Texas basketball and first-year head coach Chris Beard are gearing up for their first game of the NCAA Tournament, which is set to come against the reigning ACC Tournament Champion Virginia Tech Hokies. The six-seed Texas will definitely have their hands full with the 11-seed Virginia Tech in the Round of 64 on March 18.
Beard and the Longhorns aren’t trending in the right direction heading into the NCAA Tournament either. Texas has lost three games in a row heading into this Round of 64 matchup against the Hokies. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has won four games in a row thanks to their special run in the ACC Tournament, including upset wins over the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels, ahead of their meeting with Texas.
Moreover, there are a lot of Longhorns players that are seeking out the first NCAA Tournament win of their respective careers. In fact, all but two of the current players on the Longhorns roster have even one NCAA Tournament win under their belts. And those two players are senior forward Christian Bishop and junior shooting guard Avery Benson.
Among the Longhorns players that don’t have a single NCAA Tournament win in their career are senior guard Marcus Carr, senior guard Courtney Ramey, redshirt senior shooting guard / wing Andrew Jones, and senior forward Timmy Allen.
Ramey, in particular, is one Longhorns player that saw plenty of the ups and downs of the last few seasons with this men’s hoops program. Ramey was originally recruited by former Texas head coach Shaka Smart. And he was one of the few players from last season’s team that actually returned for the first year under Beard as the head coach.
Throughout that process, we’ve seen flashes of what Ramey could truly be as a versatile offensive standout guard. But he’s also had plenty of tough stretches this season on both ends of the floor.
For instance, Ramey went eight straight games in a key stretch of Big 12 play without scoring in the double figures on even one occasion. That was also one of two times this season where Ramey went for a stretch of at least six games without scoring in the double figures.
Given the fact that Ramey is one of the five highest usage players on the team, and took the fourth-most field goal attempts for the team up to this point this season, that’s something that just can’t happen if Texas wants to find success on the right side of the win column.
Yet, Ramey also had stretches where he really came alive offensively. A good example of that is when Ramey put up 33 points combined in the last two games for Texas on an efficient 45 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Ramey also was solid in multiple phases of the game in his last two outings where he combined for eight rebounds per game and one steal.
Ramey also deserves credit for continuing to play standout perimeter defense throughout much of this season. He’s one of the most consistent and versatile defensive players in this backcourt unit for the Longhorns.
Ramey ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 this season in defensive win shares (1.9). And he was also one of four Longhorns players to rank in the top 20 in the Big 12 in total steals in conference play this season.
Moreover, some of the ups and downs that Ramey experienced this season will really put his toughness to the test against Virginia Tech in the Round of 64 on March 18. If Ramey can overcome some of the inconsistencies he’s had throughout this season and put up solid production when it matters most, that’s what will really count in terms of how he’s viewed by the Longhorns faithful and NBA scouts alike.
Texas basketball senior G Courtney Ramey out to prove a point in multiple ways vs. Virginia Tech
He can help to cement his legacy in a positive light by helping the Longhorns make a solid run in the postseason this year. Since Ramey is still without an NCAA Tournament win under his belt, getting one this year would be really important to potentially round out his collegiate career on a high note.
A deep run in the postseason led by Ramey could also help to dramatically boost his NBA Draft stock. Ramey is the type of guard that is a fringe second-round draft pick. More than likely, he will fall as an undrafted free agent.
Putting together a solid run this postseason will do nothing but help his case when he takes his talents to the next level, though. With all the attention falling on teams like Texas in March, Ramey will have the opportunity to show the world what he can do on both ends of the floor in a very bright spotlight.
Ramey will get his opportunity against Virginia Tech at the outset of the NCAA Tournament for the Longhorns on March 18. He could potentially draw the matchup against the standout junior Virginia Tech guard Hunter Cattoor. As the leader of Virginia Tech’s insanely efficient three-point shooting efforts, Cattoor will be a load to handle for the Longhorns defensively.
If Ramey can help Texas limit Cattoor, that will knock out two birds with one stone in his case.
First and foremost, it will go a long way to helping Texas knock off Virginia Tech heading into the weekend. Secondly, it would provide some pretty tremendous draft film for NBA scouts to dissect in terms of the defensive ability that Ramey brings to the table.
Ramey doesn’t have that much defensive film from the postseason in his college career that would really move the needle with any NBA scouts at the moment.
All in all, though, it’s easy to see why this Round of 64 game for Ramey is so pivotal for him for multiple reasons. He’s trying to prove he’s got the two-way ability to play at the next level. Meanwhile, he’s trying to cement his legacy di lui as a truly special Longhorns guard that helped get them over the postseason hump at least once.
Texas is set to carry a record of 21-11 (10-8 Big 12) into the Round of 64 following their loss in the first game of the Big 12 Tournament back on March 10 against the TCU Horned Frogs. Tip-off time between Texas and Virginia Tech is set for 3:30 pm CT on March 18.