Big man Cameron Ridley has been the unsung hero for the Texas Longhorns all season long. Big 12 Coach of the Year Rick Barnes built his team with interior dominance in mind, with Ridley as the foundation. That would pay off as the most important moment of Texas’ season became a layup Ridley rattled in at the buzzer against Arizona State to keep the Longhorns dancing.
Coming off of a 17-point, 12-rebound and four-block performance in his last outing, Texas will rely heavily of the post presence of Ridley, just as they did against Arizona State. This won’t sit favorably with John Beilein and his Michigan Wolverines, who have struggled with opposing big men all season. Ridley will undoubtedly be the most dominant the Wolverines have faced this season.
For Texas to pull the upset of No. 2 seed Michigan, Isaiah Taylor, Javan Felix and the rest of the Longhorns’ supporting cast will have to put the ball in Ridley’s hands and let him cause havoc in the paint from the starting tip. In the Arizona State game, Texas went on a stretch where they just couldn’t find a way to get the sophomore center the ball and the offense suffered as a result. The Sun Devils capitalized on that and wiped out a 14-point lead and nearly taking Texas to overtime.
The great basketball mind that of Barnes will learn from this and knowing the size advantage the Longhorns have on Michigan, they will feed Ridley in the low-post throughout the entirety of the game. That is why Texas will advance to the Sweet 16 this evening.