Texas Longhorns men's basketball


Texas Longhorns men's basketball

Infobox CBB Team
name = Texas Longhorns



logo_size = 150px
university = The University of Texas at Austin
conference = Big 12 Conference
conference_short = Big 12
division = South
city = Austin
stateabb = TX
state = Texas
coach = Rick Barnes
tenure = 10th
arena = Frank Erwin Center
capacity = 16,755
nickname = Longhorns
color1 = Burnt Orange
color2 = White
hex1 = CC5500
hex2 = FFFFFF
h_pattern_b=_bb_trimnumbersonwhite
h_body=CC5500
h_shorts=CC5500
h_pattern_s=_blanksides
a_pattern_b=_bb_whitetrimnumbers
a_body=CC5500
a_shorts=CC5500
a_pattern_s=_whitesides
NCAAchampion =
NCAAfinalfour = 1943, 1947, 2003
NCAAeliteeight = 1939, 1990, 2006, 2008
NCAAsweetsixteen = 1960, 1963, 1972, 1997, 2002, 2004
conference_tournament = Southwest Conference: 1994, 1995
conference_season = Southwest Conference: 1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1924, 1933, 1939, 1943, 1947, 1951, 1954, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995
Big 12 Conference: 1999, 2006, 2008

The Texas Longhorns men's basketball team represents The University of Texas at Austin in NCAA Division I men's basketball competition. The Longhorns currently compete in the Big 12 Conference.

The team has achieved national prominence under head coach Rick Barnes in recent years. Barnes has guided Texas to a school-record ten consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and a school-best nine consecutive 20-win seasons as of March 16, 2008.

Since 1977, the team has played its home games in the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, where it has compiled a record of 362-89 (.803) as of March 9, 2008.

History

The University of Texas began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in 1906.cite news | title=Timeline: A history of Texas basketball | format=HTML | work=Austin American-Statesman | publisher=Cox Enterprises | date=November 15 2005 |url=http://www.statesman.com/horns/content/sports/stories/longhorns/11/15timeline.html | accessdate=2007-04-18] The Longhorns rank 17th in total victories among all NCAA Division I college basketball programs and 26th in all-time win percentage among programs with at least 50 years in Division I, with an all-time win-loss record of 1563-935 (.626). [cite web |url=http://www.ncaa.org/library/records/basketball/m_basketball_records_book/2008/2008_m_basketball_records.pdf | format=PDF |title=NCAA 2008 Men's Basketball Record Book | work=NCAASports.com | accessdate=2008-02-16]

The Longhorns have won 27 total conference championships in men's basketball and have made 26 total appearances in the NCAA Tournament (32-29 overall record), reaching the NCAA Final Four three times (1943, 1947, 2003) and the NCAA Regional Finals (Elite Eight) seven times. As of March 28, 2008, Texas ranks second (tied with Oklahoma) among all Division I men's basketball programs for total NCAA Tournament games won without having won the national championship (32), trailing only Illinois (38). [cite web |url=http://www.ncaa.org/library/records/basketball/m_basketball_records_book/2007/2007_m_basketball_records.pdf | format=PDF | title=NCAA 2007 Men's Basketball Record Book | work=NCAASports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18]

Despite this record of historical success, Texas is not generally regarded as having a traditionally significant or powerful men's basketball program. The Longhorn program experienced substantial success during the early decades of its existence, but its success in the modern era is of relatively recent vintage. While Texas achieved some measures of national recognition during the tenures of head coaches Abe Lemons (1976-82) and Tom Penders (1988-98), the program has risen to its present level of prominence under the direction of current head coach Rick Barnes (1998-present). The preponderance of the Longhorns' previous men's basketball success took place prior to 1950.

The early years (1906-36)

1906-13

The Texas men's basketball program began in 1906 under the direction of Scotland native Magnus Mainland, a lineman for the Texas football team who organized, coached, and played on the University's first varsity basketball team. The Longhorns took the court for the first time on March 10, 1906, defeating the Baylor Bears 27-17 at outdoor Clark Field. [cite web |url=http://www.cah.utexas.edu/exhibits/EarlyYearsExhibit/page6.html | format=HTML | title=Foundation and Growth: Images of the University's Early Years: The first men's basketball team, 1906 | work=The Center for American History (The University of Texas at Austin) | accessdate=2007-04-19] Texas won seven of the eight games scheduled in its inaugural season. Due to inadequate funding, the University Athletics Council canceled the program after two seasons, leaving Texas without a basketball team for 1908, but revived the program in 1909, thanks in large part to the efforts of Longhorn player Morgan Vining.cite web | url=http://www.texassports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=16&url_article_id=2794&url_subchannel_id=&change_well_id=2 | title=Top 100 Moments in Texas Men's Basketball History | work=TexasSports.com | accessdate=2007-04-19] [cite web |url=http://www.texassports.com/index.php?s=&url_channel_id=16&url_subchannel_id=&url_article_id=3017&change_well_id=2 | title=Longhorns spotlight: A salute to the former lettermen | work=TexasSports.com | accessdate=2008-05-03] Language professor, German native, and Longhorn football head coach W. E. Metzenthin (1909-11) assumed head coaching duties for the three seasons following the re-establishment of the program. J. Burton Rix (1912) and Carl C. Taylor (1913) each coached for one season following Metzenthin's stint as head coach.

