Texas Basketball: Shaka Smart gets positive COVID-19 test

Shaka Smart, Texas Basketball Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Shaka Smart, Texas Basketball Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /

Surprising news emerged on the morning of Jan. 25 for the Texas basketball program and head coach Shaka Smart. Just ahead of when this Texas team was supposed to take the court for their first game action since the Jan. 16 win at home over the struggling Kansas State Wildcats, Smart came down with a positive novel coronavirus test early this week.

The Longhorns head coach Smart announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 on his own Twitter timeline on the late morning of Jan. 25. This news from Smart came just after the TCU Horned Frogs head coach Jamie Dixon posted a positive COVID-19 test of his own last week.

Texas was supposed to face TCU on the road in Fort Worth on the night of Jan. 23, but that was pushed back due to COVID-19 related issues. The Longhorns also had their originally scheduled Jan. 20 showdown in Ames against the Iowa State Cyclones pushed back due to COVID-19 related issues, just like the TCU game was.

Up next for the Longhorns is supposed to be a matchup in the Red River Rivalry game on the hardwood on Jan. 26 at home at the Frank Erwin Center. In the place of Smart, who just came back with a positive COVID-19 test, the former SMU Mustangs assistant coach KT Turner will serve as the acting head coach for the matchup with the Sooners on Jan. 26.

Where Texas basketball goes from here

Turner was hired onto Smart’s staff last offseason, and serves an associate head coach role that will now come to the forefront during an important point in the Big 12 schedule.

Texas carries a record of 11-2 (5-1 Big 12) into this meeting with Oklahoma, coming off their 15-point win over Kansas State on the night of Jan. 16. They have a chance to extend their winning streak to two games if they take care of business against Oklahoma this week.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma comes into this game with a record of 9-4 (5-3 Big 12), following their upset win over the Kansas Jayhawks back on Jan. 23, by the final score of 75-68. Oklahoma holds the No. 24 ranking in this week’s AP Poll.

And the Longhorns hold the No. 5 slot in this week’s AP Poll. Their last loss came at the hands of head coach Chris Beard and the Texas Tech Red Raiders more than two weeks ago.

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Texas and Oklahoma are set to tip off at the Erwin Center on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. CT. The ESPN matchup predictor gives the Longhorns a 63.1 percent chance to take care of business in Red River tomorrow night. Texas currently sits as a 4.5-point favorite over Oklahoma one night ahead of tip off.