Welcome to the Texas Longhorns men's basketball review. This will be a 3 part series with part 1 consisting of a detailed look into the 2015-2016 season. The second part will focus on the 2016-2017 season, and the third part will address the future of the Big 12 and Texas' place in the landscape of college basketball.

The Season

The 2015-16 Texas Longhorns season ended on a half-court buzzer beater against Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Texas Longhorns finished 20-13.

Overall Grade: B

Initially I was willing to give the Longhorns a B+ heading into the NCAA Tournament. While some may see it as unfair that the Longhorns dropped in grade after the first round tournament loss, the grader suggests otherwise. Too many times late in the season the Longhorns would find themselves in double-digit deficits. Sometimes they would be able to fight back (Oklahoma and Northern Iowa) while other times they would just get worked into a convincing loss (Baylor (x2), Kansas). However, many times from mid-February until the end of the season, the Texas Longhorns would play flat until something sparked them. It happened in the Oklahoma game, similarly in the Oklahoma State game, and then in the Northern Iowa game. Credit Coach Smart for finding these in-game sparks but the spark should have been there before tip off.

Player of the Year: Isaiah Taylor

There is no question that Isaiah Taylor was the key for the Longhorns in 2015-2016. Taylor improved his PPG average 2 points from last season, increasing his assists and lowering his turnovers per game as well. He made a big step forward and became a player that is more reliable with the ball.

Underrated Players: The Seniors

The Senior Class of 2016 will not be remembered for wins nor for greatness, however they will be remembered for adaptability and perseverance. I witnessed the first game of the 2012-2013 campaign at the Drum ready to cover my first Texas basketball game (against Fresno State). I couldn't have been happier.

Instead, I got a nail biter of a team that finished 11-19 that season.

That wasn't the worst part. The real crusher came 10 days later when Chaminade whipped up on Texas by 13 points. This was the beginning of the end for Rick Barnes. However, the seniors on the team did not quit.

Not a single player from the 2012 recruiting class transferred to another college basketball program. The only departure was Ioannis Papapetrou who left to play professional basketball in his native Greece. Compare that to 2011 where everyone but Jonathan Holmes left the program.

It's unfortunate that for most of the senior class, their college basketball careers ended on an impossible shot. Witnessing that event, with only 1 or 2 of them realistically having any shot at the NBA, I couldn't help but think back to my first night at the Erwin Center. It's been a long time since 2012 and Texas basketball has changed tremendously over the course of the last four years. They weren't the greatest class of seniors, but they stuck it out and played with heart the entire time. That's something that won't go in the record books, but hopefully keeps them in the good graces of Longhorns fans.

Good Luck to Demarcus Holland, Javan Felix, Connor Lammert, Prince Ibeh, and Big Cam Ridley. College basketball misses players like you. Thank you.

Overrated Player?

Tevin Mack is the first player that Shaka Smart recruited and signed in his tenure as head coach at the University of Texas. Mack was supposed to be the type of player Texas fans thought would help move the program forward, but his first year left many scratching their heads. He was not afraid to take the 3 point shot, which is a good thing to have on a team ranked near the bottom in the NCAA in 3 point field goals. However, he made only around 30% of his 3 point shots. Some games, like those against UT-San Antonio and at Iowa State, he contributed immensely. In numerous games he would go cold and have nothing to offer. It's difficult to fault a freshman for being overrated but Mack was the one recruit Shaka Smart actually wanted, and being 3rd best of the Fab 3 was disappointing. With Connor Lammert leaving, Tevin Mack would be the only small forward on the roster.

Hopefully it gets better, but the first year was more flash than substance.