Starting lineup predictions with Texan’s men’s basketball beat writers

Christina Huang and Nick Pannes, Sports Reporters

This week, The Daily Texan’s men’s basketball beat writers Christina Huang and Nick Pannes discuss their projected starting lineups and give a breakdown of rotation before the Longhorns open their season in less than a month: 

Christina Huang: If I had to guess, then I would say the starting lineup would be Marcus Carr at point guard, Andrew Jones at shooting guard, Courtney Ramey at small forward, Timmy Allen at power forward, and Tre Mitchell at the center position.

I think that Allen would be a great choice as the starting power forward just because he’s such a prolific scorer. At center, I could honestly see the starter being either Mitchell because of his size, but Dylan Disu is also a solid pick as well. I think that Carr and Jones are pretty much locks for starters just because this team is going to need their ball control skills and experience as a whole. 

Nicholas Pannes: I think we will see Marcus Carr at point guard, Courtney Ramey at shooting guard, Christian Bishop at small forward, Timmy Allen at power forward, Tre Mitchell at center. There aren’t many college basketball players who had better seasons than Carr, Allen and Mitchell did last year, and it seems like they all transferred into Texas believing a starting spot was ready for them. 

Carr’s a prolific scorer and facilitator who can shine under pressure, so it makes sense to maintain his traditional role as a point guard. Beard’s coaching style emphasizes positionless playing, but every team needs a center and Mitchell has the most experience in the position. I expect to see him starting there and eating up some minutes at power forward. Ramey’s coming off 41.4% shooting from three last season, and with his seniority and continued development he looks like the right fit for shooting guard. 

It’s a little bit of a toss-up for power forward, as Dylan Disu seems like a lock, but I could see him splitting time at center with Mitchell. If they want someone consistent at power forward, it’ll probably be Timmy Allen. For the same reasons, I’m going out on a limb and saying Bishop will start at small forward.

CH: Yeah, absolutely! I completely agree that this whole team is a toss-up in terms of who we’ll actually see in the starting lineup because there are just so many different combinations that have the chance to work really well. I still think that seeing Marcus Carr on the starting lineup is pretty much a guarantee, given his history as being “the guy” at Minnesota. Carr just has such a high basketball IQ and that really shows through his playmaking, shooting and ability to become a facilitator when he’s not shooting the ball. 

He definitely has the experience to really lead a team like this and just today he was announced as the Preseason Newcomer of the Year in the All-Big 12 Awards. But I do think that most of these transfers are used to being their team’s go-to player for just about everything at their previous schools, so they probably won’t be able to get in as many minutes as they’re probably used to just because of the saturated talent pool we have at Texas. 

However, everyone seems to be team-oriented, so I don’t think that being on the court less would necessarily be a problem for any single player. It’s pretty clear to me that Beard and the team just want to make sure that they’re able to punch their ticket to a championship in New Orleans. 

NP: I think you hit the nail on the head: playing time’s probably going to be sprinkled throughout the whole roster, with a few lock-ins like Carr. Despite an abundance of players who were top dogs at their schools, as you said, it seems like Beard’s got all of his players’ egos in check for now. 

So far we have heard a lot of good rhetoric about winning as a team and unselfish play, and all of the upperclassmen on the team seem very willing to sideline their personal glory to win big in March. Still, making the best use of a team this talented will be a challenge in itself. Beard is not someone who likes to let off the gas. 

It might be tough for the freshmen to get some playing time even in a blowout game, especially with the roster depth. Beard’s defense-oriented style could be a burden or a boon to the young players as well. A good defense requires teamwork, which suggests continuity. But a focus on defense allows mediocre scorers like guard Avery Benson to earn playing time by using tools that are harder to develop, like grit and toughness.

CH: Yeah, definitely! I honestly think that this team is primed for success this upcoming season. So far it looks like this is truly a new era for Texas basketball. Obviously, there are some serious expectations for both Beard and his team, so this season will definitely be one to watch.