The University of Texas has had two players drafted in the top ten the past two seasons, but we have seen no real success coming out of Austin during that time. This season is different though and the Longhorns have jumped out to an 11-2 record, the 5th seed in the AP rankings, and marquee victories over Kansas and UNC.
The Three Top Guards
The Texas Longhorns have three experienced guards that can each take over a game or hit a game winning shot. Andrew Jones, Matt Coleman, and Courtney Ramey pose threats anywhere on the floor. They can each shoot, score off the dribble, and make good decisions with the ball which is essential to any backcourt. Each of these players are averaging double digit points, and Ramey and Coleman are each averaging 4 assists per game. The Texas offense runs through these three players, and for good reason. Each has the ability to score and pass, and that is why Shaka Smart trusts his big three guards so much. What is also important is that each player fits so well together, and none of them complain about playing from the corner for a few plays and they each lift each other up. We have never seen the full extent of these guards due to health issues, and the fact that most of the offense ran through the star centers the past couple of seasons. Now that each guard is comfortable and healthy, we are seeing one of the best Texas teams in a while.
While this Texas frontcourt does not have a top tier name such as Jaxson Hayes or Mo Bamba, they do have solid contributors that complement the guards. Greg Brown is a Freshman forward that is already showing so much potential. There have been a couple games where he was heating up on the offensive end, 24 points against OKST, but he is a solid defender and leads the team in rebounds. Another young star on the Texas frontcourt is Kai Jones, who is a lengthy sophomore forward at 6’ 11”. Jones has been averaging a solid 8.5 ppg, and while he might not have scoring explosions like Brown he is still a solid contributor on both sides of the floor. The last one of the Texas frontcourt trio is the senior Jericho Sims. He has been scoring in double digits over the past 3 games, and gives Texas a center who can protect the basket and work in the pick and roll with Coleman and the other guards. While this side of Texas is not as flashy as the guards, they still get the job done and serve as a perfect compliment to the backcourt.
Shaka Smart seems to have everything figured out, and after wins against Kansas and West Virginia this team sits 2nd in the Big 12. The Longhorns are still set to face Baylor on February 2nd in their hardest matchup yet, but if they can keep it close or sneak out a win then they can all but be guaranteed one of the number one seeds in March Madness.
Top Image: TexasBasketball/Wescott Eberts