AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Longhorns made a statement last Thanksgiving when it shocked North Carolina at the Las Vegas Invitational. However, as the season progressed, the 92-89 Texas win over the Tar Heels fizzled as the Longhorns failed to reach the NCAA Tournament.
For the first time since that UNC win, the Longhorns are back in the polls. Texas is ranked No. 22 in the AP and Coaches poll.
Shaka Smart’s team can make another statement this week at the 2K Empire Classic from Madison Square Garden. Only time will tell how this week’s results will impact the season.
“This is a big chapter for us going up there because depending on how you play it can be a really big springboard. Either way, it’s going to be something that we’re going to need to grow from. If we are able to create success, we don’t come back here thinking we’ve got it all figured it out. If we hit a bump in the road, we got to make sure we’re a team that’s capable of being really good. We’re putting everything we have into the first game,” Smart said.
Texas will take on Georgetown Thursday at 6 p.m. Duke and California will play following the UT game. If Texas wins, a likely match-up with No. 1 ranked Duke would be Friday at 6 p.m.