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Jay Williams Thinks Texas is Going to Win the National Championship

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No, not the NBA version of And-1 teen idol "The Professa", otherwise known as White Chocolate Jason Williams.

No I'm talking about the real Jay Williams. Duke's Jason Williams.

Great article that hits on some of the major points we've been discussing since last spring when Damion James decided to return to school.

Look, we all know Texas is going to be good. Real good. How good? Well when one of Duke's greatest is giving your program top billing on the World Wide Leader of all places, you know you're big time. I fully expect Bill Raftery to introduce some folksy Texas colloquialisms to compliment the Northeastern favorite "ONIONS!!!" during his broadcasts.

Perhaps Dick Vitale will play Willie Nelson in a game of HORSE or AWESOME BABY!!!! (if Willie makes him call backboard) on Big Mondays before a capacity crowd at Dessau Hall. Erin Andrews? Yellow Rose, holla.

Anywho...

I love that the article mentions both Jordan and Avery as big time contributors. Jay's probably the first national pundit to include both in his preview. I also like the fact that Jay refers to our guard problems last season and how the influx of talent will alleviate those concerns. Most national pundits and rags see the loss of AJ coupled with the influx of talent as a net loss when it's certainly a huge gain.

He also works in Pittman's interior dominance and James' ability to dominate the glass as one of the nation's most athletic 4's.

Defense, depth, and toughness. Check, check, and check. JayWill mentions all of those too. What a great article? Dude is dialed in.

He hits on all of the factors that should make Texas a bona fide National Title contender. Kudos to Jay for drilling down and doing his homework.

Anyway great read from ESPN Insider.

Enjoy.

Earlier this week, I threw out a simple question on my Twitter page: Who is going to win the 2010 national championship? It was an unscientific poll, of course, but it was interesting nonetheless. I received a myriad of different responses, everything ranging from Villanova, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Purdue, Duke and West Virginia to the four teams with the most votes: Kansas, Michigan State, Kentucky and UNC.

After I finished writing down the results, I was shocked that very few chose Texas to win it all. This is a team that had high expectations last season but never really seemed to find its identity. Given the team's plethora of talent, Longhorns fans weren't happy about finishing 9-7 in conference play and losing to Duke in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

However, a new year brings a new beginning.

Texas, in my opinion, has all the right pieces of the puzzle to win the championship in Indianapolis. Here are three reasons why I think the Longhorns will have a chance to be the last team standing on April 5, 2010.

1. Guard stability
Because of the lack of quality point guard play, last season was a challenge for coach Rick Barnes. Texas had only 448 assists last season and turned the ball over 442 times. The responsibility was shared three ways among A.J Abrams, Justin Mason and Dogus Balbay.

All three were good guards last season, but none of them played the position at an elite, Final Four level. Abrams was more suited for the 2-guard position because of his ability to score in bunches. Mason was considered more of a defensive lockdown player, while Balbay was still trying to find his strut after missing a lot of his freshman year to a knee injury.

So who fills that void?

In the words of Jay-Z, I would like to make a public service announcement: Allow me to introduce to you Mr. Avery Bradley and Mr. Jai Lucas. Both are guards who love making everyone around them better players. Their ability to pressure the ball full court and create turnovers will have opposing guards coughing up the ball left and right.

Lucas, a Florida transfer and the son of former NBA star John Lucas, is a player who gives continuous effort each night. He will be eligible after the end of the first semester. Bradley, ranked No. 1 in the ESPNU 100, gives the Longhorns a defensive whiz at the 2-guard, someone who uses his dominating length, quickness and basketball IQ to break down opponents. These two players, alongside Mason, Balbay, Varez Ward and J'Covan Brown, should give Texas great depth in the backcourt.

Damion James will anchor the frontcourt of a Texas squad primed to contend nationally.

2. Leaders with a chip on their shoulder
There were times last season when Damion James, Dexter Pittman and Gary Johnson looked unstoppable. There were other times when it looked as if they were mentally somewhere else. James' decision not to enter the NBA draft was a great choice. He was a double-double machine, but at times he forgot that his game was better suited inside-out rather than outside-in. His leadership and experience is what will take this Texas team to a different level.

Pittman was at times a dominant force in the middle, but could not always sustain that high level of play, partly because of his weight. He has supposedly lost 20 pounds, which will allow him to play more than just the 16.6 minutes per game he averaged last season. As for Johnson, he is the epitome of a team player. He fits perfectly into UT's system by never forcing the issue and always playing within himself. The interior force of these three players, along with 6-7 junior Alex Wangmene and 6-7 freshman Shawn Williams, should allow the Horns to dominate the boards.

3. Jordan Hamilton
Every time I hear someone talk about Texas, one of the names -- if not the first -- that comes up is Avery Bradley. Hey, even I mentioned him earlier in this blog. There's no doubt that Bradley is a very talented player, but on this team there is a diamond in the rough. Hamilton is one of the top pro prospects in the country.

The 6-7, 225-pound swing forward has been compared to fellow California native Paul Pierce in terms of style of play. Barnes was very impressed with the way he played during a recent scrimmage, saying he scored 25 points "in a matter of 10 minutes" and threw in some blocked shots to boot.

Hamilton has a variety of moves off the dribble that allow him to create space to get up that silky jump shot. His ability to create space allows him to use his quickness to beat you off the dribble as well. And I will tell you right now that if Hamilton is allowed in the paint with a full head of steam, something exceptionally exciting is going to happen.

Great body control and concentration allow him to finish plays at the rim. But the attribute I find most impressive about Hamilton is the tenacity he asserts every possession. He is never afraid of a challenge and will always try to outwork his opponent.

So because of Hamilton and all the other reasons stated previously, I believe the sky is the limit for this Texas team. The balance of youth and veterans should allow the Longhorns to make a legitimate run for a national title.

If coach Barnes can get his team to embrace this John Wooden quotation, the road to Indy will become that much easier:

"Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but what you should have accomplished with your ability."

Jay Williams is a college basketball analyst for ESPN and a contributor to ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter at RealJayWilliams.