For the 2012-2013 Texas Longhorns, the season will be about understanding the opportunities that lie in front of them and taking advantage of as many of those as possible to rise back into the upper echelon not only of the Big 12 Conference, but college basketball as a whole.
Texas will be one of the youngest teams in the conference this season, for which almost exclusively sophomores and true freshmen will be playing the minutes. While this isn’t really an exception to the rule anymore with so many teams recruiting one-and-done players that hop to the NBA after one season, it’s a challenge regardless.
Rick Barnes does have the opportunity here, though, to show what he can do with a team that has an equal interior and perimeter presence for the first time in several years. The addition of Cam Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Ioannis Papapetrou to the front line gives Texas an inside punch to go along with talented guard play sure to be led by point guard Myck Kabongo.
The early part of the Texas schedule gives the Longhorns an opportunity to ease their way into the season without any substantial challenge. This is very positive for the younger players who won’t be immediately thrust into the fire against the nation’s best players.
A team this young will certainly face some difficulty, but a positive in disguise is that this team will grow in live action, and not in practice environments where the true challenges of Division I basketball just cannot be replicated.
If Texas can shock the basketball establishment– during December especially–and pull off a couple of signature wins against high-profile teams, the 2013 portion of the schedule could be intriguing.
As is always the case, the Texas athletic administration has given the team an opportunity to control their own destiny and better determine what their fate will be by the time March 2013 rolls around. Last season, this fate was determined for Texas, as they were given a first-round match-up against a Cincinnati Bearcats squad that was too much to handle.
On the Forty Acres, basketball success is measured in post-season achievement and this season will certainly be no different.
The opportunity to succeed is there.
Will Texas take advantage of it?
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.