1914-27

L. Theo Bellmont, the first Athletics Director at The University of Texas, and a man instrumental in the formation of the Southwest Conference, took the reins as head coach from 1914-15 and directed the Longhorns to 11-0 and 14-0 records in the 1914 and 1915 seasons, respectively, as well as the inaugural Southwest Conference championship during the latter season. [cite web |url=http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/SS/xns2.html | format=HTML | title=Handbook of Texas Online: Southwest Conference | work=www.tsha.utexas.edu | accessdate=2007-04-19] [cite web |url=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/big12/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/04-guide-80-95.pdf | title=2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | work=big12sports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18] Bellmont's teams contributed 25 victories to a winning streak that would ultimately grow to 44 games. The Longhorns began the streak on February 15, 1913 with a 70-7 win at Southwestern and finished the season with two additional victories. After Theo Bellmont's teams extended the winning streak to 28 games, head coach Roy Henderson's team recorded Texas' third consecutive undefeated season in 1916 to extend the total to 40 consecutive victories. Head coach Eugene Van Gent's 1917 team added the final four wins to the streak before suffering a 24-18 loss to Rice in Austin. Texas' winning streak stood as the NCAA record for consecutive wins in men's basketball for almost 40 years (until Phil Woolpert's San Francisco teams won 60 consecutive games from 1955 to 1957), and the achievement today remains the fifth-longest winning streak in Division I history.

Following Van Gent's single year as head coach, Roy Henderson returned to coach Texas for two additional seasons, guiding the Longhorns to the SWC Championship in his final season (1919) — Texas' fourth basketball conference title during the five years the conference had existed. [cite web |url=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/big12/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/04-guide-80-95.pdf | title=2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | work=big12sports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18] From 1910 through 1919, Texas recorded an overall winning percentage of .789. Only three NCAA schools — California, Navy, and Wisconsin — recorded better winning percentages for that decade.

Berry M. Whitaker coached for a single season (1920) before Athletics Director L. Theo Bellmont designated him as the Longhorn football head coach. ["All-time Longhorn Head Coaches," [http://www.mackbrown-texasfootball.com/pages/winningtrads/coach_index.html mackbrown-texasfootball.com] ] Bellmont himself would assume basketball head coaching duties for two more seasons (1921 and 1922), leading Texas to its first 20-win season during his final year. [cite web |url=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/big12/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/04-guide-80-95.pdf | title=2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | work=big12sports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18]

Milton Romney directed the Longhorns to an unremarkable 11-7 season before Bellmont hired E.J. "Doc" Stewart from Clemson University to lead both the Longhorn football and basketball programs in 1923. A medical school graduate, a piano enthusiast, a former sportswriter, a one-time automobile dealership owner, and a veteran coach, E.J. Stewart quickly became a popular figure across diverse segments of the University population. His oratory eloquence landed him an open job offer from the head of the UT English Department. Some have speculated that Stewart's devotion to his varied non-athletic interests was the root cause of his football and basketball teams' decline in performance over his tenure. ["All-time Longhorn Head Coaches," [http://www.mackbrown-texasfootball.com/pages/winningtrads/coach_index.html mackbrown-texasfootball.com] ] Stewart led the Longhorn basketball team to a perfect 23-0 mark and SWC Championship during the 1924 season (after having coached the football team to an undefeated season as well), but his subsequent teams finished 17-8, 12-10, and 13-9. This slide coupled with his football teams' similar decline in performance resulted in the popular Stewart's controversial dismissal following the 1926-27 season.

