The Texas Longhorns‘ head coach, Rick Barnes was crowned Big 12 Coach of the Year last season after a surprising 24-11 finish despite being projected to finish eighth in a 10-team conference. If he lives up to the expectations he has placed upon himself and the program for next season, the Big 12 COY should once again be awarded to the Longhorns’ coach.
As part of his rejuvenation of the Texas basketball program, Barnes has retained every member of a very experienced, talented and competitive roster as well as adding the nation’s No. 86 recruit, Jordan Barnett and the No. 2 recruit, Myles Turner. Both add even more size to an already towering Longhorns’ lineup along with bringing their scoring abilities to Austin, which was the one glaring weakness for Texas last season.
That said, it looks like the basketball woes in Austin have been answered and with the emergence of point guard Isaiah Taylor and big man Cameron Ridley, who both became staples for the team. But much more than that, Texas is now being considered as contenders for a national championship next season with a Final Four appearance being an expectation.
The rest of the Big 12, outside of Kansas, doesn’t look to have much different of an outcome than they had last season and although the Jayhawks normally dominate the conference, Texas looks to have that spot secured next season. Again, if Barnes lives up to the expectations, he should bring a Big 12 Championship to Texas along with a deep tournament run. With yet another massive step in the right direction, there’s no way you could give anybody else the Big 12 COY award. It’s Barnes’ to lose at this point.