The Texas Longhorns haven’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2014.
Shaka Smart’s squad will have an opportunity to change those misfortunes on Friday afternoon, as the 10-seeded Longhorns are set to take on a 7-seeded Nevada team that won 27 games this season.
What are the odds Texas does notch that upset, though?
“Stout,” ESPN’s Jake Trotter said.
“That said, Texas had the youngest team in the Big 12, according to KenPom,” he added. “That might not translate to a strong opener in the NCAA tournament.”
Texas’ matchup with Nevada is intriguing in the fact that the two teams are opposites in many ways. The Wolf Pack present a high-level offense heavily reliant upon the perimeter, while the Longhorns defensive versatility serves as their strength. And as part of what’s essentially a six-man rotation, Nevada features five players that stand at 6-foot-7, with 6-foot-3 senior guard Hallice Cooke as the lone exception.
Texas, on the other hand, will largely rely upon its interior size, as Mohamed Bamba stands at 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-9 wingspan. Power forwards Dylan Osetkowski and Jericho Sims each stand at 6-foot-9, providing Texas with an overwhelming size advantage.
Will that size and stifling defense be enough to lead Texas to its first NCAA Tournament win since the Rick Barnes era? The odds are “stout,” but Texas will have to overcome its inexperience to do so.
The Longhorns and Wolf Pack are set to square off at 4:20 o.m. ET on TBS.
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