This week we’re previewing the 2012-2013 Texas Longhorns basketball team. Over the past two days we’ve broken down the various positional groupings. Today we’ll breakdown a Texas schedule filled with potential challenges and opportunity.
As is always the case with the Texas Longhorns basketball team, there are a few non-conference tilts about half-way through the schedule prior to conference play that will give Rick Barnes and his staff a good idea of where the team stands.
The November schedule for the Longhorns is fairly tame, with the most challenging games of the month coming up against the winner of the USC Trojans – Illinois Fighting Illini match-up during the semi-finals of the Maui Classic mid-month, neither of whom are ranked in the USA Today pre-season top 25.
The pace gets ratcheted up substantially in December as Texas faces off with the UCLA Bruins in Houston on Saturday the 8th, take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the most anticipated home game of the season on Wednesday the 19th, and travel to East Lansing just three days later to take on the Michigan State Spartans.
If Texas can somehow emerge from December with a positive split of these three marquee match-ups it could generate some extremely positive momentum headed into the holiday break.
Picked fourth in the pre-season Big 12 coaches’ poll, Texas will face two of the three teams predicted to finish ahead of them in January 2013. After the holidays, the Longhorns tip of the Big 12 conference slate with a road trip to Waco on Saturday, January 5th to take on the Baylor Bears then return to Austin for their first home conference game against the West Virginia Mountaineers four days later.
The premier match-up of January for Texas, however, comes when the Kansas Jayhawks arrive in town on the 19th for a Saturday afternoon tip at the Erwin Center. This game will be a true momentum check for a Longhorn team that could reasonably be off to a 3-0 start in conference play, given they rise to the occasion and manage to knock off Baylor on the road.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys, who should be vastly improved this season and are picked to finish third in the conference by the coaches, make a visit in Austin to highlight the February schedule which sees the Longhorns travel to Lawrence just a week later for their second tilt with the Jayhawks.
After a mundane finish to February, the conference season ends with a bang as Texas travels to Stillwater for a second test against the Cowboys on March 2nd and returns home for what could be the most telling game of the Big 12 schedule against Baylor two days later on March 4th.
There are some serious back-to-backs on this schedule that would test even the most experienced and talented teams, much less one of Texas’ ilk that will require huge performances from unproven talent to be competitive with consistency.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page. Kris is also the host of the Rant Sports College Football Hour on the TSC Radio Network on Sunday evenings at 8 Central Time and Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.