Asked what beating No. 10 North Carolina and No. 12 Michigan State in successive games (Saturday and Tuesday) would do for his second-ranked Texas Longhorns, coach Rick Barnes brushed off anything December.
Texas and Carolina tip at 1 p.m. Saturday in the first basketball game played at Cowboys Stadium.
"I still think in December there’s not a lot to get excited about other than your improvement. That’s what we look at," Barnes said. "Obviously, we want to win games, that’s what we play them for, but when we leave that game or the next game, we will know whether or not we were able to play up to our potential as a team, so that’s what we base it on. We’re not going to get overly excited in December about too much of anything because, again, I can’t imagine even after a game Saturday or any game between now and probably some time in the middle of January, I hope we’re not even anywhere close to being as good as we can be."
But, innocent bystander Bill Self, coach of the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks, said strong showings against a perennial power now can go a long way to infusing a team with confidence, especially younger players such as Texas' key freshmen guards Avery Bradley, J'Covan Brown (who might be out with a sprained ankle) and guard/forward Jordan Hamilton.
"I do think you can look at certain games as turning points where it could either help you a lot or maybe go the other direction," Self said. "Although, I would think nine out of 10 times it’s probably a positive thing because you’ll get guys to play at a level higher than what they played because you never felt that adrenaline rush yet in certain games. I’m excited for my young guys to play in a game like that to see what they can do, but I think that will be a big game for the Longhorns."