The Texas Longhorns may have been the most disappointing team in all of college basketball last year.
On Jan. 16 of last season, this team was ranked No. 1 in the country and had a flawless 17-0 record.
They would then proceed to lose 10 of their last 17 games and finish at 24-10. The Longhorns then went on to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Wake Forest.
The Texas coaching staff says poor team chemistry was largely to blame for last season’s massive collapse. The Longhorns had a great recruiting class last year and they have another very good one this year.
So they should have plenty of young talent to be competitive in the Big 12 this year.
Texas Longhorns College Basketball: Offseason Changes
When a team that had such high expectations falls apart at the end of the year, offseason changes aren’t such a bad thing.
The biggest loss from last year’s team is forward Damion James. James led them in most statistical categories and was a hard-nosed player.
Dexter Pittman was a load down low, and he has now moved on as well.
Justin Mason was the third senior who graduated from last year’s squad. Avery Bradley left after his freshman year, and he will definitely be missed.
What about the new blood coming in to the Texas program?
Interestingly, Texas signed only two players for the 2010 recruiting class. The good news is both of the freshmen who will be on this year’s team are five-star recruits.
Cory Joseph is a 6'3" point guard that has a great knowledge of the game, as well as a strong will to win. Joseph is also a very good shooter and a lockdown defender.
Tristan Thompson is a 6'9" big man with amazing athleticism. He runs the floor exceptionally well, and is definitely a high-flyer.
Joseph and Thompson have played on the same team for many years now, so they have a terrific chemistry with each other.
Texas Longhorns College Basketball Predictions: Outlook
The Texas Longhorns will need several players to step up and fill in for the losses of Bradley, James, Mason and Pittman.
Jordan Hamilton will be a sophomore this year, and many are expecting a huge year from him. He has the ability to score in bunches, and his 6'7" frame makes him a mismatch for many shooting guards.
Coach Barnes and his staff are looking for Hamilton to become a leader on this team this year. J’Covan Brown and Jai Lucas are talented backcourt players that should see increased minutes this year.
The backcourt at Texas is fairly deep, but they could have some issues down low. Thompson will make an impact immediately, but they’ll need some other guys to help him out.
Gary Johnson is a solid contributor that will get a lot of playing time this year. He plays hard and is a solid rebounder.
Clint Chapman and Alex Wangmene will both be counted on down low. However, they have quite a bit of improving to do before they match up well in the Big 12.
Texas Longhorns College Basketball Odds
The Texas Longhorns are certainly not a national title contender this year, and the books understand that.
Texas is currently listed at +3,000 to win the NCAA Championship this year. Texas is accustomed to being a favorite in the Big 12, but college basketball handicappers have them listed at just 4-1 to win the Big 12 this year.
Texas Longhorns Basketball Schedule
Texas will be young this year, and they will be tested early and often because of their extremely difficult nonconference schedule.
The Longhorns will go on the road to North Carolina and Michigan State in consecutive games in the middle of December. The Big 12 will be a good league this year, and Texas must finish the regular season on the road against Baylor on March 5.
Texas College Basketball Predictions and Picks
This Texas team will be full of talent in the backcourt, but the frontcourt will be much weaker than normal.
The inexperience of this team will certainly show this year. I expect this team to struggle most of the year, but they will likely surprise some teams along the way because of their athleticism.
I think Texas will be on the bubble on Selection Sunday this year.