1927-36

Excepting two noteworthy seasons, Texas maintained this level of relatively unremarkable performance in basketball for the better part of the next decade, producing only a single SWC Championship (1932-33) during the next nine seasons. Fred Walker (1927-31) coached the Longhorns following E.J. Stewart's dismissal, producing a 51-30 combined record during his four-year stint as head coach. Walker led Texas to an 18-2 overall record and 10-2 conference record during his second season. He was terminated following the Longhorns' disappointing 9-15 season in his fourth year. Ed Olle (1931-34), who had played for Texas under Stewart, coached Texas for three seasons after Walker's dismissal, leading the Longhorns to a 22-1 overall mark and SWC Championship during his second year. During his third year, Olle signaled that he would resign at the end of the season and recommended that freshman team and assistant varsity coach Marty Karow take his place. Karow (1934-36) would direct Texas to a combined 31-16 record over his two years as head coach. [cite web |url=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/big12/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/04-guide-80-95.pdf | title=2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | work=big12sports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18]

Jack Gray / H.C. "Bully" Gilstrap era (1937-51)

1951-76

1951-59

1959-76

Abe Lemons years (1976-82)

Following Leon Black's resignation, Texas athletics director and Longhorn head football coach Darrell Royal selected then-University of Texas-Pan American and former longtime Oklahoma City University head coach Abe Lemons as his primary target for the open position. Lemons and fellow Oklahoman Royal agreed to a five-year contract worth roughly $30,000 per year, and Lemons was subsequently introduced as the twentieth Longhorn head basketball coach in the program's 72 seasons.

Thanks to his exuberant personality, quick and acerbic wit, and rare quote-making skill, the cigar-smoking Abe Lemons' growing status as a fan favorite anticipated any of his notable accomplishments in basketball at Texas. Though he and his staff inherited two players that would play central roles on his most successful Texas teams in freshman forward and Los Angeles high school player of the year Ron Baxter and sophomore Auburn transfer Jim Krivacs, Lemons was nevertheless assuming control of a moribund program coming off of three consecutive losing seasons, the last of which featured the then-third-most defeats in the history of the program. Lemons was less than sanguine about the Longhorns' prospects for the 1976-77 season. Asked in a preseason media session if he felt his first Texas team to be worthy of a top-twenty ranking, Lemons replied, "You mean in the state?" After starting the season with a 6-9 record, Texas managed a six-game winning streak against some of the conference's weaker teams before stumbling to a 1-4 finish over the final five games. Despite Lemons' dejected mood following the final game of the season, a loss to Baylor in the final men's basketball game in Gregory Gymnasium, his first team had posted a four-game improvement in its season record over the 9-17 squad of the prior year, finishing 13-13 on the season.

No significant preseason expectations attended the 1977-78 Texas Longhorns, a team that would produce one of the more successful seasons in Longhorn basketball history. After a one-point loss in the opening game against Southern California in Los Angeles, Texas inaugurated the $37-million, 16,231-seat Special Events Center with an 83-76 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, the first of eight straight wins. Texas lost 65-56 to fifth-ranked, defending national champion Marquette before posting another nine straight victories, including a 75-69 upset of third-ranked and eventual Final Four participant Arkansas, with its famed "Triplets" (guards Sidney Moncrief, Ron Brewer, and Marvin Delph). The win over Eddie Sutton's Razorbacks vaulted Lemons' Longhorns to a No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press Poll, Texas' first appearance in the poll since a one-week showing at No. 20 in 1949, the inaugural season of the AP basketball poll. Texas would finish the regular season ranked No. 12 in the AP poll with records of 22-4 overall and 14-2 in conference play, sharing the Southwest Conference Championship with the Razorbacks. Despite the impressive season, Texas saw its hopes of playing in the 32-team NCAA Tournament dashed in a two-point loss to Houston in the SWC Tournament Final. Houston claimed the automatic bid to the Tournament, Arkansas received an at-large bid, and the Longhorns were left to accept a bid to the 1978 National Invitation Tournament. Texas would storm through the tournament to reach the NIT Championship Game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, defeating Temple, Nebraska, and Rutgers by an average of over 17 points in the first three rounds. The Longhorns posted an easy 101-93 victory over the Wolfpack to win the NIT Championship behind 22, 26, and 33 points, respectively, from point guard Johnny Moore and 1978 NIT Co-MVPs Ron Baxter and Jim Krivacs. After the end of the 1977-78 season, Abe Lemons was named National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Lemons remains the only men's basketball coach in UT history to earn National Coach of the Year honors.

