After a one year absence, 10 seed Texas is set to return to the NCAA tournament on Friday against 7 seed Nevada. This will be the Longhorn’s second tournament appearance under third year head coach Shaka Smart, with the first appearance in 2016 ending with a 1st round exit to Northern Iowa on a half-court shot at the buzzer. Nevada returns to the tournament for the second consecutive season, bowing out in the first round last year to Iowa State, 84-73.
On the court, the Wolf Pack are led by the Caleb and Cody Martin. The twins have combined to average 32.7 PPG and 11.6 RPG. Cody is also the team leader in assists at 4.2 per game. There is not much to dislike about Nevada offensively. They shoot well from the field (46.8%), shoot well from 3 (39.8%) and rarely turn the ball over (9.9 turnovers per game). Despite the positives on the offensive end, the Wolf Pack will have several factors working against them heading into the first round match-up. Starting point guard Lindsey Drew has been sidelined for a month with an achilles injury, and his absence has left Nevada short handed. The Wolf Pack will likely only play 7 players against the Longhorns, and Nevada also loves to foul. The inside presence of Jericho Sims and Mo Bamba could cause trouble if Wolf Pack players start finding themselves in foul trouble.
The Longhorns are coming off a 73-69 loss to Texas Tech in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. Bamba returned to action against the Red Raiders after missing the previous 2 games with a toe injury. The star freshman claims to be 100% healthy heading into the NCAA tournament, and it would be a welcome site for Shaka Smart and company to have their star player back on the floor at full health.
With Eric Davis still out due to an ongoing NCAA investigation, Smart will continue to lean on rising guard Jacob Young, who has elevated his play the past few games. Young poured in a career high 29 points against Texas Tech, and played 32 minutes. The Houston native has given the Longhorns a much needed shooting boast from beyond the arc.
Texas and Nevada is set to tip at 3:30 CST on TBS. The winner for face the winner of 2 seed Cincinnati against 15 seed Georgia State. Follow along at HornSports.com for live updates.
Texas Basketball Tied for 4th in Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll
Kansas Jayhawks take the top spot
The Big 12 Conference released its preseason coaches team rankings for the upcoming basketball season on Friday. The Longhorns find themselves tied for 4th, with the TCU Horned Frogs, in the field of ten teams. The Kansas Jayhawks top the poll for the eighth consecutive season, collecting all first-place votes and finishing with 81 total points. Kansas State and West Virginia round out the top 3, with 72 and 61 points respectively.
The Big 12 will hold its preseason media day on Wednesday, October 24 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, site of the 2019 Conference Tournament.
The Longhorns kick off their season against Eastern on Tuesday, November 6th against Eastern Illinois at the Frank Erwin Center.
Complete Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll
Shaka Smart, Texas hoops secure commitment of 4-star PF/C Kai Jones
The Longhorns add their 2nd commit of the 2019 recruiting class
The Texas men’s basketball team received some good news on Monday evening when Kai Jones, a 4-star center from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, verbally pledged to the Longhorns. He held offers from more than 25 schools, including Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, Georgetown, Texas, Baylor and Florida State. On September 23rd after visiting Austin, the 6-10, 205 lb. senior from Brewster Academy listed Baylor, Florida State and Texas in his final three.
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) September 23, 2018
Jones’ scouting report from ESPN reads: “An extremely athletic post player who is just scratching the surface of his ability. A hard working and active big man who shows touch facing the basket all the way to the 3 point line. Offensively he is more comfortable and effective playing a face up game in space.”
Although he plays center in high school, Texas is recruiting Jones as a power forward. Originally from the Bahamas, he transferred to Brewster Academy from Orlando Christian Prep in Orlando, Florida, where he won a state championship.
Jones is listed as the 53rd best prospect in the country in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and the 3rd best player in the state of New Hampshire. He joins Elkins High School (Missouri City, TX) shooting guard Donovan Williams in Shaka Smart’s 2019 recruiting class.
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) October 16, 2018
RT JakePerper: Kai Jones with the vicious slam. ocphoops overtime pic.twitter.com/ZPu9F14CSq
— The Coach Radar (@TheCoachRadar) February 12, 2018
Texas picks up commitment from 2019 4-star SG
The Longhorns secured their first commitment of the 2019 class from SG Donovan Williams earlier today
Shaka Smart picked up his first commitment in the 2019 class Wednesday morning, when Fort Bend Elkins SG Donovan Williams verbally pledged to the Longhorns. The 6’5, 180 pound guard took his official visit to Austin this past weekend, and it didn’t take long for him to pull the trigger. Williams chose Texas over Arizona State, Texas A&M, Miami and Georgia.
Williams is currently ranked as the 111th overall player in the 2019 class, according to the 247sports composite rankings.
Here are some highlights from Williams at the NBPA Top 100 Camp:
Jacob Young announces transfer from Texas Basketball program
University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart lost another player on Thursday, just two days after true freshman Mohamed Bamba announced his decision to leave school early and declare himself eligible for the upcoming NBA Draft. Sophmore guard Jacob Young, who averaged 16.2 minutes and 6.2 points per game for the Longhorns this season, announced via twitter that he would seek a transfer.
Thanks to the coaches, teammates, and staff. After my past two years of experiences at UT, I am transferring. I wish Coach Smart and his program all the best. Jacob Young
— Jacob Young (@YEAHLILJ) March 22, 2018
“I appreciate all of the effort that Jacob has given to our University over the past two seasons,” said head coach Shaka Smart in a statement.
Young was a 4-star recruit out of Yates High School in Houston and was ranked as the 23rd best point guard in the country.
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