Texas basketball secured a win over No. 2 Gonzaga this week. Contrary to what one might think, the schedule difficulty isn’t too far off here.
The Longhorns have two top 20 matchups on the horizon. After home games with North Arizona and UT-Rio Grande Valley, the team will play back-to-back nationally televised games with No. 10 Creighton and No. 19 Illinois.
The above games are quite a start to December. Although Texas may need these tests to prepare them for the Big 12 game.
The Illinois Fighting Illini will have two familiar faces for Texas. Terrence Shannon Jr., former Texas Tech guard and Chris Beard recruit, leads the Illini with 22.7 points per game. Former Baylor defensive specialist Matthew Mayer is also part of the team.
Let’s look at a few milestone games and storylines that will follow.
Christian Bishop will meet the team he transferred from on December 1st. The Longhorns will host the No. 10 Creighton Bluejays. Consistent post presence will have ample motivation for strong performance.
Terrence Shannon and Matthew Mayer are familiar with the way the Big 12 play. Still, Chris Beard should have an extensive scouting report for the two talents. The game will be another benchmark for the Longhorns. The two teams will face off on December 6th.
Texas’ conference opening game will be held in Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners. Without a doubt, Texas should seem inspired to play Big 12 on New Year’s Eve.
Texas Tech doesn’t like Texas. The feeling is mutual. The hatred between the two teams is well documented. Both teams were scheduled to put on an emotionally charged performance at the Moody Center on January 14th.
Texas meets No. 22 Tennessee Volunteers. Last season they won a close game against the Vols, 52-51. The game could be of particular significance for former Longhorns head coach Rick Barnes.
Is Texas a legitimate contender for the Final Four? We may not know for sure until the Longhorns take on the No. 5 Baylor Bears on Jan. 30. Baylor has owned the series in recent years with many matchups falling in Scott Drew’s favor. A home win in this game would do a lot for Texas’ confidence.
Kansas presents another test on the road for Texas on February 6th. A win on the road against the Jayhawks could move the Longhorns up a spot.
Happiness is Lubbock in the rearview mirror. Chris Beard will certainly feel that way, regardless of the outcome of the game. Given the animosity Tech has directed towards Beard and his team, there could be additional satisfaction in this potential win down the road.