Cody from Burnt Orange Nation was kind enough to answer some questions about tonight's tilt in Morgantown. Let's get started, shall we?
Matt: What were the expectations for Texas in the first year of the Shaka Smart era? Have you guys met or exceeded them so far?
Cody: I think the general expectations for Shaka Smart entering his first season was for an NCAA Tourney win. Smart inherited a team loaded with talent and experience, so that should be expected with any coach. But this is also Smart's first season in the brutal Big 12, and until he's able to get an entire roster of guys that he handpicked himself, it's hard to have too lofty of expectations.
In terms of meeting or exceeding expectations so far, I think that's broken up into two categories: Recruiting and wins. In terms of recruiting, I think Smart has tremendously exceeded to this point, as he brought along 4-star SF Tevin Mack, and has landed 4-star PG Jacob Young, 4-star C James Banks, and 5-star CG and All-American Andrew Jones. Considering he hasn't really accomplished anything on the hardwood in Austin yet, that's quite a feat. But as far as wins, go, I'm not sure anyone expected a 11-6 start. But, of course, there's a strong case to be made that Texas would be 14-3 and on a 12-game win streak had Cameron Ridley not broken his foot.
Matt: How has Shaka gone about installing the "Havoc" press that he made famous at VCU? Is Texas a pure pressure team or has he been making the transition slowly?
Cody: Shaka hasn't exactly instilled "Havoc" at Texas, but the Horns certainly press more than they have in recent years. It's been more of a slow transition, which hasn't been aided much by Texas' struggles from beyond the arc, which doesn't really allow them to establish the press. To put it simply, it's far from the product you see from Press Virginia.
Matt: Speaking of pressure, well, you know. How do you think Texas stacks up against the chaos that is "Press Virginia?"
Cody: Texas' success against WVU's press largely depends on how well the guards can survive what seems to be a controlled chaos virtually every second of the game. I'm confident that Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix will be able to keep their cool and find success, but what could really cost the Longhorns is how rattled the freshmen -- Eric Davis Jr., Tevin Mack, and Kerwin Roach Jr. -- get with bodies flying around. I think this plays out favorably for WVU, and should ultimately be the difference in the game since Smart plays the freshmen so consistently.
Matt: Which Longhorns should WVU fans be on the look out for on Wednesday night?
Cody: If Texas has a snowball's chance in hell Wednesday night, Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix will be the reason. Taylor is starting to look more and more like one of the best point guards in the country, both as a facilitator and scorer. Felix, on the other hand, has proven he can absolutely go off on teams offensively, but just hasn't managed to do so consistently. If Eric Davis Jr. can avoid getting shaken by the press and the crowd and find some open looks from deep, he could also have a huge say if the outcome.
Matt: How does this one shake out?
Cody: Road wins in the Big 12 are seemingly impossible to come by these days, and I don't see Texas being an exception against West Virginia. The Longhorns have more than enough talent and experience to keep this one close, but between the TOs I expect to come from the young guards, and the tremendous mismatch Devin Williams and Jonathan Holton will have inside over Texas, I expect a 82-73 Mountaineers win.
Matt: Would you rather fight one Colt McCoy sized duck or 100 duck sized Colt McCoys?
Cody: To me, this is a numbers game, and 100 duck-size Colt McCoys would probably get the better of me. Plus, a Colt McCoy sized duck wouldn't have any hands, so I'd guess I could take the duck down with only some mild exhaustion.