A time that a lot of Texas basketball fans want to forget arrived in March Madness this past season. Texas and former head coach Shaka Smart were rolling into the “Big Dance” with a ton of momentum coming off their Big 12 Tournament title and a solid regular season. But even a high-seed in the NCAA Tournament couldn’t salvage the disappointment of the multiple poor postseason results Smart had with the program during his time as head coach.
The three-seed Longhorns and Smart were downed in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament to round out last season. And that upset in the Round of 64 came at the hands of the 14-seed Abilene Christian Wildcats and head coach Joe Golding.
That upset led to an early exit for the Longhorns in March Madness, and the eventual departure of Smart as head coach. Smart would wind up bolting from Austin on March 26 to become the next head coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles in his home state of Wisconsin.
Yet, the embarrassment of falling short to ACU in the Round of 64 to round out last season is something that is still living on this offseason.
Texas basketball still feeling the heat after the March Madness letdown under Shaka Smart
In a summer basketball camp hosted by ACU, t-shirts made were intended to have a direct shot at the upset of the Longhorns in the NCAA Tournament last season. A post on social media showed ACU having made t-shirts with the final score of that Round of 64 win over Texas.
ACU would later go on to face the Cinderella 11-seed UCLA Bruins in the Round of 32, to no avail. UCLA dominated the Wildcats to move onto the Sweet 16, by the final score of 67-47. The Bruins were able to find that offensive game against ACU that Texas wasn’t.
Smart and the Longhorns would wind up going into a volatile offseason that was set to be full of change. Following this early exit in March Madness, Texas would wind up replacing the departed Smart with former Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard on April 1.
Since then, Texas found more hope for the direction of the program in the near term and over the long haul.
Texas finished up last season with a record of 19-8 following that Round of 64 loss to ACU. Beard has come in and largely reconstructed the roster, with five additions to the mix out of the NCAA Transfer Portal so far this offseason. The latest of them was the former Red Raiders reserve guard Avery Benson.