When he landed at Texas ahead of the 2015-16 season, Shaka Smart seemed like a can’t miss hire. He helped make VCU one of the most impressive and fun mid-majors in the country.
The Longhorns have one of the biggest athletic departments in the country, fueled by the well-funded football program. As a state, Texas is known for football, but it also produces plenty of basketball talent. Rick Barnes proved that you could recruit top talent and have some success in Austin. Smart seemed primed to take the next step.
That hasn’t happened. While the Longhorns haven’t been a total disaster, they’ve fallen well short of expectations. Smart is 85-76 overall at Texas. The team made two NCAA Tournaments, in his first and third seasons there, but lost in the Round of 64 both times.
The team is likely looking at a third missed tournament in five years under Shaka Smart. The team is 14-11, with a 4-8 record in the Big 12. Tonight, the team hosts in-state and conference rival TCU, which is neck-and-neck with the Longhorns in the standings. There aren’t many Longhorn fans who bothered to show up to the Frank Erwin Center.
Under 10 minutes on the pregame clock at the Erwin Center before Texas takes on TCU at the top of the hour. pic.twitter.com/RFEgv891SR
— Jeff Howe (@JeffHowe247) February 20, 2020
The Texas student section is ready with about 4 minutes to tip. Good grief. pic.twitter.com/MFyXwLwcTa
— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) February 20, 2020
There is increasing speculation that this season could be Smart’s last at Texas, barring a huge turnaround over the next month. Some have already floated the idea of John Beilein, who resigned as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers today, as the next coach of the Longhorns.
The Longhorns trail the Horned Frogs 9-2 early on.