411OnTheForty: Men’s basketball ranked No. 13

09 Dec By
The Texas men's basketball team is No. 13 in the newest Associated Press poll, its highest ranking since Shaka Smart took over as head coach (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas men's basketball team earned its highest ranking under head coach Shaka Smart when the Longhorns moved up to No. 13 in the latest Associated Press (AP) top 25 poll.

Winning the Camping World Maui Jim Invitational at the beginning of the week featured wins over blueblood programs such as Indiana and North Carolina, before the Horns fell Sunday to then-No. 12/3 Villanova in Austin, falling by just four points.

In four of the last five seasons, Texas had spent time ranked, but never made it any higher than No. 17. Headed into this past week, the Longhorns were sitting at No. 17, with four non-conference games ahead, three of which they won.

Also ranked in the poll were Big 12 rivals Baylor (3-0) at No. 2, Kansas (No. 5), West Virginia (No. 11) and Texas Tech (No. 17). Oklahoma State and Oklahoma each received votes, as well.

Conference play starts for Texas at 2 p.m. Sunday in a high-profile road matchup against Baylor that will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. Texas State comes to the Frank Erwin Center Dec. 9.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. Twitter: @ZayasRiley