POLL: Texas basketball ranked No. 5 in AP preseason poll

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Chris Beard - Texas Athletics

Texas Longhorns basketball coach Chris Beard smiles for a picture with Athletics Director Chris Del Conte and President Jay Hartzell. (Photo: Texas Athletics)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Massive expectations have been placed upon the Texas Longhorns basketball program after a major overhaul during the offseason.

Texas hired Chris Beard as its next head coach. Then, Beard got to work completely changing a light Longhorns roster into a bonafide national championship contender. Beard, along with an impressive list of assistants, brought in seven top transfers during the summer, headlined by Minnesota’s Marcus Carr and Utah’s Timmy Allen.

The Associated Press voters believe in Texas, voting the Longhorns No. 5 in the preseason poll released Monday. Gonzaga is No. 1 followed by UCLA, Kansas and Villanova. The 2020 national champion Baylor Bears open the season at No. 8.

Texas will get a good look at where it stacks up in the college basketball landscape during the first week of the season, playing at No. 1 Gonzaga on Nov. 13 at 9:30 p.m. CT.

The Longhorns open the season Nov. 1 with an exhibition game against Texas Lutheran at the Frank Erwin Center.

Texas’ biggest challenge will be combining its transfer players with the remainder of the Longhorns roster. Holdovers from Shaka Smart’s 2020 team include Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones, Jase Febres and Brock Cunningham.

“Talent won’t be what differentiates us,” Beard said during the offseason. “I think we’ll have enough talent on the roster to make a run. It’ll be the other things – chemistry, relationships, cohesiveness, culture, but I think with talent, we’re willing to put our guys up against anybody in the country, man on man.”

The Big 12 has three teams in the top 10 of the preseason poll with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech starting the season in the receiving votes category of the poll.

Preseason AP Poll – Oct. 18

1. Gonzaga (55)0-015621
2. UCLA (8)0-01459
3. Kansas0-0142712
4. Villanova0-0133218
5. Texas0-013159
6. Michigan0-012554
7. Purdue0-0121320
8. Baylor0-09923
9. Duke0-0963
10. Kentucky0-0894
11. Illinois0-08612
12. Memphis0-0831
13. Oregon0-0775
14. Alabama0-07135
15. Houston0-06946
16. Arkansas0-067310
17. Ohio St.0-05817
18. Tennessee0-0563
19. North Carolina0-0547
20. Florida St.0-038114
21. Maryland0-0294
22. Auburn0-0267
23. St. Bonaventure0-0238
24. UConn0-0161
25. Virginia0-012515

Others receiving votes: Michigan St. 87, Indiana 41, Southern Cal 30, Arizona 26, Virginia Tech 25, Oklahoma St. 25, Xavier 22, Texas Tech 17, Richmond 13, Rutgers 11, Colorado St. 11, LSU 7, Belmont 7, St. John’s 5, Syracuse 5, San Diego St. 5, Mississippi St. 5, Drake 4, Colorado 4, BYU 3, Notre Dame 3, Louisville 3.

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