The preseason top ten ranked Texas Longhorns will open regular season play tonight with a 7 pm tip against Stetson. As best as I can tell, the game will not be on television but will be shown online at TexasSports.tv for Texas residents only. Visit the TexasSports.com preview for the link.
Rick Barnes' club returns four starters and loads of front court depth from last year's Elite Eight team. Texas will attempt to replace the lone departed starter, DJ Augustin, with a rotation of point guards. Justin Mason filled in nicely for DJ at the point last season in the brief moments where Augustin was able to rest; AJ Abrams returned to Texas for his senior season to better prepare himself for the NBA and is already proclaiming point guard to be his natural position; and Dogus Balbay will also spend time at the point after serving the final game of his 11 game suspension tonight. (The suspension stems from his time playing on a European team on which other players were paid. Balbay was never paid but the NCAA ruled his participation as a violation.)
I don't have time to break down the Stetson Hatters, but I do have few things I will be looking for tonight at the Drum. The answers to these questions will certainly not come in full this evening, however, how the Longhorns answer these questions throughout the season will be telling of their future success.
- Is Damion James 1st team All America?
- Can Dexter Pittman, Gary Johnson, or Clint Chapman emerge as a consistent back-to-the-basket offensive threat?
- Which of our three options at point guards can step up to assume the position full time?
- After two years of teasing, is Pittman finally ready to contribute on both ends?
- Will the Texas guards be able to defend against bigger and more physical opponents?
See you at the Drum.