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After Chris Beard’s busy offseason of recruiting, Texas jumps to No. 5 in AP Top 25 preseason poll

When last anyone saw the Texas basketball program, the Longhorns were suffering through an embarrassing first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Abilene Christian.

Now about seven months later, Texas is ranked the among the top five teams in the country.

Pollsters acknowledged the whirlwind recruiting job first-year coach Chris Beard has done this offseason. The Horns will start the season ranked fifth in the Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll. 

It’s the program’s highest preseason start since Texas was labeled No. 3 to start the 2009-10 season. Texas was also picked to finish second in the Big 12 preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Kansas was picked No. 1.

Texas head basketball coach Chris Beard does an interview on the sideline during the football game against Louisiana at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday September 4, 2021.

“We’re getting a little respect from people because of the individual talent, right? It’s nothing our team’s done, because we’ve never played a game,” Beard said last week. “We talk about it all the time. It's rat poison. It doesn't matter till we get out there and back it up.”

Nobody has to wait long to see if that ranking is legit, either. No. 5 Texas will travel to face No. 1 Gonzaga on Nov. 13 in Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga, UCLA, Kansas, Villanova and Texas make up the entire top five. Baylor, the defending national champion, starts the year at No. 8.

Beard’s team opens the regular season on Nov. 9 at home against Houston Baptist.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.

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