Texas Nearly Sweeps Basketball Season

by Claire Coburn

This year in basketball was monumental for the State of Texas. Even with the loss of the Texas Tech Red Raiders to the Virginia Cavaliers in the men’s National Championship, a Texas team still made it to the National Championship, which hasn’t been done since 1984. Additionally, the University of Texas at Austin men’s basketball team lead by Shaka Smart brought home the National Invitation Tournament title after not making it to the NCAA tournament. Also, on the women’s side, the Baylor Bears claimed their third National Championship, beating Notre Dame. These three feats in this year’s basketball season showcase Texas’s growth in the sport and their ability to compete against basketball powerhouses like Duke and Gonzaga just to name a couple.

But what does this mean for the future of basketball in Texas? Will Texas finally become a powerhouse basketball state? Or did the three Texas universities listed above just coincidentally do extraordinarily well during this season? Starting with the University of Texas at Austin, their win at the NIT doesn’t actually mean a whole lot in the long run. Some hold the opinion that they would rather have Texas make it to the NCAA tournament and get floored in the first game than to win the entire NIT. And this opinion seems to be one that is held by more than a few Texas fans, as Shaka Smart’s job at Texas may be in grave danger. However, the University of Texas donors would have to buy out his hefty $15 million contract if they want in out early. Additionally, the replacement coach Texas has its eyes on, Chris Beard, just brought Texas Tech to its first National Championship visit in school history, and probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

As for the Baylor Bears women’s team, they have historically done fairly well in the sport, now having three National Championship titles under their belt. Kim Mulkey, the head coach, doesn’t seem to be itching to leave Baylor either, as she has not expressed moving on to any other schools or other endeavours.
The likelihood that Texas will ever have the overall success in basketball that they did this year again is highly unlikely, but it does foreshadow that from now on, Texas will be a force to be reckoned with in the sport, and could easily become a powerhouse basketball state in the near future.
Claire Coburn is an Intern Writer for Pub Sports Radio
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