Kevin Durant is ready for his Longhorns to get back into the upper echelon again.
“As far as trash talking is concerned, I had to stay quiet for a year,” the Texas-ex said Friday, on campus for a ceremony for his $3 million donation to the basketball program and school. “But there’s going to be time I’m going to be able to talk with nobody interrupting me.”
If Texas is going to climb back into the Big 12 conversation, the Longhorns must keep winning on the road. So far, they’re off to a 3-0 start in true road games this season, a far different outlook from last year’s 0-11 mess away from the Erwin Center.
Saturday brings about another road challenge — a 1 p.m. date with Baylor (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) at the Ferrell Center. Whatever the Longhorns (10-4, 1-1) have been doing on these road trips, they should stick with it.
RELATED: Preview: Texas at Baylor
Texas hit seven 3-pointers in road wins against Virginia Commonwealth and Alabama. Then junior forward Dylan Osetkowski hit seven himself and Texas hit a season-high 13 total at Iowa State on New Year’s Day.
The Longhorns shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range in those three road games. On the season as a whole, UT is shooting 29.2 percent beyond the arc.
“I think those three road wins are just a testament to us as a program and the way we go about our mindset on the road,” Osetkowski said. “Being able to learn from last year in how we did on the road has been very helpful to us. That allows us to go on the road and perform well.”
Texas’ only win outside the Erwin Center last year came against Texas Tech in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. So technically, that was a neutral-site affair.
Smart and the coaching staff spent tremendous time this offseason talking about playing better on the road. “When you go on the road, there are certain things you’ve got to deal with that you don’t deal with when you’re at home,” Smart said. “There’s a little bit more of a bunker mentality.”
The Longhorns certainly had plenty of time to practice outside of Cooley Pavilion. They went to Australia for a four-game exhibition trip. Then UT had preseason scrimmages at SMU and another one against LSU in Houston. Texas went back to Houston for an exhibition game against Texas A&M to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
Neutral-site games against Duke and Gonzaga during non-conference play weren’t true barometers. That’s what made UT’s 71-67 win at VCU so impressive. It was a real hornets’ nest.
“All of that was away from home,” Smart said. “But at the end of the day, the same things go into winning. You don’t want your guys to over-complicate it. Being tough and gritty on defense wins at home; it wins on the road.”
The Longhorns are likely to be without guard Andrew Jones, who is suffering from an undisclosed illness. A flu bug is tearing through the campus at the moment, too. His fractured right wrist injury, which kept him out of four games in December, is no longer an issue, Smart said.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post Texas headed to Baylor to put 3-0 road mark to the test in Big 12 matchup appeared first on Hook ‘Em.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.