Of course, with Barnes entering the year with a bit more heat under his collar after the Longhorns missing the NCAA Tournament in 2012-2013, the question becomes: will this schedule be too difficult for Texas to grab enough non-con wins. But perhaps the best way to look at it is this way: the Longhorns will have plenty of chances to log the all-important big non-conference win that could help come tourney time, while also battle-testing Texas for Big 12 Conference play.
Just looking at the schedule, the biggest period stands out on Dec. 18 and 21, when Texas will play back-to-back games at North Carolina and at home against Michigan State. According to a recent post-NBA entry poll on SI.com, Luke Winn has those teams rated as the No. 9 and No. 2 squads in the country, respectively.
Michigan State figures to be as physical as Tom Izzo's squads typically are, but with a fully healthy Gary Harris, potentially an All-Big 10 guard also in the mix. And while the Longhorns blitzed the Tar Heels at the Frank Erwin Center this year, Carolina improved drastically as the season went on. They'll also beef up their primary weak spot — the low post — with two top-50 players, including five-star Isaiah Hicks.
Temple is typically a quality opponent, but the sleeper team here is Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks were quite possibly the best team in Texas a year ago, going 27-5 and boasting the nation's No. 12 defense in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. The Lumberjacks lose three of their top players, but teams that typically play great defense often carry that over regardless of personnel.
And lastly, there's the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Those matchups haven't been announced, and Texas will play two regional games before traveling to Kansas City to take part in a four-team, two-day mini-tournament with 2013 Final Four participant Wichita State, BYU and DePaul. DePaul was the worst of the group, going 11-21 last year, while BYU won 24 games a year ago. Texas will play two of those three teams — one in a semifinal matchup and another in either the championship game or a consolation game.
The Longhorns are still awaiting two additional dates and opponents to finalize the non-conference schedule. The first date will be Texas's season-opener, while the other will likely be a home contest in early December. The Big 12 Conference slate hasn't been released as of yet.
Texas Basketball 2013-2014 Non-Conference Schedule
Home Games in Bold
Nov. 12 — CBE Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round
Nov. 15 — Stephen F. Austin
Nov. 18 — CBE Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round
Nov. 25 — CBE Hall of Fame Classic Semifinal Round (BYU, DePaul or Wichita State), Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Nov. 26 — CBE Hall of Fame Classic Consolation/Championship Rounds, Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Nov. 29 — UT Arlington
Dec. 7 — At Temple
Dec. 14 — Texas State
Dec. 18 — At North Carolina
Dec. 21 — Michigan State
Dec. 30 — Rice