Texas Basketball: AP Poll slides Horns up to a new high at No. 8

The latest version of the AP Poll for this week has Texas basketball well inside the top 10, all the way up to No. 8 before the turn of the calendar year.

Head coach Shaka Smart and his now No. 8 ranked Texas basketball team (in the AP Poll for this week) are sitting in a really good position just ahead of the turn of the calendar year. Heading into the thick of the Big 12 slate, Texas has a lot of momentum and could really challenge for a regular season conference title if Smart holds things together moving forward.

Smart and the Longhorns slid up two spots in this week’s version of the AP Poll, up to No. 8. And they’re up to up one spot in this week’s Coaches Poll, to No. 9. This is once again the highest mark the Longhorns found themselves at in both major polls since the 2014-15 regular season, under the direction of former head coach Rick Barnes (now in the same position with the Tennessee Volunteers).

You can view the entirety of this week’s version of both major polls, thanks to ESPN here.

Ironically, Barnes and the Vols rank just one spot ahead of Texas, at No. 7 in this week’s AP Poll. In this week’s Coaches Poll, the Longhorns Big 12 foe West Virginia Mountaineers dropped two spots. West Virginia is now just one slot ahead of Texas in the Coaches Poll, at No. 8. Texas is one spot ahead of the Mountaineers, though, in the AP Poll.

The top two held steady this week in both major polls. In order from top-to-bottom, the top three in the AP Poll this week was the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Baylor Bears, and Kansas Jayhawks. But in the Coaches Poll, the Villanova Wildcats hold the No. 3 slot and the Jayhawks are at No. 4.

Texas currently holds a record of 7-1 (1-0 Big 12), after their de facto conference opener win at home at the Frank Erwin Center back on Dec. 20 against the Oklahoma State Cowboys by the narrow final score of 77-74. Next up for Smart and the Longhorns was supposed to be a non-conference showdown against the Texas A&M Corpus-Christi Islanders. But that game was canceled due to novel coronavirus related issues on the Islanders side.

Next up for the Longhorns on the hardwood is a battle with No. 3 Kansas on the road in Lawrence on Jan. 2. Texas has no more games remaining before the turn of the calendar year, since the originally scheduled Dec. 29 meeting with Texas A&M-CC at home was canceled.