After the Texas Longhorns defeated the No. 14 North Carolina Tar Heels 86 – 83, Twitter and other social media sites exploded with claims that the 10 – 1 Longhorns are one of the best teams in the country. Calm down, Longhorns fans; Texas isn’t that good.
The Longhorns beat a UNC squad that tends to shine in the spotlight and underperform against lesser opposition. Just because North Carolina defeated the then No. 1 Michigan State Spartans, the then No. 3 Louisville Cardinals and the then No. 11 Kentucky Wildcats doesn’t mean that Texas is a top NCAA team. By that logic, the Belmont Bruins, who beat UNC, are a top 10 team in the country despite losing to the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits and the Denver Pioneers; the transitive property of math does not work in basketball.
Texas has played an extremely weak non-conference schedule and hasn’t impressed all that much. The lone loss to the BYU Cougars was on neutral grounds, but the narrow three-point wins to the Mercer Bears and the Texas-Arlington Mavericks were both at home. The Longhorns also struggled against one of the worst teams in the SEC, the Vanderbilt Commodores, and the 4-4 Temple Owls that they had to defeat by one in overtime. Texas continues to win, but their competition is going to get a lot harder.
With that being said, Texas isn’t a bad team; behind Isaiah Taylor and Jonathan Holmes, the Longhorns have an extremely high ceiling. Texas should easily make it to the 2014 NCAA Tournament as long as they don’t drop games to the lower Big 12 teams. The Longhorns are a college basketball team that will get better as the season progresses and will pull off an upset or two over Big 12 teams like the No. 18 Kansas Jayhawks, No. 7 Oklahoma State Cowboys, No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones and No. 12 Baylor Bears.
Texas has an opportunity to prove themselves against No. 5 Michigan State. This game, not the win over UNC, will determine whether they are a legitimate National Championship threat or just another tournament team; Texas is in for a wake-up call.