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Texas Longhorns

by Curtis Claassen | March 14th, 2010

Good wins: Texas A&M, Pittsburgh (neutral), Michigan State (neutral), Oklahoma State (twice)

Bad losses: at Connecticut, at Oklahoma 

Strengths

Scoring: One problem that the Longhorns do not have is putting the ball in the basket. Texas scored 81.2 points per game in the regular season and has have a number of weapons and athletic players. Senior Damion James averaged a double-double in the regular season (18 points, 10.4 rebounds). Freshman Avery Bradley was second in scoring (11.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists). Along with James, Dexter Pittman made up a formidable low-post game. Pittman averaged 10.6 and 5.8 rebounds. The Longhorns as a team are very good on the glass, averaging 44.8 rebounds per game. 

Weaknesses

No true identity: Pittman and James are the Longhorns’ two low-post players. Besides those two players, no one else on the team has a true position. The biggest problem with Texas’ struggles this season has been that players do not know their roles. After point guard Dogus Balbay went down with a season-ending injury, the identity problem has become worse.

Balbay led the team with 3.9 assists but since his injury, the Longhorns haven’t shared the ball particularly well. The next highest assist total during the regular season was J’Covan Brown, who averaged 2.4 per game. Freshmen Jordan Hamilton and Bradley are very athletic and have great potential, but they never found their true positions this season. Their struggles are apparent by their field-goal percentages. Bradley shot 43.9 percent from the field, while Hamilton shot 40.8. 

Other factors: It seems like years since Texas was ranked No. 1 in the country back in January. It is safe to say that the Longhorns may be the most disappointing team in the nation this season, considering their best two players in James and Pittman are seniors. Th team had some good wins this season, specifically against Pittsburgh and Michigan State, but those came before Christmas. The Longhorns had two bad losses at Connecticut and at Oklahoma. They will probably be a seven or eight seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

NCAA Tournament Prediction: First Round. Texas is 5-5 in its last 10 games and it doesn’t look like their play is improving heading into the tournament. The Longhorns definitely can win a game but the Sweet 16 is a stretch. This team just hasn’t been able to put it together all season and the lack of a true point guard hurts a lot.

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