Chris Beard Suspended: Time to Fade the Longhorns?

Texas 0-2 ATS Since Coach Arrested

The Texas Longhorns are one of the best college basketball teams in the country. But with coach Chris Beard suspended, Texas has not looked anything like a top 10 team in the country. In the first game without coach Beard, the Longhorns needed overtime to defeat Rice. Texas was favored by 23.5 points.

Last time out, the Longhorns defeated Stanford 72-62, failing to cover the NCAAB odds that saw Texas favored by 10.5 points. The question for bettors to decide is how long this is going to continue and when will oddsmakers catch up? But clearly, with Chris Beard suspended, Texas hasn’t played up to its potential.

Beard Has Gotten the Job Done

There are few coaches who can match the coaching resume of Beard. He has been a winner everywhere he has been. Beard knew what he wanted to do early on, becoming a student assistant with the Longhorns while enrolled at Texas. After graduation, Beard served as an assistant coach at several colleges. He then served as head coach at Fort Scott Community College (Kansas) and Seminole State Junior College (Oklahoma).

Beard then worked as an assistant to Bobby Knight for seven seasons at Texas Tech. He was promoted to associate head coach for three seasons under Pat Knight. Beard left to spend a year as head coach of the South Carolina Warriors, a semi-pro team. He returned to the college ranks at Division II McMurry, going 19-10 in his lone season, and moved to Division II Angelo State, going 47-15 in two seasons.

Beard became a Division I head coach with Little Rock, leading the Trojans to the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles, an NCAA Tournament berth and the first 30-win season in team history.

Beard was hired away by Texas Tech and his teams went 112-55 in five seasons, making the NCAA Tournament three times, with two appearances in the Elite Eight.

The Longhorns were 22-12 in Beard’s first season, advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

Beard’s Absence a Distraction

There is little question seeing Chris Beard suspended has been a distraction to the team. But how much, nobody can say for sure. Texas has not made its college basketball players available to the press after either game since the suspension.

As a college coach, one of Beard’s responsibilities is making sure his players do the right thing. It’s something he probably reminds his players of after each practice or game. While his players are top-notch athletes, they’re still 18- to 22-year-old young men. They don’t always do what’s in their best interest. That’s one reason why some people were so upset when Beard was arrested. Your message losses some of its effectiveness when you’re telling players to behave themselves and then turn around and get arrested for domestic violence.

Texas’ acting coach Rodney Terry has been a college head coach before. He’s been the top man at UTEP and Fresno State in the past and understands his role with Chris Beard suspended. He’s liked by the players and a pretty good choice to lead the team for the immediate future.

Will Suspension Effects Linger?

For bettors, the question is how will Beard’s suspension affect the team moving forward? Wednesday night against Louisiana-Lafayette could provide a clue. Sometimes after a jolt, such as seeing Chris Beard suspended, a team needs a few games to get back to its previous form. But each team reacts to adversity differently and the Longhorns are no exception. Still, it’s hard to use Texas in your college basketball picks and parlays until the Longhorns show they can put things behind them.

Texas is favored by 17.5 points over the Ragin’ Cajuns, who are 10-1 on the season. But facing the Longhorns in Austin is a huge step up in class for Louisiana.

The Cajuns have played just one team in Ken Pomeroy’s top 100 and lost 76-64 to No. 88 Drake. Now, they’re facing his sixth-best team in Texas. This is a team which struggled to beat New Orleans and McNeese State.

Both teams have padded their stats against some weak competition. Louisiana has outscored Centenary, Loyola-Louisiana and Louisiana Christian by an average ncaab score of 103-63. That does wonders for your stats. Texas has outscored Houston Christian, UT Rio Grande Valley and Arkansas Pine Bluff by an average score of 90-43. But at least Texas’ wins came against Division I teams, albeit weaker ones.

Texas has a chance to make a statement against Louisiana. If the Longhorns come out and play hard, they’re clearly the superior team. If they let the Ragin’ Cajuns stick around in the first half, as they’ve done the last two games, they’ll have a fight on their hands. It’s time for Texas to show they’re a top 10 team again.
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