The Texas basketball program was widely considered a bubble team for the NCAA tournament. Well, that was before their efforts last night. The Longhorns came into the Big 12 tournament looking to solidify their spot in the Big Dance. However, they faced an unruly test against Kansas.
Kansas defeated Texas, 65-57, and caused even more uncertainty about head coach Shaka Smart’s future.
Shaka Smart has been the Longhorn’s head coach since 2015, but his job title may be in jeopardy after yesterday’s loss. Smart’s Longhorns finished the season with a 16-16 overall record and a mediocre conference record of 8-10 which put them in the Big 12’s sixth-spot.
In the past three years, Smart’s Longhorn’s have placed above .500 only once. Also during Smart’s tenure, Texas has yet to score a win during March Madness. However, it is worth noting that since accepting the head coaching position Smart has brought the team to two tournament berths, but has nothing to show for it.
With yesterday’s unfortunate loss, Texas’ season seems to be over and Smart may be out of a job.
Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte refused to give an update on Smart’s job security following the loss to Kansas. According to Stadium, Del Conte stated, “I won’t comment on that. We’re right in the middle of the season. That’s crazy. Shaka’s our coach. He’s an awesome coach. … That’s ludicrous talk.”
However, Del Conte’s, comments have some cause for concern. He danced around the basic question on whether Smart will continue to coach the Longhorns next season. His refusal to give a direct answer causes major speculation for the Texas basketball program.
Will the Longhorns continue with Smart as their head coach or will they look at other options this offseason?