this coming weekend with a record of 11-1 (0-0 Big 12). If the Longhorns want to keep this momentum headed in the right direction with the start of conference play just around the corner, Texas will need some of the hottest players to stay so in the next few weeks.

Marcus Carr and the red-hot Texas basketball players heading into Big 12 play

Here’s a look at an analysis of three scorching-hot Longhorns players heading into Big 12 play.

Dillon Mitchell, F

While some of the counting stats that the former elite five-star recruit and true freshman forward Dillon Mitchell posted in the last few games won’t blow many people away, the advanced metrics do a nice job illustrating his impact on both ends of the floor throughout the last month. And if you remove the four-point performance in the win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on Dec. 21, you get a pretty solid month of December all things considered for Mitchell.

He only got a fraction of his usual playing time, though, in the win over Louisiana last week.

In the month of December, Mitchell is averaging around nine points per game, five rebounds, one assist, one steal, and one block. And he’s cut most of the mistakes out of his game in terms of untimely turnovers and bad shots. According to Barttorvik, Mitchell made nearly double the number of shots beyond three-feet from the rim in December compared to November, which is a good sign for where his offensive pull-up game is trending.

But the most encouraging part about where Mitchell’s game is headed showed up in the win over Texas A&M-Commerce. He was solid on both ends of the floor, putting up a career-high 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field, along with five rebounds, one block, and no turnovers.

That was good for Mitchell to post a stellar box plus/minus north of 10.0, which was the highest for him in three games. It’s also worth noting that Mitchell scoring in the double figures against Texas A&M-Commerce earlier this week puts him above 10 points in three of the last five games, his best streak of the season i terms of scoring.