Former Texas running back Chris Ogbonnaya (with the St. Louis Rams in 2009 and now with the Houston Texans) makes his Texas Longhorns Basketball tourney predictions.
When most Texas fans hear the name Chris Ogbonnaya, they automatically think of his crucial run in the 2008 OU game. The 62-yard dash sealed the win in one of the best Texas-OU games of all time. Chris finished that season with 883 total yards and seven touchdowns. He was an ESPN The Magazine second-team Academic All-American and a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection.
The former Texas and current Houston Texans running back is an all-around sports fan. BON got in touch with him to see if he'd be interested in sharing his predictions for how Texas will make its way through the tourney. He loves March Madness. He loves Texas. And he loves Longhorns fans. So, of course, he was in. Here's how Chris Ogbonnaya sees Texas playing through the tourney.
Be sure to follow Chris on Twitter and Facebook (links at the end of this post).
Everything is Bigger in Texas
By Chris Ogbonnaya
Everything is bigger in Texas... including my predictions for the 2010-11 Texas basketball team. Here is what I'm predicting for this year's NCAA tournament.
Round 1: Texas vs. Oakland
In our first matchup against Oakland, I predict a nice test for the 'Horns. Despite pre-game jitters and a 25-9 Oakland team with some NBA-ready talent in their frontcourt, our talent will show. I'm predicting a triple-double for my African "bruddah" Lexi Wangmene in this match. Hey, one can hope.
Round 2: Texas vs. Arizona
In the second round I see the 'Horns taking on the University of Arizona. I think their PF Derrick Williams is versatile, talented and athletic. A few weeks back, we saw him seal the regular season Pac-10 crown for the 'Cats with a big defensive play against Washington. The 'Horns will have their hands full with him. However, we should win because of matchups. J Ham (Jordan Hamilton) should pose as a big matchup problem for the Wildcats because of his ability to score both inside and outside. Plus, I think we have been tested with a tougher in/out of conference schedule.
Sweet 16: Texas vs. Duke
In the Sweet 16, I predict the 'Horns playing defending champion Duke. My sister went to Duke for undergrad, so there will be bragging rights on the line. Plus, the last time I remember us playing Duke, J.J. Redick dropped 40-plus points on us in the Meadowlands. The Blue Devils are extremely talented and disciplined under the tutelage of Coach K. The matchup between Nolan Smith and Dogus Balbay will be interesting to watch. Even if Kyrie Erving plays, he may not be up to speed, or in rhythm to make a real splash in the game. Regardless, this will be a very close, competitive game. I think the 'HORNS are too athletic, though. Athletic teams usually give Duke a lot of problems (Florida State this season). 'Horns advance. Texas Fight!
Elite 8: Texas vs. UConn
In the Elite 8, I see us playing UConn in a rematch from January. Kemba Walker hit us with one of his signature, drop-step, buzzer-beaters to steal a game in Austin. I think the rematch will be Sherrod Harris'... I mean Tristan Thompson's coming out party of the tournament, and that J'Covan Brown comes up in a big way. (Has anyone else noticed the resemblance between Sherrod and Tristan?)
Final 4: Texas vs. UNC or Ohio State (probably Ohio State)
Then, the 'Horns head back to Houston to a pro Longhorn crowd to face the winner of Ohio State/UNC. If it's UNC, expect a tight contest and good matchup between Harrison Barnes and Jordan Hamilton. As long as Dogus shows why he is one of the best defenders in the country, and stifles Kendall Marshall, I see the 'Horns taking care of business early. If it is Ohio State, expect a close, football-like contest where the Horns win by a buzzer-beater. I don't know why, but against Ohio State, it just seems like a fitting conclusion. For some reason, history is telling me this...
Championship Game: Texas vs. Kansas
Finally, I see Kansas and, obviously, TEXAS in the Nat'l Final. We owe Kansas one. The season series was split with Kansas winning most recently in the Big XII Championship game, while we "escaped the Phog" earlier in the season. Texas will have more than enough motivation/ammunition to win this game. The 'Horns will win if we neutralize the Morris twins, and take care of the basketball.
We have a great coach in Rick Barnes, a great conference record, and great players. We are poised for a title run. The NCAA tournament field needs to be worried about TEXAS. Hook 'Em Horns!
Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisOgbonnaya
...or friend me on Facebook: Facebook.com/ChrisOgbonnaya for some more biased NCAA predictions, game commentary, insider information and Texas pride!