With its four leading scorers returning, Texas entered the 1978-79 season with a No. 6 ranking in the AP poll and as the near-unanimous favorite to win the SWC championship. The Longhorns struggled early, beginning the season 7-4 and falling out of the AP rankings after a 21-point road defeat to Bill Cartwright and the San Francisco Dons. After another blowout road loss to Texas Tech, Texas regrouped to win three straight road games and 12 of its next 13 games, including a three-point upset of 10th-ranked Arkansas in Fayetteville, a 23-point blowout of Shelby Metcalf's No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies in Austin, and an eight-point win over the 11th-ranked Aggies three weeks later in College Station. During the preceding thirty seasons, Texas had only managed a total of six wins against AP-ranked opponents, and never more than one such victory in a single year. A home loss to 14th-ranked Arkansas was the lone blemish during the 13-game stretch, a game that featured a shouting and shoving episode, famous in SWC lore, between Lemons and Eddie Sutton after Sutton had admonished Texas player Johnny Moore on the court. Police and assistant coaches intervened, but Lemons told the media following the game that if Sutton dared to address his players again, he would "tear his Sunday clothes" and "liquidate his ass." Struggling SMU dealt Texas a shocking defeat in the final game of the regular season, depriving the Longhorns of sole possession of the SWC crown and forcing them to share the conference championship with Arkansas for the second straight season. Following a 39-38 loss to the ninth-ranked Razorbacks in the SWC Tournament Final, Texas received a No. 4 seed and a bye to the second round in the 1979 NCAA Tournament. Texas fell to No. 5-seeded Oklahoma in the tournament to finish the season with a 21-8 overall record and a No. 15 final ranking in the UPI Coaches' Poll. The Longhorns drew an average of 15,886 fans per home game in 1978-79, a school and Erwin Center record that to this point has not been challenged.

The 1979-80 Texas Longhorns returned only one starter, forward Ron Baxter. LaSalle Thompson, 6'10" center and future Longhorn great, joined the program as a freshman. Texas ended the regular season with an 18-10 overall record and a 10-6 conference record, finishing third behind Texas A&M and Arkansas in SWC play. Passed over by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, Texas received a bid to the 1980 NIT, the last postseason tournament a Lemons-coached Texas team would reach. The Longhorns posted a 70-61 win over St. Joseph's before falling to Southwestern Louisiana, 77-76, in the second round to finish with a 19-11 overall record. Baxter, the 1980 Southwest Conference Player of the Year, finished his UT career as the then-all-time school leader in both scoring and rebounding.

The 1980-81 Longhorn team carried little in the way of preseason expectations of success. Even before the season began, the program was embroiled in controversy and turmoil. Lemons had summarily fired assistant Steve Moeller, leading to a caustic public feud between the two men, with each blaming the other for recent disappointing recruiting results. Moeller charged that Lemons' lack of inhibition with regard to public and private criticism of players was damaging the program. Only one of the four players signed in the 1981 class — 6'9" forward Mike Wacker — was considered a coveted prospect. Texas opened with a home loss to Pacific. The regular season's zenith, a two-point win over Arkansas in Fayetteville on January 12, did nothing to reverse the team's downward trajectory, with losses to TCU, SMU, North Texas, Rice following shortly thereafter. The Longhorns stumbled to a 10-14 overall record with two conference games remaining. Lemons' habitual sarcasm and indiscriminately acid tongue, heretofore endearing to fans if not administrators, began to draw criticism, with some citing his routinely quippish comments as evidence that he failed to take his team's poor performance sufficiently seriously. Nonetheless, just as Lemons began to face notable fan frustration and criticism for the first time at Texas, his team began an unexpected run of late-season success. Lemons' team managed to win the two remaining regular season games as well as three of four games in the SWC Tournament — including a 76-73 victory over No. 15 Arkansas in the semifinal round — to avoid finishing with a losing record. The end-of-season success quelled discontent for the time being, with fans and commentators pointing to the return of LaSalle Thompson, Mike Wacker, and a healthier and more experienced supporting cast as reason for renewed confidence about the near future and optimism about the program's prospects.

While his teams' records and performance had declined since the 1977-78 season, Lemons was not thought to be in danger of losing his job as he entered the 1981-82 season, the first year for new Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds and Lemons' last at Texas. Preseason expectations had Texas posting improvement over the prior season, but the 1981-82 Longhorns were nonetheless not expected to challenge for Southwest Conference supremacy. Texas began the season unranked, only entering the January 12 AP Poll at No. 19 after winning the first ten games of the season. Consecutive double-digit wins over No. 10 and eventual Final Four participant Houston at Hofheinz Pavilion and No. 9 Arkansas in Austin vaulted Texas to No. 7 in the following poll. An 88-71 nationally televised win over South Carolina the following week moved Texas to No. 5 in the AP Poll, the then-highest ranking in program history. Keyed by the performance of 1982 All-American, national rebounding champion, and eventual fifth overall 1982 NBA Draft pick LaSalle Thompson and the much-improved sophomore forward Mike Wacker, the Longhorns had started the season with a record of 14-0, a season start that remains the program's finest in the NCAA Tournament era. Two weeks and five losses later, the Longhorns would drop from the polls altogether. The loss of Wacker to a devastating knee injury in the first half of a 69-59 loss to Baylor, the Longhorns' first defeat of the year, disrupted the team's on-court chemistry and confidence and ultimately derailed the season. Texas would win only two of its final 13 games, finishing the season with a 16-11 overall record.

