2023-24 College Basketball Preview

college basketball
University of Houston basketball court | Image by @UHCougarMBK/Twitter

The 2023 men’s college basketball season begins for many teams across NCAA Division I and the state of Texas on Monday. Here is a quick look at the Texas teams before the season tips off.

No.7 Houston
Last Season: 33-4, 17-1 in the American Athletic Conference, lost to Miami (FL) in Sweet 16
Departures: G Marcus Sasser, F Jarace Walker, F Reggie Chaney, C Darius Bowser, G Tramon Mark
Arrivals: G L.J. Cryer (transfer),  G Damian Dunn, F Joseph Tugler, C Jacob McFarland, G Kordelius Jefferson
Returnees: G Jamal Shead, F J’Wan Roberts, G Emmanuel Sharp, G Mylik Wilson
Coach: Kelvin Sampson (ninth season)
First Game: November 6, vs. Louisana Monroe, 7 p.m. CT

Houston used its defense to become one of the top teams in college basketball during the regular season last year and earned a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars reached the Sweet 16 before falling to eventually Final Four-bound Miami (FL). Houston joined the Big 12 this season and was picked to finish second in the conference in the official media poll despite losing top scorers Marcus Sasser and Jarace Walker to the NBA.


No.15 Texas A&M 
Last Season: 25-10, 15-3 in the SEC, lost to Penn State in first round of NCAA Tournament
Departures: G Jordan Williams, G Dexter Dennis
Arrivals: F Wildens Leveque, G Jace Carter, G Eli Lawrence, G Bryce Lindsay, F Rob Dockery, C Brandon White
Returnees: F Julius Marble, F Henry Coleman III, G Wade Taylor IV, G Tyrece Radford
Coach: Buzz Williams (fifth season)
First Game: November 6 vs. Texas A&M-Commerce, 7 p.m. CT

Last season started slowly for A&M, but the Aggies turned it around with a 15-3 record in a conference that included four wins over ranked teams. The late run got the Aggies to the NCAA tournament, where they lost to Penn State. The majority of the key contributors and starters from last year’s team return as A&M begins the season ranked No.15 in the nation.


No.18 Texas 
Last Season: 29-9, 12-6 in the Big 12, lost to Miami (FL) in Elite Eight
Departures: G Marcus Carr, F Timmy Allen, G Sir’Jabari Rice, G Arterio Morris, F Christian Bishop
Arrivals: G Max Abmas (transfer), G Ithiel Horton (transfer), C Kadin Shedrick (transfer), F Ze’rik Onyema (transfer), G Chendall Weaver (transfer), G Chris Johnson, F Devon Pryor
Returnees: F Dylan Disu, G Tyrese Hunter, F Dillon Mitchell, F Brock Cunningham
Coach: Rodney Terry (first full season)
First Game: November 6 vs. Incarnate Word, 7 p.m. CT

No team in college basketball faced more adversity than the Texas Longhorns last season, as head coach Chris Beard was let go in December due to a domestic violence case. The team could have folded, but after Terry was named the interim head coach, it rallied together and came within one game of reaching the Final Four. The school made Terry the permanent head coach after the run, and he leads the Longhorns into the season with a few notable transfers joining the team after losing quite a few of his top scorers.


No.20 Baylor
Last Season: 23-11, 11-7 in the Big 12, lost to Creighton in second round of NCAA Tournament
Departures: G L.J. Cryer, G Dale Bonner, G Adam Flagler, G Keyonte George, F Flo Thamba
Arrivals: G RayJ Dennis (transfer), G Jayden Nunn (transfer), F Yanis Ndjonga, G Ja’Kobe Walter, G Miro Little, C Yves Missi
Returnees: F Jalen Bridges, G Langston Love
Coach: Scott Drew (21st season)
First Game: November 6 vs. Auburn, 7 p.m. CT

Scott Drew has enjoyed incredible success at Baylor, leading the team to its first national championship in 2021. This season could be challenging as several players from last year are no longer with the program. The Bears also have a demanding schedule that includes No.4 Michigan State and No.2 Duke in non-conference and No.1 Kansas and several other ranked teams in the Big 12.


North Texas 
Last Season: 31-7, 16-4 in Conference USA, won men’s NIT
Departures: G Tylor Perry, F Kai Huntsberry, F Abou Ousmane,
Arrivals: G Rondell Walker (transfer), G John Buggs III (transfer), G Alex Cotton
Returnees: G/F Aaron Scott, F Moulaye Sissoko, G Rubin Jones
Coach: Ross Hodge (first season)
First Game: November 7 vs. Northern Iowa, 7 p.m. CT

UNT set a school record with 31 wins last season and won its first postseason championship behind guard Tylor Perry and its outstanding defense. The run helped Grnat McCasland land the Texas Tech head coaching job, and Ross Hodge will try to keep the team competitive as it moves to the American Athletic Conference without its top scorers.


Last Season: 10-22, 5-13 in the American Athletic Conference
Departures: G Zach Nutall, F Efe Odigie
Arrivals: G Chuck Harris (transfer), F Ja’Heim Hudson (transfer), G Denver Anglin (transfer), G BJ Edwards (transfer), F Tyreek Smith (transfer)
Returnees: G Zhuric Phelps, F Samuell Williamson, G Jalen Smith
Coach: Rob Lanier (second season)
First Game: November 6 vs. Southwest Assemblies of God at 7:30 p.m.

SMU had a rough season in 2022-23 and did not make the postseason. The Mustangs and head coach Rob Lanier have overhauled their roster with key transfers and got an extra boost with the return of star guard Zhuric Phelps as they try to become competitive in their final season in the American Athletic Conference.


Last Season: 22-13, 9-9 in the Big 12, lost to Gonzaga in second round of NCAA Tournament
Departures: G Mike Miles, F Eddie Lampkin, G Rondel Walker, G Shahada Wells
Arrivals: G Jameer Nelson Jr (transfer), C Ernest Udeh Jr (transfer), C Essam Moustafa (transfer), G Trey Tennyson (transfer), G Avery Anderson (transfer), G Jace Posey, F Isaiah Manning
Returnees: F Emmanuel Miller, F Micah Peavy, F Chuick O’Bannon Jr, F Xavier Cork, F JaKobe Coles
Coach: Jamie Dixon (eighth season)
First Game: November 6 vs. Southern, 7 p.m. CT

TCU had a strong start last season but faded down the stretch in conference play. The Horned Frogs recovered with a great showing in the Big 12 Tournament but were ousted from the NCAA field by Gonzaga in the second round. The team returns most of its rotation from last season despite losing guys like Mike Miles to the NBA and Eddie Lampin to the transfer portal. The transfer guard additions should mesh well, but they will need to find a go-to scorer.

Texas Tech
Last Season: 16-16, 5-13 in the Big 12
Departures: F Kevin Obanor, F Fairdaws Aimaq, F Daniel Batcho, G Jaylon Tyson, G De’Vion Harmon, F KJ Allen
Arrivals: G Joe Toussaint (transfer), F Warren Washington (transfer), F KyeRon Lindsay (transfer), F Devan Cambridge (transfer), G Chance McMillian (transfer), F Eemeli Yalaho, G Drew Steffe
Returnees: G Pop Isaacs, G Kerwin Walton
Coach: Grant McCasland (first season)
First Game: November 8 vs. Texas A&M-Commerce, 7 p.m. CT

Texas Tech also had a scandal involving its coach last season, and the university hired North Texas’ Grant McCasland to take over the program. He has his work cut out for him with only two returning contributors, but the experience of several transfers should help offset the departures, even with a brutal schedule.

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