In anticipation for Shaka Smart’s second season on The 40 Acres, HornSports college basketball writer Chris Flanagan predicts how the season will play out for the Longhorns and Shaka Smart in his second season on the 40 Acres.
The Longhorns will not have a serious test until the Legends Classic Championship Round in Brooklyn. They should easily handle the first 3 games at home (Incarnate Word, Louisiana Monroe and Eastern Washington) and Northwestern is a mediocre team, so look for a Texas vs. Notre Dame or Colorado matchup on 11/22. These two teams will be bubble teams throughout the season, and with a very weak non-conference schedule, the Longhorns need to win this tournament.
Beyond the Legends Classic, the Longhorns play 4 teams from Power 5 conferences: Alabama, Arkansas (in Houston), @Georgia and @Michigan. Not one of these 4 teams are ranked in the Top 25 and all but Michigan missed the NCAA tournament last year. These 4 teams could break out and be elite teams this year but preseason expectations are that they will not be very good.
The non-conference schedule is important not only for Texas but the overall strength of the Big 12. They must do well to set themselves up for what will be a tough Big 12 slate of games. I think they will.
Non-conference record prediction: 12-1*
Big 12 Conference Play
The Big 12 is not as strong as it has been in years past, but with 3 teams going to the Sweet 16 last year, the conference has established itself as a premier basketball conference. Every Big 12 coach has made an appearance in the NCAA tournament. Every team has talent, but there must be a winner and a loser. Texas won 11 games in-conference last season, which was tied for the highest since the Big 12 moved to the round robin format in 2011. So no pressure right?
The Longhorns begin conference play with 4 winnable games, 2 of which are on the road (Kansas State and Iowa State). Then they play West Virginia, Baylor, Kansas, and Oklahoma before the SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup against Georgia. Yikes.
That’s a rough stretch.
If the Longhorns go 6-2 headed into the game against Georgia, they will be a legit contender for the Big 12 title. If they are 4-4 or worse, it could be a sophomore slump for Shaka Smart.
Overall, I believe they will set a new record for wins in the Big 12 round robin era, but not by much.
Big 12 record prediction: 13-5
Conference finish prediction: 2nd
Overall record prediction: 25-6
After the bye, Texas will play Texas Tech. It will be close, but Texas should prevail. After Oklahoma upsets Baylor (See Big 12/National preview), Texas will advance to the championship game but lose to the Kansas Jayhawks.
Big 12 tournament result: Runners Up
Overall record: 27-7
Seed earned: 4
NCAA result: Round of 32 loss
Overall record: 28-8
Texas Basketball Tied for 4th in Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll
Kansas Jayhawks take the top spot
The Big 12 Conference released its preseason coaches team rankings for the upcoming basketball season on Friday. The Longhorns find themselves tied for 4th, with the TCU Horned Frogs, in the field of ten teams. The Kansas Jayhawks top the poll for the eighth consecutive season, collecting all first-place votes and finishing with 81 total points. Kansas State and West Virginia round out the top 3, with 72 and 61 points respectively.
The Big 12 will hold its preseason media day on Wednesday, October 24 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, site of the 2019 Conference Tournament.
The Longhorns kick off their season against Eastern on Tuesday, November 6th against Eastern Illinois at the Frank Erwin Center.
Complete Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll
Shaka Smart, Texas hoops secure commitment of 4-star PF/C Kai Jones
The Longhorns add their 2nd commit of the 2019 recruiting class
The Texas men’s basketball team received some good news on Monday evening when Kai Jones, a 4-star center from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, verbally pledged to the Longhorns. He held offers from more than 25 schools, including Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, Georgetown, Texas, Baylor and Florida State. On September 23rd after visiting Austin, the 6-10, 205 lb. senior from Brewster Academy listed Baylor, Florida State and Texas in his final three.
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) September 23, 2018
Jones’ scouting report from ESPN reads: “An extremely athletic post player who is just scratching the surface of his ability. A hard working and active big man who shows touch facing the basket all the way to the 3 point line. Offensively he is more comfortable and effective playing a face up game in space.”
Although he plays center in high school, Texas is recruiting Jones as a power forward. Originally from the Bahamas, he transferred to Brewster Academy from Orlando Christian Prep in Orlando, Florida, where he won a state championship.
Jones is listed as the 53rd best prospect in the country in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, and the 3rd best player in the state of New Hampshire. He joins Elkins High School (Missouri City, TX) shooting guard Donovan Williams in Shaka Smart’s 2019 recruiting class.
— Kai Jones (@242_jones) October 16, 2018
RT JakePerper: Kai Jones with the vicious slam. ocphoops overtime pic.twitter.com/ZPu9F14CSq
— The Coach Radar (@TheCoachRadar) February 12, 2018
Texas picks up commitment from 2019 4-star SG
The Longhorns secured their first commitment of the 2019 class from SG Donovan Williams earlier today
Shaka Smart picked up his first commitment in the 2019 class Wednesday morning, when Fort Bend Elkins SG Donovan Williams verbally pledged to the Longhorns. The 6’5, 180 pound guard took his official visit to Austin this past weekend, and it didn’t take long for him to pull the trigger. Williams chose Texas over Arizona State, Texas A&M, Miami and Georgia.
Williams is currently ranked as the 111th overall player in the 2019 class, according to the 247sports composite rankings.
Here are some highlights from Williams at the NBPA Top 100 Camp:
Jacob Young announces transfer from Texas Basketball program
University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart lost another player on Thursday, just two days after true freshman Mohamed Bamba announced his decision to leave school early and declare himself eligible for the upcoming NBA Draft. Sophmore guard Jacob Young, who averaged 16.2 minutes and 6.2 points per game for the Longhorns this season, announced via twitter that he would seek a transfer.
Thanks to the coaches, teammates, and staff. After my past two years of experiences at UT, I am transferring. I wish Coach Smart and his program all the best. Jacob Young
— Jacob Young (@YEAHLILJ) March 22, 2018
“I appreciate all of the effort that Jacob has given to our University over the past two seasons,” said head coach Shaka Smart in a statement.
Young was a 4-star recruit out of Yates High School in Houston and was ranked as the 23rd best point guard in the country.
- Texas Fans in Arkansas October 20, 2018
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- Commitment Spotlight: Marcus Washington (Daniel Seahorn) October 19, 2018
- Commitment Spotlight: Caleb Johnson (Jameson McCausland) October 18, 2018
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