2011 NCAA Tournament: Scouting The Field: Texas Longhorns
How good are the Texas Longhorns?
After Texas dismantled in-state rival Texas A&M for the second time this season by a score of 69-49, Texas A&M coach Mike Turgeon gave the Longhorns and coach Rick Barnes a glowing endorsement.
"I told Rick if they keep improving and stay healthy they can win a national championship," Turgeon said. "I haven't said that about many teams. I said that about Kansas the year they won it. I've been doing this 24 years and I haven't seen many teams as good as Texas."
If that isn't enough to state how good this team is, just ask ESPN's Joe Lunardi. In Lunardi's most recent Bracketology column, he moved the Longhorns all the way up to a one seed in his projections. To top it all off, Texas was voted the third-best team in the country in both the AP Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. As far as the voters are concerned, they are right on the heels of number one Ohio State and number two Kansas.
At 18-3, Texas holds big wins over No. 23 North Carolina, No. 16 Texas A&M, No.14 Missouri, and they handed No. 2 Kansas their only loss of the season at Kansas. The Longhorns stand at the top of the Big 12 with a 7-0 record in a conference that currently fields four teams ranked in the top 25 and 11 of 12 teams with records over .500. The Longhorns are currently ranked in the top 100 in the country in almost every statistical category. Currently they are 39th in points per game, 6th in rebounds per game, and 58th in field goal percentage.
Texas has one of the most balanced offenses in the country with four players scoring in double figures. Sophomore Jordan Hamilton leads the way with 19 points a game. Hamilton has been dominant from three-point range. He averages almost 42 percent from outside the arc. Freshman Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph are having outstanding years for the Longhorns with 12.8 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Senior Gary Johnson has been a great leader for the team with 11.4 points per contest.
The Longhorns have a very young team, but that hasn't stopped them from being one of the most dominant teams in the country. If Texas can keep this pace going, they could be a national title contender for years to come. While Ohio State may be stealing most of the national attention at the moment, the Longhorns look to walk away with the title in 2011.
Up Next: Big East: Pittsburgh
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