Texas basketball emphatically showed that they are a legit title contender at Kansas.
Is Texas now a basketball school?
The coronavirus pandemic canceled the NCAA Tournament back in March but offered a reprieve to some coaches who may have gotten fired in a normal year. One of those beneficiaries was Texas’ Shaka Smart, who has taken his new life to assemble one of the most complete teams in program history.
Texas basketball had a coming-out party on Saturday, demolishing the Kansas Jayhawks 84-59 in a highly-anticipated game that wasn’t even close. The defeat was the worst home loss for Kansas under Bill Self, a stunning development for a team that had essentially dominated its competition following a season-opening loss to Gonzaga.
Kansas' 25-point loss to Texas today is the Jayhawks' worst home defeat under Bill Self. https://t.co/hXHPi3F7VV
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 2, 2021
With Kansas win, Texas basketball poised to compete for a national title
The script flipped in this matchup as Texas was in complete control from the opening tip. The Longhorns were electric on offense, shooting 49.2 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc, and smothered the Jayhawks defensively, including an impressive display of perimeter defense.
Kansas, which entered this game shooting nearly 40 percent from three-point land on the season, knocked down just three of their 23 triple tries. Smart’s team, which features tremendous length and speed, made life hell on the defensive end of the floor and was able to impose its will on the contest from the jump.
That's a definitive win for Shaka Smart. Crushes Kansas. Changing the narrative in real time.
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) January 2, 2021
This kind of victory is a resume-building statement win for Texas, which now has to be taken seriously as a national title contender. Few teams have found a way to win at Allen Fieldhouse since Self took over as Kansas’ head coach in 2003, let alone dominate as the Longhorns did, but this is far from the only signature victory on Texas’ resume.
Smart put together a strong non-conference schedule for Texas and it has lived up to the challenge, scoring neutral site wins over Indiana and North Carolina as part of an 8-1 start to the season. The lone defeat on Texas’ resume is a four-point home defeat against Villanova, which is a national title contender in its own right.
The Big 12 will be a beast to navigate as Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia are all currently top-10 teams while Oklahoma State, TCU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech all could make a push for a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Texas demonstrated today that they belong in the top tier of the league and that they are a complete team that needs to be in the national title conversation.
For more NCAA basketball news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.