A tradition of the Jewish people involves the youngest person at the Passover Seder to sing “The Four Questions.”
As the youngest person in my entire extended Jewish family, every year I have the honor of performing this tradition.
The basis of “The Four Questions” revolves around the lyric “Mah nishtanah ha-lahylah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-layloht?” In other words, “Why is this night different than all other nights?”
It is different for many reasons, including eating matzah — thin, bland sheets of cardboard (I mean unleavened bread).
At Texas, the University has some nights that are different than other nights. These are honored by lighting the Tower burnt orange.
In addition to other occasions, it is lit when a class graduates, on the University’s birthday and every time the football team wins — even if it’s against Florida Atlantic. According to the University, Saturday was just like every other night.
But it wasn’t.
The Longhorns men’s basketball team beat then-No. 2 Kansas in Lawrence in possibly the biggest regular season win in Texas history. And the University landmark remained bathed in its normal white light.
In the words of the ESPN NFL analysts, “C’mon man!”
Texas is becoming a basketball school. It’s about time to recognize it.
Yes, football is and always will be king here, but basketball is becoming much more relevant in Austin.
Don’t believe me? Then you haven’t been to the Frank Erwin Center recently. In the Longhorns’ last three home games, “the drum” has been bumping. Exciting games against UConn, Oklahoma and Texas A&M have all been sold out.
Students with a Longhorn All-Sports Pass were being turned down at the door an hour before the A&M game. Scalpers were outside selling tickets for good money.
Following the win against Kansas, there was plenty of buzz throughout Austin about the Longhorns.
It’s easy to get excited about this basketball team. If the football team’s poor season doesn’t bring extra enthusiasm, the team that Rick Barnes has compiled will.
Almost every team Barnes has put together since coming to Texas in 1998 has been one worth watching. He is responsible for making Texas basketball relevant not only in the Big 12 but on the national level as well.
He has done this by not just bringing in top recruits from Texas, but also stretching into every corner of the country and even internationally. He gets players who are also being recruited by Connecticut, Villanova, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kansas and more. In addition, he has developed these players and created one of the top basketball programs in the nation.
In 12 years at Texas, he has taken the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament 12 times with a 13th only a couple months away.
Barnes has had 13 players drafted since 1999 and could possibly add three more following this season. Only four Longhorns were drafted from 1990-98.
Every Texas basketball game is now on television.
The facilities are known as some of the best in the country.
And how about those new uniforms?
Big things continue to loom for Texas basketball. Barnes’ job, which ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb calls the best job in the country, is his until he is ready to leave.
Prior to the Barnes era, Texas basketball never saw days like this.
A collapse similar to last year’s seems unlikely. Even if some of the underclassmen choose to go to the NBA, the Longhorns will be restocked with four four-star recruits and one five-star recruit on board for next year. Earlier in the month, the Longhorns secured the top center in the 2012 class.
Maybe by then, they will begin lighting the Tower orange for the basketball team and make big wins a little bit different than all other nights.