The last time the Longhorns’ basketball team won back-to-back games our calendars still read 2012. Yep, that is the kind of year Texas has had since the season began back in November. With little success up to this point and decreasingly less to play for, the excuses for the Longhorns to give up on what seems like a lost season are mounting. However, for the first time in a long time, there is a glimmer of hope in this Texas team. With point guard Myck Kabongo coming off of a 23-game suspension, forward Jonathan Holmes close to returning from a hand injury, and freshman DeMarcus Holland newly anointed as a starter, coach Rick Barnes will finally have some tools to work with. For the first time in what seems like forever, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Will Kabongo and Holmes be rusty? Surely. Can we expect Texas to go on a miracle run and sweep the rest of their Big 12 games? Of course not. However, in a season riddled with frustration and embarrassment, things are finally looking up, and that should not be ignored. On that note, here is a statistical look at some areas in which Kabongo, Holmes, and Holland’s presence should be felt immediately:
13 points scored by DeMarcus Holland in Texas’ 72-59 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday in what was the best game of his short career. Saturday marked the first time Holland topped 30 minutes of playing time in a single game, a trend that should continue now that he has been named a starter. If Holland can continue to put up points and provide Rick Barnes another scoring threat, Texas will instantly become a deeper, more versatile team.
11.7 assists per game for the Longhorns this year, good for 253rd in the nation. Although freshman Javan Felix has filled in admirably for Kabongo during his suspension with 5.5 assists per game, adding an additional ball-handler and NBA-caliber talent in Kabongo will give this point-starved Texas offense a much needed spark.
7.1 rebounds per game for Jonathan Holmes this year before he suffered an injury to his hand against Oklahoma. Considering no other Longhorn is averaging even five boards a game, it is clear Holmes is Texas’ best big man. He should instill a physical element that this team has sorely missed since he went out three weeks ago.
Zero: The number of victories the Longhorns have on the road this season. Considering four of their nine remaining Big 12 games will be played away from the Erwin Center, including three against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, it will be tough sledding from here on out for this struggling Texas team. If they want to avoid becoming the first team without a road victory in the Rick Barnes-era at Texas, the Longhorns will need to see strong performances from Kabongo, Holmes and Holland from here on out.