Texas Basketball: 5 Things to Know Before Big 12 Play

Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball
Dillon Mitchell, Texas basketball / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages
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Texas basketball opens its 28th and final season in the Big 12 on Saturday night inside the Moody Center. Rodney Terry and the No. 20 ranked Longhorns welcome the 11-2 Texas Tech Red Raiders to Austin in the 145th (and second to last) scheduled meeting between the two programs. The last meeting will be on Feb. 27 in Lubbock.

In his first year as the head coach of Texas basketball, Coach Terry has led the Horns to an inauspicious 11-2 start to the season. Terry did a tremendous job this offseason rebuilding a roster that graduated four of its most productive players from a team that was 90 seconds away from the Final Four.

He convinced Dylan Disu, Tyrese Hunter, and Dillon Mitchell to return and paired them with five high-impact transfers, including the No. 8 ranked transfer prospect according to 247Sports - Oral Roberts point guard Max Abmas.

Texas basketball enters Big 12 play looking to win its sixth straight game

Having lost over 63 percent of the scoring production from the season prior, it was clear that Coach Terry and this team would need some time to gel. It didn’t help that the 2023 Big 12 Tournament MVP Dylan Disu missed the first nine games of the season, and Virginia Transfer Kadin Shedrick was dealing with a lingering shoulder injury for most of the non-con.

Texas enters the 2024 Big 12 slate in an interesting spot. The league is once again the best in the country and currently has six teams ranked inside the AP Top 20. 11 of the Big 12's 14 teams are currently ranked in the Top 67 of the NET. That means that over 70 percent of road games in the conference will be Quad 1 opportunities.

Over the next two and a half months, the Longhorns can play their way up into No. 1 seed contention. That said, a few rough patches could leave this team on the outside looking in on the 2024 NCAA Tournament. Check out five important nuggets about this Texas basketball team ahead of Big 12 play.

Five things to know about Texas basketball before Big 12 play.

1. Texas did nothing in the non-con to help its tournament resume

The Longhorns were bit by the “Chris Beard style” of scheduling during the 2023/24 non-conference slate. That is, play a few elite teams, with the rest of your games coming against non-competitive teams that will not make the NCAA Tournament.

So, despite holding an 11-2 record, the Longhorns do not have any non-conference wins of significance. In fact, of their 11 wins, nine of them currently fall into the ‘Quad 4’ category. The other two (N LSU, vs UNCG) are Quad 3 wins.

Texas only played two Quad 1 games - a neutral court loss against UConn and a road loss against Marquette. These are not bad losses by any means, but the way the non-conference schedule broke, they were the only two opportunities this Texas team had to pick up a resume-building non-con win.

Luckily for the Longhorns, the Big 12 will offer plenty of Quad 1 and Quad 2 opportunities. As it currently stands, Texas will have a ridiculous 12 Q1 games and two Q2 games during conference play. As mentioned earlier, this team could push for a top seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament with enough conference wins. On the other hand, a few bad weeks of basketball could leave this team in a precarious spot come March.