b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Monday, November 08, 2004

Longhorns: Hitting the Hardwood 

Since TJ Ford electrified the Forty Acres by carrying the Longhorns to the Sweet Sixteen in 2001-02, many Orangebloods have openly discussed the possibility that Texas basketball might be closer to winning a national title than Texas football.

TJ's long gone, but coach Rick Barnes has himself a recruiting class this season that might just be the best since Michigan rode the Fab Five to the 1992 NCAA championship game. Texas, picked to finish third in the Big XII this year, begins exhibition play tomorrow night at home, before opening the regular season next Friday (complete schedule here).

I'm by no means a hardcore hoops guy, but there's no denying that Barnes has quietly put together an outstanding basketball program here at Texas. Even after losing four seniors from last season's Sweet Sixteen team -- Royal Ivey, Brandon Mouton, James Thomas and Brian Boddicker -- the Horns look set to make another run this year.

With a relatively young squad, Barnes will have to rely on streaky, yet talented vets like Brad Buckman and Jason Klotz to hold the team together while the freshman mature. I figure, though, that by the end of the year, Daniel Gibson, LaMarcus Aldrige and Mike Williams will have the Horns among the best in the country.

Predictions mean little at this point, but I'll make one anyway. I'm guessing that the Horns win about 23 regular season games and advance to the Elite Eight in March. Maybe I can come back the first week of April and apologize for selling Coach Barnes and his team short.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?