Texas Basketball: National Title Contenders in 2021-22
This is probably very obvious to those of you who have paid attention, but it bears repeating. The Texas Longhorns are legitimate contenders for the national title this season.
When we last saw Texas Basketball, they were getting ousted from the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Shaka Smart’s run with the Longhorns ended with zero March Madness victories. Smart left for the Marquette job, leaving a vacancy in Austin. That’s when major dominoes started falling. Chris Beard, the prolific head coach for Texas Tech, left Lubbock for the Texas opening. Beard has won everywhere he’s been, even reaching the national championship game with the Red Raiders in 2019.
Texas Went Nuclear In the Transfer Portal
Chris Beard’s entrance got things moving in the transfer portal for Texas Basketball. The Longhorns added the following players through transfer:
- Devin Askew from Kentucky
- Christian Bishop from Creighton
- Tre Mitchell from UMass
- Dylan Disu from Vanderbilt
- Timmy Allen from Utah
- Marcus Carr from Minnesota
- Avery Benson from Texas Tech
The Longhorns also return two major contributors from last year’s team in Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey. In all, Texas will have seven players on their roster who averaged double digits last year. Seven. The amount of firepower they accumulated through the transfer portal should not be overlooked.
Concerns for Texas Basketball
The primary concern raised regarding Texas Basketball entering this season is how they will divvy up touches on the court. I don’t think this is a totally invalid concern. There won’t be infinite shots to go around – some guys might feel slighted if they aren’t getting what they consider to be a fair amount of squeezes. First of all, this is a really good problem to have. It’s much better than having a team where you have no clue who’s going to score the ball. The Longhorns have seven guys who can be trusted to get buckets. Secondly, Chris Beard is definitely the right coach to sort all that out. I don’t think the on-court fit is as big of a concern as some have made it out to be. Texas have an elite roster and elite coach. It’s almost as simple as that.
Texas Projects to Be Elite
Texas are firmly within the upper tier of a competitive Big 12 conference. This should help them come tournament time, but it’s also a double-edged sword in that their margin for error isn’t very big. They will need to be good right out the gate to reach their expectations. I think they will be.
At the end of the day, this Longhorns squad is good enough to make up for the disappointments of the past. There aren’t many programs that can boast the combination of a great coach and a great roster. We still have over a month until the 2021-22 season starts, but Texas should be among the title favorites.
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