What’s next for the Longhorns after stunning ACU loss

As head coach Shaka Smart and the three-seed Texas basketball took a 28-23 lead into the locker room at halftime in their Round of 64 meeting with the Abilene Christian Wildcats on the night of March 20, it didn’t seem too likely that their opposition would comeback. But ACU just wouldn’t go away as Texas couldn’t hang on down the stretch.

The once unimaginable that a team like Abilene Christian could down the Longhorns (entering the game as nine point favorites ahead of tip-off) actually transpired at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, this weekend. Abilene Christian head coach Joe Golding took complete advantage of a Longhorns team that wasn’t ready to go for this Round of 64 meeting.

Texas was coming off a high after their Big 12 Tournament crown after they beat head coach Mike Boynton and the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the final round last weekend. But Smart and the Longhorns were ultimately unable to capitalize on any momentum they built up last weekend with their Big 12 Tournament title in the “Big Dance”.

How Shaka Smart and Texas basketball were upset by ACU?

The loss to the Wildcats came for the Longhorns late in the night of March 20, by the final score of 53-52. A three-pointer made by redshirt junior shooting guard/wing Andrew Jones in the final minute of the second half looked like it could get the Longhorns the tight win over the Wildcats.

Yet, in the final offensive possession for the Wildcats, junior big man Joe Pleasant hit both of his free-throw attempts to re-take the lead for his team. Texas turned the ball over for the 23rd time on their final possession in the last second to seal the win for ACU.

This loss is hard to believe for Smart and the Longhorns as they look forward to an impossible 2021 offseason. Here’s a look into the next steps for the Longhorns as they try and grapple with the upset loss to ACU in the Round of 64.

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