Head coach Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns are back on the court in 2020 and already off to a hot start. The group dismantled Texas-Rio Grand Valley last Wednesday before inching out a win against Davidson on Monday.
The Longhorns pulled out a 78-76 victory over the Wildcats behind a complete team effort. Six different Texas players scored 10 points or more as Smart executed a strong gameplan down the stretch. Now ranked at No. 17 in the country, the Longhorns have made an early impression that they’ll be around for the long haul.
Amidst the start of the new college basketball year, Smart debuted a new look. Instead of going for his patented, shaved head appearance, he opted to let his hair grow for the beginning of the 2020 season.
Shaka Smart with hair is the definition of 2020 pic.twitter.com/R9H9vrt66b
— John Winchell (@sheldytweets) November 30, 2020
Never thought we’d see the day where Smart grew out the flow.
Naturally, social media erupted at the sight of the Texas coach’s new look.
A reminder: Shaka Smart has never lost with hair. Streak on the line with the game tied 76-all. pic.twitter.com/5OEf01Ghed
— Longhorn Republic (@LonghornPod) November 30, 2020
I still can’t get over Shaka Smart having hair
— Marty Mush (@marty_mush) November 30, 2020
Shaka Smart's hair? That ain't nothin but Ultraperm.
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) November 30, 2020
ok 2020 has been wild but not as wild as shaka smart with hair https://t.co/sKDW15jzB6
— Dijana Kunovac (@dijana_kunovac) November 30, 2020
New look or not, Smart and Texas look like serious contenders after Monday’s win. Although the team is just 2-0, the talent on this year’s Longhorns seems different than seasons past.
This is Shaka Smart’s best team in Austin. They have one of the nations top front-court’s with an experience backcourt. Long and super athletic. A very well played game. @TexasLonghorns with a great finish against a very good @DavidsonMBB team. @espn
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) November 30, 2020
2020 will ultimately be a big year for Smart at Texas. Since arriving in Austin from VCU to coach the Longhorns for the 2015-16 season, the team has won 20 games only twice and has yet to make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament. As long as college basketball continues safely, Smart could finally push past that marker this year. If he doesn’t, it’s possible that he might be looking for a new job come next year.
Texas returns to the court in the next round of the 2020 Camping World Maui Invitational at 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday. The Longhorns will play the winner of Indiana vs. Providence playing now on ESPN2.