For the first time in the program's history, the Texas Longhorns put their No. 1 ranking in both polls on the line tonight with an always tough road trip to Iowa State's Hilton Coliseum.
Texas (15-0, 1-0 in Big 12) took over the nation's top spot in both Top 25 polls on Monday. Big 12-rival Kansas opened the door with a loss at Tennessee on Sunday. Never before had Texas climbed to the top spot in either the ESPN/USA Today or Associated Press poll. Iowa State (11-4) will have the support of a vocal fan base in their conference opener. The Cyclones are 7-1 at home.
"We’ve got a long way to go and we’ve got to stay focused as a team," senior forward Damion James said. "We’ve got to realize that since we have that No. 1 by our name, the target on our back is bigger."
The Longhorns have won 14 of 15 games by double-digits. They clobbered Colorado at home in the Big 12 opener over the weekend, 103-86. After Iowa State, Texas A&M , which lost in a blowout Tuesday at No. 12 Kansas State, comes to Austin. Then Texas heads off for two challenging road stops at Kansas State (Jan. 18) and then Big East power, No. 15 Connecticut (Jan. 23).
"We’re just going to keep working hard," senior center Dexter Pittman said. "If we don’t keep working hard, our coaches will let us know. Being No. 1 right now doesn’t mean anything. Whoever is left when the tournament is over is the No. 1 that people remember."
Pittman then delivered the line of the day. Asked if being ranked No. 1 means Texas is officially a basketball school, the big man responded: "No. This is Colt McCoy’s school. He’s just letting us borrow it."