With the NCAA tournament just around the corner, it is time for teams to make final preparations for a strong finish. These are what I see as Texas' strengths and weaknesses.
First, they still don't have consistent play from their point guard. The most obvious fact that still haunts the Longhorns is that D.J. Augustin turned pro last year. If he had returned, there is no doubt in my mind that the Longhorns would be in the title hunt and mentioned in the same sentence as a team like North Carolina.
Dogus Balbay is definitely improving at the position, but his play is inconsistent when the Longhorns desperately need consistent play. Do not get me wrong, he is not the only reason for the struggles of the team. Most nights you will have one player step up and have a big night while the rest of the team seems to go through the motions.
Also, their free throw shooting is dismal at about 50 percent.
One of the biggest strengths of this Longhorn team is the play of A.J. Abrams. He is hands down one of the best shooting guards in the game right now. He currently holds the record for most three-point baskets in Big XII conference history.
If you give him an open three, even a contested shot, there is a really good chance that he will hit it and make you pay.
Another strength of this Longhorn team would have to be the play of Damion James. His shooting is much improved as is his rebounding, which was evident as he picked up his 13 double-double of the season against a stout Texas Tech team last night. His intensity and focus have also improved greatly from last year.
Obviously, like a fan of any team, I want to see my team go all the way and win it all. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen this year. I think that they will make it into the Sweet 16 and then lose in a close game where the scrappiness, skills, and luck of the team that has been there all season runs out, leaving them about five points short of the Elite 8.
But if this happens, Texas players should not get down on themselves. They did the best they could with what they had and made a good run. They should also look forward to next year with some really big recruits and a big-time transfer from the Gators coming in, which could mean 2010 is the Year of the Longhorns.
Hook 'em, Horns!
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