Coming off of another mediocre season, which saw the 20-12 Texas Longhorns eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament, head coach Shaka Smart and his squad open up the 2016-17 campaign with high hopes, ranked 23rd in the nation by the AP Poll. Despite questions surrounding this team’s ability to contend for a league or NCAA championship, Smart seems to have his team prepared another year. Here are five things to watch as the Longhorns prepare to embark on their 2016-2017 campaign:
Very Soft Preseason Schedule
The Longhorns will surely look to benefit from a relatively easy preseason schedule before being put through the rigor that is the Big-12 conference once again. After opening up against Incarnate Word and Louisiana Monroe, Texas should have little concerns until their big matchup with Michigan on December 6th. Look for Shaka Smart to have his team in a very good position come their first league matchup against Kansas State with two or fewer losses.
Defending the Home Court Key in Big-12 Play
Perhaps the biggest knock on the Longhorns last year was their inability to come up with big wins at home as well as steal wins on the road. After finishing a dead .500 at 6-6 in BIG-12 play last year, the Longhorns will need to concentrate their efforts on protecting their home court against the better league opponents:, West Virginia, Oklahoma, in order to be competitive come February.
Staying Healthy is a Must
Although it may be a somber subject for the Longhorns fans reading this, we must note that the loss of Cameron Ridley was a major issue for the club last season. While averaging nearly a double-double every night, the senior big man was the literally the rock that held together the Longhorns defense before his injury. Maintaining a healthy squad will surely be an indicator of Texas’s success this year.
Must-win games in conference
Although other major conferences such as the ACC and PAC-12 may beg to differ, many analysts believe that the BIG-12 is the strongest conference in basketball this year, which puts even more importance on Texas avoiding being upset in league play. Again, in order to be in the picture for a conference championship Texas will have little margin for error against opponents like Texas Tech and TCU.
How does Shaka Smart perform?
The young head coach is now set to enter his second full season as head coach at the University of Texas, his first job at a major university. This encompasses not only the team on the court, but also how he recruits to the university, whether or not he is able to compete for a conference championship, etc. While Smart is surely full of confidence, it will be interesting to evaluate his team in his second full season at the helm, who is currently projected to be a 7-seed in the NCAA tournament according to Joe Lunardi.
Living in Central Texas has its perks, including but not limited to incredible weather and access to the best barbecue in the country. But if one were to nitpick, we don’t have an ocean. Namely, there’s nowhere near here to surf. Well, those days are almost over. NLand Surf Park is coming to Austin!
Opening sometime this year in Del Valle, NLand purports to be the most inclusive inland surfing spot in North America, featuring 11 surfing areas at four levels of expertise, from beginner to pro.
Created by engineer and surfer Doug Coors and using technology from Spanish firm Wavegarden, NLand is the product of 15 years of trial and error to create seamless waves that break just as perfectly as the real thing. The waves will be one, three, and six feet, breaking every 60 seconds and will allow riders up to 35 seconds on each one. Never surfed before, or looking to simply perfect your skills? NLand promises a “surf school,” where pros will share tips and give hands-on advice.
Perhaps most importantly, NLand Surf Park wants to create a ski-slope-like atmosphere, but for surfing. Everyone knows that après-ski is the reward at the end of a long day on the slopes, and NLand hopes to provide that same type of experience, for riders and those who just want to lay on a beach and watch.
Pricing hasn’t been posted yet, but in an interview late last year, Coors said, “We are still tinkering with our pricing models, but it will be similar to a day of skiing or snowboarding.” At press time there were reports that the park is having permitting issues and the wave machine is being repaired. We may have to wait a bit longer for the grand opening (it was originally scheduled to open this spring) but we are going to stay optimistic. Study up on your surfer slang people, it’s almost time to catch a wave.
Above: A rendering of NLand Surf Park. Image courtesy of NLand Surf Park.
I didn’t think much of the question—I can run a marathon in heels higher than the ones I was wearing when I walked into K1 Speed Austin. And I’d been in a go-kart before… how hard could it be? The answer, as it turned out, was K1 racing was hard enough for me to have to ask for help putting my helmet on, but not so hard that I had to curse my favorite boots.
I’m not exactly a speed demon; I’m more of a car-dancer which is probably the product of growing up in a city where ‘driving’ primarily consists of stop-and-go traffic on I-35. Naturally, getting behind the wheel of a K1 Speed European-style 20hp electric kart made me a bit nervous. With top speeds up to 45 mph, and a track with turns tighter than a Herve Leger bandage dress, this is definitely more thrilling than the amusement park go-karts I was expecting.
This Monday (Feb 15th), K1 Speed is hosting a special event, The Pirelli World Challenge Driver Shootout. Some lucky fans will be able to race with their favorite pro drivers and there will also be a meet and greet!
Today’s prize is an opportunity to see the holiday lights in Austin like you’ve never seen them before! Take a ride in a helicopter and see what all the lights look like from hundreds of feet above the city!
It’s also special because the evening helicopter tours only fly for the holiday light tours and on Valentine’s weekend, so this is a rare treat.
