1. Will anything actually change?
We were teased with a handful of big wins in the non-conference slate for the Texas basketball program last season. Smart and the Longhorns came up with non-conference wins over the likes of Purdue and the North Carolina Tar Heels last season, and even cracked the AP Top 25 early in the regular season.
This looks pretty similar with the Longhorns coming out with a strong start against Northern Colorado on both ends and against a solid Purdue team that made a late run into the NCAA Tournament last season. But the real question always with Smart is how long this will last.
The Longhorns tend to be able to beat any team at any time, but then fall short when it matters most and ultimately wind up in the NIT.
While it was great for the Longhorns to get the younger players on the roster more playing time down the stretch with an NIT Championship last season, a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament is much more important. Smart has to get his team a bid for the “Big Dance” this season or he could be off the Forty Acres very soon.
We’ll find out quickly how good Texas really is when they head to New York City to face the Georgetown Hoyas, at the very least, at the climax of the 2K Empire Classic. I’ll hold out all other reservations for the Longhorns until then.