Chris Beard looks to return to the championship game and the Texas Longhorns have the talent around him to do so.
CBB Review is once again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the 2022-23 season. Each day we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Coming in ranked number 12 are the Texas Longhorns.
When Chris Beard went from one Texas school to another, Longhorn fans rejoiced. Beard was seen as a Top 10 coach in the country after his championship appearance a few years prior, and the addition of Marcus Carr in the transfer portal made Texas seem like a surefire championship contender. That was not the case, as Texas ended the season with a Round of 32 loss to Purdue, far from the result expected.
This year, with a full year in Austin, the Longhorns look ready to surpass last season and once again compete for a national championship. This starts with the returns of Carr and Timmy Allen, and the big time transfer pickup of Tyrese Hunter. Parlay that with a top 10 recruit in Dillon Mitchell, and the Longhorns look more than capable of being a threat in the Big 12.
To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2022-23 college basketball season.
Head Coach: Chris Beard (2nd Season with Team, 7th Total)
2021-2022 Record: 22-12 (10-8)
2022 Postseason Finish: NCAA Tournament Round of 32 Exit
Notable Departures: Andrew Jones (Graduated), Courtney Ramey (Transfer/Arizona), Jase Febres (Graduated), Tre Mitchell (Transfer/West Virginia)
PG: Tyrese Hunter (6-0, 175, So.)
2021-22 stats: 11 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.0 steals, 68.7 FT% (Iowa State)
SG: Marcus Carr (6-2, 175, Gr-Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 11.4 points, 3.4 assists, 1.9 rebounds
SF: Dillon Mitchell (6-8, 205, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #5 overall rated recruit
SF: Timmy Allen (6-6, 210, Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 12.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals
C: Christian Bishop (6-7, 220, Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 60.0 FG%
6: Dylan Disu (6-9, 225, Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 3.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 81.3 FT%
7: Sir’Jabari Rice (6-4, 180, Gr.-Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 11.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 39.1 FG%, 77.9 FT% (New Mexico State)
8: Arterio Morris (6-3, 190, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #17 overall rated recruit
9: Brock Cunningham (6-6, 210, Gr.-Sr.)
2021-22 stats: 2.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 81.3 FT%
10: Rowan Brumbaugh (6-4, 190, Fr.)
247Sports Composite #86 overall rated recruit
Team MVP: Tyrese Hunter
— Walking._.Bucket (@hunter_tyrese) May 27, 2022
After an impressive freshman campaign at Iowa State where he was a big part of one of the best single season turnarounds in college basketball season, Hunter looks to improve even more. Defensively, there are few better than him, averaging 2 steals a game, and he only improved as the season went on. He will be surrounded by a ton of weapons this season and can be a true point guard. Don’t be surprised if he takes home the Bob Cousy award at the end of the year, that’s how good he is.
One aspect of his game that can really take the Texas Longhorns to the next level is Hunter’s three-point shot. Hunter only shot 27.4% from deep last year, but 7-11 in the Round of 64 game against LSU, proving that the shot is there. If that number gets to 33-35%, he and Marcus Carr could make the deadliest backcourt in the country.
Make-0r-Break Player: Marcus Carr
Speaking of Carr, many people thought that he could be a first-team All-American when the top transfer in the country committed to Texas. Carr averaged 19.4 points per game his junior season, and few could take over a game more effectively than Carr. Of course, the numbers decreased heavily last season, leaving many disappointed and questioning Carr’s star ability.
Now, with a year in Chris Beard’s system under his belt and a true point guard in Hunter, something he didn’t have with Andrew Jones or Courtney Ramey, he has the potential to get back to that superstar level. If he can do so, Texas will live up to their #2 KenPom preseason rating and will be seen as one of the teams to beat in all of college basketball. If he stays around the same level as last season, then we can expect a similar type of season from Texas Basketball and at best a second-weekend appearance.
Analytic to Know: #1 in AdjD for 2022-23
KenPom, a trusted analytics model used by many, recently released their college basketball ratings for the 2022-2023 season. In a surprise to many, Texas was ranked 2nd in the country, and a big reason for that is their #1 defensive rating. The addition of Hunter is a big reason why as mentioned earlier, but they also have solid wings in Mitchell and Allen who will be big contributors on defense. As the old saying goes, defense wins championships, and any team that plays the Texas Longhorns will have to bring their A game if they want to put points on the board.
— #12 Texas Men’s Basketball (@TexasMBB) September 23, 2022
Is Texas back? It seems so. Carr, Hunter, and Allen are one of the best Big 3’s in the country, and they still have key pieces in Mitchell, Bishop, and Rice. One concern that hovers around the Texas Longhorns program is the Arterio Morris situation. Morris was arrested for assault in June and for now, is with the team, but if the case develops then this could lead to a dark cloud for the Texas program.
People forget how good of a coach Chris Beard is. He wins wherever he goes, and with a year of experience, he’s expected to take a huge leap. Remember, in Beard’s first year at Texas Tech, they went 18-14 and missed the tournament, then proceeded to go 27-10 in his second season along with an Elite 8 run, then a National Championship appearance his third year. Beard knows what he’s doing, and he’ll get Texas even closer to the promised land this season.
Texas faces a rigorous nonconference slate this year, beginning with Gonzaga at home. They can truly earn believers if they can take down, or even keep it competitive in that one. Other notable games include matchups against Creighton, a projected top 10 team, and Tennessee, a borderline top 10 team. They also face Illinois in the Jimmy V Classic, a contender to win the Big Ten.
Then, Texas faces the Big 12, projected to be the best league in the country, and features ten teams who have a possibility of making the tournament. There will be no easy games, and the Longhorns will really have to prove they’re a legitimate threat during this period and finish top 3 in the standings. If they can do so, a deep tournament run is in the future, and Texas Longhorns fans everywhere will get a few more rejoices before heading to the SEC.