And.....it's go time.
After a long off-season following the heartbreaking--yet not soulcrushing--loss to Duke in Greensboro, it is finally time for the Longhorns to get back on the court. We've been beating the drum for the past few months, but this is going to be a special team and a special season. Today will be our first look at the 'Horns as they start their murderous schedule against the not-so-murderous Anteaters of UC-Irvine. Ryan Clarke of Longhorn Roadtrip--AKA "The Man"--has written an excellent preview for the game.
After the jump, I've catalogued a list of links and articles from the off-season for your perusement. If you dont read anything else, make sure you read the extensive Roundball Roundtable...
1) Greensboro Trip Recap: This was my recap from the Greensboro Regional. It might help recalibrate your memories over our last glimpse at this team.
3) Hyperizers and UT Basketball: I unveil the "Hyperizers" comparison involving the new players on the roster.
4) "Confession": An explanation of why you should be more excited over basketball instead of football.
5) Player Haters (Basket)Ball: An analysis--and attempted refutation--of the potential stumbling blocks for the basketball team this season.
6) BON Roundball Roundtable: This is the absolute must-read. Four BON authors take their turns answering the key questions about this team moving forward.
7) Re-examining last year's losses: In this post, I looked at each of UT's losses last season and explained how AJ Abrams had a really large effect on last year's team, especially in the close wins and losses.
8) Starting Lineup Roundtable: PB smacks me down after I start raising questions over the news over Justin Mason rejoining the starting lineup.
I wanted to end by reposting our answers to the final question in the Roundball Roundtable. I couldnt think of a better way to get everyone fired up for the season. To this day, Wiggo's answer still gives me chills.
7) Ok, let's wrap this up...any random scattershots or comments you want to make about the team, season, etc?
Txtwstr7: I want to reiterate a point that's been made across the interwebs. We've been "one player away" for seemingly forever. The phrase "if only ______ would have come back" has haunted this fanbase for years. But not this year. Instead of focusing on what we lost, the narrative for this season is solely built around what we have. From my perspective, what we have is the most talented and complete team of the Rick Barnes era. This team has a legitimate chance at immortality, and I cannot wait for the season to start.
GhostofBigRoy: Hallelujah for putting to rest the "if only" talk for at least one season. First time in forever. First time for me, actually. How about another one? Hallelujah. One more for good measure. Hallelujah. Okay, I'm into the realm of digression here.
I haven't seen this team together on the court yet, but I know deep in my heart that I'm absolutely going to love this basketball team in a way that I've never loved a Longhorn basketball team before. Growing up as an Illini basketball fan, the team that I've loved more than any other, by far, was the 2004-05 team that lost to North Carolina in the championship game. Truly a team that was greater than the sum of their parts. As for this Texas team, if Rick Barnes can manage to mold them into more than the formidable sum of their parts, I have a feeling the season could end even better than it did for my beloved Illini.
Awiggo: On BON, we've talked about what it will take for the basketball team to move to the next level. The next level where the football program has lived, realistically or not, for a long time. The next level where good is not good enough and great is expected every season. Rick Barnes' arrival and subsequent recruiting successes have made this discussion possible. The alignment of young talent combined with the decisions of Dex and James to stick around or another season make this season the arrival of that level.
The season ticket holders may still stay home till conference season, the press may not pay attention until after Pasadena, and even most BON readers may not feel the passion, but this is the season. If moving to the next level means demanding and expecting a championship, then let me say that is what I expect. I know that March is crazy and anything can happen in a single elimination tournament. However, if this team is healthy in March, then I expect to cut down the nets in Indianapolis.