Next Up: Texas 2023 vs. San Diego State 2023
However, the fun part of simulations is wondering “what if?” In this case a Texas Longhorns team that finished 2nd in by far the best regular season conference in 2023 (the Big 12) including destroying regular season Kansas both in the season finale and the conference title game had not lost one of the hottest players on the planet in Dylan Disu.
During the last six games of the season he averaged hitting 7 of 10 shots and had a 140 offensive rating against elite competition, and for the season he was in the top 2 percent of all shot blockers and ranked as a top offensive and defensive rebounder. The game after he went down the Longhorns lost to Miami and you must wonder if Disu would have taken them to the Final Four.
Texas with Dylan Disu (circled card) was a national contender, and we have the team as a 6-point favorite against national finalist San Diego State at full strength. Like many modern centers, he played close to half the game, but in his last six games before the injury average 7 of 10 from the floor with a 140 Offensive Rating at www.kenpom.com. He was also nationally ranked in offensive and defensive rebounding and in the top 2% of all shot blockers despite playing in the toughest conference in the country during the 2023 regular season.
Its not that Christian Bishop wasn't a strong center as well once Disu went down, its that both are only at full strength for close to half a game, so with Disu out you either need to play Christian fatiqued (all dice rolls adjust one against a fatigued player) or you bring in non-centers on a team that had almost no offensive rebounding when either of those two were not in.
If you look at San Diego State's cards for this game, you notice in the Stamina and suggested possessions played at the bottom of each card that all 10 players play closest to half a game. Unlike St. Peter's magical run the year before in which they became the lowest ranked team to ever make a Final Four (102nd), San Diego was a legit top 30 team all year and finished 15th at www.kenpom.com. That is just good enough that you are close enough to pull out a couple of close games, which they did with back-to-back 1-point wins against Florida Atlantic and Creighton - so the argument between fans and nerds over whether that means they were clutch or lucky.
This makes for a nice "what if Texas was healthy?" game.
Despite them being strong and going further in the tournament, at full strength with Disu playing the Longhorns go in as a favorite in this game. The Longhorns are also the only team with any chance to pass 2023 UConn for the top seed in the next round. But they would basically have to win this game by 20 or more points to move into 1st in the rankings of teams in this tournament.