Texas Basketball: Javan Felix is the Key to Longhorns Advancing in 2014 NCAA Tournament

By Jeff Kubiszyn
Texas Longhorns Javan Felix
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If the Texas Longhorns basketball team hopes to advance past the Arizona State Sun Devils in the NCAA Tournament, they will rely on the shortest player on the roster.

Sophomore guard Javan Felix has been the spark plug for the Texas offense. When the 5-foot-10 shooting guard is running hot, the offense is firing on all cylinders. But when he is fouled up, the team sputters.

Felix provides Texas with perimeter scoring. When teams collapse on post players Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley, it is up to Felix to knock down three-point shots to loosen up the defense. When he does this, Texas wins more often than not. In Texas’ 12 conference wins, Felix averaged more than 14 points a game. In seven losses, he averaged 10 points a game (Felix missed a loss with an injury). He has scored a total of 17 points in the team’s last four losses.

The more telling statistic is Felix’s three-point shooting percentage. He is most comfortable shooting at home rather than on the road. Felix shoots 43 percent at home from behind the arc and 16 percent on the road. He shot 7-for-9 in a home win over the Baylor Bears. He then followed that performance up with a 1-for-7 shooting night in a road loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Texas fans never know which Felix will show up. Come tournament time there is not much margin for error, and an off day shooting the ball can end your season.

One part of Felix’s game that has improved is reducing his turnovers. Felix averages just over one turnover a game. He has half as many turnovers this season as he did last year when he was operating as the point guard. His point guard experience and ball security is a nice safety net since Texas is relying on freshman Isaiah Taylor to run the offense. Freshmen can make a name for themselves in the tournament or they can flounder. Felix is more than capable of executing Texas’ offense if Taylor struggles.

The Longhorns have aspirations of advancing beyond the third round, something the school has not done since 2008. In order to do this, Texas will need its second-year guard to be locked in and playing his best basketball of the season. Otherwise, it will be another quick tournament exit.

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