2014 Texas Longhorns Predictions and NCAA Basketball Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/5/2014
The Texas Longhorns basketball program looked like it was in serious trouble a couple years ago. Rick Barnes was rumored to be out the door after the team's 16-18 finish in the 2012-13 season. Instead, the guys at the top decided to stick with Barnes and ride out the rough patch. Texas had an up-and-down season last year, but the Longhorns did pick up 24 wins and get to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. It was a marked improvement from two years ago.
Texas is clearly back on the right path, but the Longhorns haven't been past the Round of 32 since 2008, so there is still plenty of pressure to perform on Coach Barnes and this team. Every single player from last year's team is back this year, which is extremely rare in college basketball, and it should be a big boost to the program. The Longhorns are in some people's Top 10 as we head into the season. Expectations are quickly going up in Austin. Can the Longhorns live up to those expectations?
2014 Texas Key Losses & Additions
There were no losses at all from last year's team. Texas returns 100 percent of their scoring, rebounding, etc. from last year.
There are definitely some key additions to this team. Everyone wanted Myles Turner, so the fact that Texas was able to land him was a huge boost to this program. Turner wears a ridiculous size 21 shoe, and his late growth spurts have been nothing short of amazing. Little more than a year ago, Turner was a 6-foot-5 forward, but now he's 6-foot-11 and one of the bigger power forwards you'll see in the nation. Most NBA scouts think Turner will be so good that he can be a Top 5 NBA Draft choice after one year of school. The Longhorns obviously hope he stays around a little longer, but if he is as good as some expect, he'll take this Texas team to loftier heights quickly. Jordan Barnett is another very good freshman. If it weren't for Turner, more people would be talking about Barnett. His only problem is he is a bit of a "tweener." Barnett helped his team capture the Missouri state title last year when he exploded for 43 points in their overtime finals win. It's not exactly clear what his role will be yet, but he'll have one. He's a dynamic scorer that will force his way into the lineup.
2014 Texas Backcourt
Javan Felix will probably start at the beginning of the season, but Demarcus Holland will be right on his heels. Felix has the edge when it comes to experience and his offensive repertoire, but Holland is a terrific defender on the perimeter, and that's something that Barnes needs in a big way. Isaiah Taylor will start at the shooting guard spot, and he will have a much bigger role than he did last year. Taylor has loads of potential, and if he can get more consistent with his shot then he'll be a breakout star for Texas this year. The Longhorns backcourt depth was hurt when Martez Walker withdrew from Texas after a pair of offseason arrests. Kendel Yancy and Demarcus Croaker are two guys who were highly thought of as they came to Texas, but they were in Barnes' doghouse last year. Still, their tremendous amount of talent makes them potential breakout candidates.
2014 Texas Frontcourt
Turner is a freshman, but he'll be the main man in the post for Texas right away. His game is refined in the post, and the coaching staff has been happy with the progress made on his shot in recent months. Cameron Ridley hasn't developed quite as quickly as most expected, but he came up big for this team several times at the end of last season. Ridley lost weight before last year, and it clearly helped his game. I like his ability in the post, and he should be helped by having a force like Turner playing beside him. Don't overlook Ridley and his potential to have a big season. Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh will both be key contributors to the Longhorns down low as well. Lammert is a guy who can step outside and shoot it about as well as any big guy you'll see. Ibeh does all the dirty work for the team, and the coaching staff raves about his work ethic. Jonathan Holmes was a power forward last year, but he'll move to the small forward spot this year to allow for Turner to start. Holmes' versatility and his ability to lead the team make him an underrated star.
2014 Texas Futures Odds
Texas isn't quite listed among the favorites, but they have a price of +2000 to win the NCAA Championshipat BetOnline. The Longhorns are listed at +3,000 to win it all this year, according to odds from Sportsbook.ag.
2014 Texas Longhorns Predictions & NCAA Basketball Picks
I've never thought that Coach Barnes did a good job maximizing talent, so I'm not as high on the Longhorns as most people. There's no doubt the talent is here to have a special season, but that has been the case in previous seasons as well. Texas certainly has the potential to win some big games with this kind of star power, but I don't see them making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Texas will be improved but not improved enough to be a Top 10 team.
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