Today’s winner will receive a Holiday Lights Santa Short Tour for two people.
27 days until kickoff! If you can’t wait that long to get a glimpse at the Longhorns, today is your lucky day!
Texas Athletics invites fans to the 2015 Texas Football Fan Day on Sunday, Aug. 9 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The day’s activities start at 9:45 a.m. with an open practice. This is the first opportunity for fans to get a glimpse of the Longhorns before the season opener vs. Notre Dame in South Bend.
Beginning at noon, fans will have an opportunity for photo ops with some of Texas’ greatest traditions: BEVO XIV, Smokey the Cannon, Texas Cheer and Pom, Hook ‘Em, AirHorn, and the world’s largest Hook ‘Em inflatable (weather permitting).
Following practice, fans are encouraged to head to the Red McCombs Red Zone for autographs from the 2015 Texas Football team and assistant coaches. Photos with Coach Strong will be taken by Texas Athletics personnel; fans will be given information on how to download the FREE photos online. Autographs will start at 1:30 p.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m.
Special 18″x24″ commemorative posters to be used for autographs will be provided to fans (Limit one poster per person). As a reminder, posters featuring student-athlete autographs may not be sold per NCAA rules. No outside items (including footballs, T-shirts, tickets, etc.) may be brought in for autographs. Photos with players and assistant coaches are also not permitted.
All autographs and activities are FREE and on a first-come, first-served basis. Large crowds are expected so please prepare accordingly. Fans may access the Red McCombs Red Zone following the conclusion of the open practice at noon.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
9 a.m.: Gates (1, 7, 27, 28, 32) on the east and west sides open. Stadium map
9:45 a.m.: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
1:30-3:30 p.m.: Red McCombs Red Zone (enter Gates 14 and 16 following practice) Fan Day map
Autographs with Texas Football players and assistant coaches
If you’re looking to stamp your “Official Texan” tour card, attending a stock car race should definitely be on your list.
The KVET 250 revs up this Saturday at Central Texas Speedway, and we’re PUMPED about it. We visited the track last week to race go-karts and in doing so, we got the opportunity to checkout the raceway. They’ve got ample parking, a full bar (that overlooks the pit area), and a track that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Watch the best drivers in the South battle door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper this weekend at Central Texas Speedway. Use promo code RACE365 to get 50% OFF any online race ticket. Kids 12 and under get in FREE! Redeem the code by clicking the button below:
T-minus 14 days until Morgan Wade, Silver Medalist, 2014 Austin X-Games BMX Big Air winner and Friends roll into town for this years games in Austin, and thanks to H-E-B and AXE you have a chance to check out the experience first hand!
Do you have the AXE confidence? You know that fresh feeling AXE gives you, making you feel like you can conquer the world, get that girl’s phone number, or in this case, eat sandwiches in the pouring rain?
Local sandwich shop owner and BMX champ, Aaron Ross doesn’t let anything get between him and a grilled cheese. Armed with AXE, he’s confident and ready for anything.
With the AXE confidence you can do anything, even attend X Games Austin. Here’s the rundown on how you can rub elbows with X Games medalist, Morgan Wade and other athletes. On the day of the event (May 30th & May 31st – Austin) purchase any AXE product at the H-E-B stores of the event (shown below) and show your receipt to have your picture taken with the athletes and be entered to win tickets to X Games. It’s that simple.
You could win: A 3-Day Experience Pass (worth $109) that includes one wristband good for all 3 days to gain access to the COTA grounds, festival and live music, including the new Infield Super Stage. First come, first served viewing of BMX Dirt, BMX and Skate Vert, Moto X Enduro X, Speed and Style and Quarterpipe, Off-Road Truck Racing, Major League Gaming and BMX, Skate and Big Air Doubles. There will be two winners per store event. There will also be chances to win merchandise like t-shirts and hats.
May 30 (4:00 – 6:00) – 6900 Brodie Ln. Austin, TX 78745 May 31 (1:00 – 3:00) – 500 Canyon Ridge Dr. Austin, TX 78753
To learn more about the event, watch styling videos and redeem $2.00 off digital coupon, visit the H-E-B Dare To Do Website.
Trifecta is back at it again this year, celebrating the running of the derby! Enjoy mint juleps on the patio then step inside to watch the races on one of their six big screens.
$10 gets you into the party and also includes complimentary appetizers and an official Kentucky Derby signature glass.
Trifecta offers 99+ bourbons (yes, many from Kentucky), making it the perfect place to celebrate in style. Speaking of style, they encourage attendants to “dress to impress,” with big hats and seersucker suits!
We’re giving away ten FREE tickets to the event, enter below!
If you’re not playing soccer acting as a real life “bubble boy” you’re doing it wrong. This game started in New Zealand and has made it’s way all the way to Austin, Texas.
No soccer skills required. All you have to do is be ready to suit up in the massive bubble and run around!
Let’s all file this one under something you need to do once in your life!
To get the best rates, grab a bunch of friends and reserve for a group (groups start at 12 people or more). They do everything from meet ups, birthdays, celebrations with friends, corporate events and more!