NCAA Bracket 2011 Predictions: 8 Reasons Texas Is Destined for a Championship
Here we are again everyone, the greatest month on the sporting calender: March. Home of bracket-busting Cinderella upsets and epic final-four clashes.
It doesn't get any more exciting than this. As the rabid fans hang on the edge of their seats, the guys at home clutch their brackets as they stare into the TV.
Now No. 1 seeds have won the last four tournaments. But that will all change this time around.
The one key to winning your bracket pool? Pick Texas
Though they had a rough back half of the season and are coming off a tough loss to Kansas, look for Texas to bounce back in a monumental way and win it all.
Here are 8 reason's why:
Jordan Hamilton is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated players in the tournament. He is the heart and soul of this Longhorn team and one of the most skilled guard-fforward hybrids in not just the Big 12, but the nation.
The 6' 7" sophomore put up an impressive 18.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for Texas. All while shooting 38 percent from downtown.
A versatile talent who can dominate in the paint and on the perimeter, look for Hamilton to lead the Longhorns to the title.
Texas will surely need him.
One key to the Longhorn's successes is their inside-outside offensive attack. The "inside" half is due in large part to freshman stud Tristan Thompson.
Standing at 6' 8" 225 Thompson racked up 13.3 points and snared 7.8 rebounds a game.
His athleticism and raw power are the perfect compliment to the likes of Jordan Hamilton and Cory Joseph on the perimeter.
In college basketball, coaches live and die by NCAA tournament appearances. Let's just say Rick Barnes has been at Texas for 13 years for a reason.
Coach Barnes has lead the Longhorn to the Big Dance in each of his seasons, including one Final Four and two Elite Eight appearances. He has also won the Big 12 Coach of the Year award on three occasions.
Clearly Texas has their man in Rick Barnes.
He gets his first title this season.
The Texas offensive attack functions smoothly, working by working the ball inside-out.
The key is the spacing of the floor which allows for quick passes and reversals of the basketball, all culminating in a bucket down low or an open jumper.
The personnel of Texas fits this system perfectly with athletic guards (Joesph, Balbay, etc) and versatile big men (Thompson.) The cohesion of the offense is a crucial element of what will propel Texas to a title.
When five guys come together on the defensive end of the court, sacrificing individual glory for the success of the team, it is a beautiful sight to behold.
Sliding over to take charges at the last possible nanosecond, robbing the passing lanes like bandits, and stuffing shots back down the throats of those who dare put up a weak shot in the paint.
Defense wins championships; and when you have a team that not only recognizes that, but embraces it, you have something special.
The Texas Longhorns, my friends, have it.
Allowing only 61.4 points a contest while holding opponents to 38.4 percent shooting, Texas' defense is stifling. According to kenpom.com (a basketball stats and analysis site, check it out) this squad is the third ranked defensive team in the nation.
Great defense is an invaluable component to an NCAA Tournament run.
Along with a solid defensive foundation, rebounding is another essential component of a team destined for a title.
Texas ranks fifth in the country, snaring an impressive 40.5 boards a contest.
Rebounding is one of those undervalued statistics in my opinion, the ability to control the boards is a powerful asset.
If Texas can stake out under the rim like they've been able to do all season, a championship is within their grasp.
Much like all the rebounds they pile up.
Hell hath no fury like a college basketball team scorned. This year the committee left a lot of teams out there scorned, including this Texas squad.
Expected to contend for a No. 3, or even potentially a No. 2, the Longhorns were snubbed by the committee and demoted to a No. 4.
Rick Barnes now has a potentially invaluable motivational tool at his disposal. If he can get his team into an us-against-the-world mentality, convince them that no one thinks they can make any noise come tournament time, he could create something truly ferocious.
A team of student-athletes in an absolute frenzy.
If Texas can channel this tourney snub into fuel to win, the rest of the bracket should watch out for the Longhorns.
Teams with strong veteran leadership tend to have a bit of an edge in the Big Dance. Texas has a proven floor leader in Dogus Balbay.
Though his stats (4.1 points, 2.2 assists) don't leap off the box score, Balbay is an integral part of the Texas system.
A classic glue guy, Balbay provides a calm head of leadership under pressure, handles the rock effectively, and makes very few mistakes.
Guys like these are huge boosts to your team, and a dying breed in college basketball.
Texas Will Win It All
Believe it or not, Texas can flat out play.
Vastly underrated and shorted by the committee the Longhorns have all the pieces to contend for a title.
27-7 and without a single bad loss on the schedule.
The fourth best team in the nation according to aforementioned kenpom.com
This is the year Rick Barnes gets his long-awaited NCAA Championship.