2007 Texas Longhorns Basketball Preview
The Texas Longhorns (25- 10 overall, 12- 4 Big 12) finished third in the conference and were included in the March Madness brackets for the ninth year straight. In the second round of the tournament, the Longhorns lost to USC 87- 68. Coach Rick Barnes (216- 86 Big 12, 418- 220 overall in 20 years), who has consistently guided his team to winning seasons, has to get to the tournament again this year without his primary weapon—Kevin Durant (25.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG). In his first and only college season, Durant, who was the second pick overall in this year’s NBA draft, was the NCAA Player of the Year.
Texas lead the league in foul shooting, hitting .736% of their frees. They were fifth in threes, knocking in a solid .389%. First in scoring in the Big 12 and sixth nationally, putting up 81.7 PPG, the Longhorns had trouble stopping opponents from scoring as they allowed 72.2 PPG, putting them 10th in the conference and 252nd in the country. Defense is needed for this team to get deep into NCAA March Madness in 2007- 2008.
Freshman forward Gary Johnson looked to be a shoe-in to start but a heart condition has made him a question mark and opened up the frontcourt, and the NCAA point spreads, for others. Freshman F/C Alexis Wangmene is a fine shot blocker, while frosh Clint Chapman can hit from the inside and outside. Sophomore center Dexter Pittman (2.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 60.4 FG%), who has made an extreme effort to get into shape, dropping over 90 pounds, has the potential to be a tough defensive force and a reliable scorer.
In the backcourt, sophomore point guard D.J. Augustin (14.4 PPG, 6.7 APG, 44.9 FG%) and junior shooting guard A.J. Abrams (15.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 39.7 FG%) will be the starters. Both are top players.
Barnes is one of the best coaches in the Big 12, but with his frontcourt a big question mark, everyone wonders if he can put a winner on the court this season. The Longhorns are one of five teams nationally to make it to the Sweet 16 four of the past six years. For a Texas team to have a successful season, that’s the least that’s expected. There’s certainly talent, but the lack of experience could hinder the Longhorns’ success in the March Madness bracket.