On March 9, eight days after the Longhorns' final game, DeLoss Dodds announced Abe Lemons' firing. Dodds was not specific as to the reasons, vaguely citing a "series of incidents from this and past years, along with the need for new leadership and direction." The news met with surprise and outrage from players and fans. Lemons, who, despite some struggles, had presided over the resurrection of Texas basketball during the preceding six seasons, professed shock. Even with the collapse following Wacker's injury, there had been no indications that his job was in jeopardy. Privately, though, Dodds had faced pressure from important administrators and boosters to dismiss the popular Lemons ever since he had arrived at Texas the prior autumn. A powerful faction of UT officials and donors felt that Lemons was presiding over an undisciplined program and that he had become excessively and irresponsibly outspoken. His refusal to enforce a curfew or to punish players for missing practices, for instance, had already drawn criticism in the past. A lack of academic progress during his time at Texas was another reflection of a shortage of discipline and another cause for embarrassment for UT officials. Only one player that Lemons recruited to Austin graduated during his tenure. Moreover, his sharp-tongued and indiscriminate public insults and criticism of people ranging from UT administrators and faculty to officials and coaches at other schools to SWC administrators and referees had progressively earned Lemons the ill will and resentment of a growing number of people with influence over UT athletics. Lemons remained a popular figure among fans, but his support among administrators and powerful donors had dissipated. Following the end of the season, the UT Office of the President and the Board of Regents directed Dodds to fire Lemons. The ousted head coach did not leave quietly, commenting that he wanted a glass-bottomed car so that he could see Dodds' face as he ran him over, and adding, "I hope they notice the mistletoe tied to my coattails as I leave town." Despite the acrimonious parting, Lemons would be invited back to reunions in later years and would eventually be inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1994.

Bob Weltlich years (1982-88)

Second-year Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds signaled his determination to change the culture of the basketball program, noting that the next Texas head coach would be expected to oversee significant improvements in players' academic progress and off-court discipline and the near-total elimination of contact between players and boosters. Texas players petitioned in support of Barry Dowd, a long-time Lemons assistant, for the vacant coaching position, but Dodds and UT administrators were intent on severing all connections to the Lemons era. Dodds ultimately chose 37-year-old Bob Weltlich, a former assistant coach under Bob Knight at Army and Indiana who came with Knight's recommendation, from the University of Mississippi to serve as the next Texas men's basketball head coach. Dodds and Weltlich agreed to a five-year contract worth $95,000 per year, and Weltlich was introduced as head coach on April 2, 1982.

Nicknamed "Kaiser Bob" by Longhorn fans for his harshly disciplinarian approach, Weltlich was almost immediately faced with such a manpower shortage from the departures — both voluntary and involuntary — of so many Texas players that he famously had to press Texas male cheerleader Lance Watson into service during the Longhorns' abysmal 6-22 season of 1982-83. ["Texas basketball from A to Z," [http://www.statesman.com/horns/content/sports/stories/longhorns/11/15TEX_AZ.html Austin American-Statesman] ] ["How the Longhorns got hot," [http://www.texassports.com/doc_lib/AAS_--_How_the_Longhorns_got_hot.pdf www.texassports.com] ]

Weltlich's next three teams posted yearly improvements in overall records, with the 1985-86 team — which finished with a 19-12 mark and a share of the SWC Championship — representing the zenith of his tenure at Texas. After his teams finished 14-17 and 16-13 in the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons, respectively, Weltlich was dismissed with two years remaining on his contract. [cite web |url=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/big12/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/04-guide-80-95.pdf | title=2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | work=big12sports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18]

Weltlich compiled a 77-98 record during six seasons as the head coach at Texas. None of his six teams managed an appearance in the NCAA Tournament; only the 1985-86 team participated in postseason competition, losing 71-65 to Ohio State in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. [cite web |url=http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/big12/sports/m-baskbl/auto_pdf/04-guide-80-95.pdf | title=2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide | work=big12sports.com | accessdate=2007-03-18] With the combination of poor overall results and an ultra-slow-tempo style of play that fans found unappealing, attendance plummeted from the lofty marks achieved during the tenure of the popular Lemons to an average of barely more than 4,000 fans per game during Weltlich's final season (far below the turnout for Jody Conradt's Lady Longhorns teams at that time). ["Player's Bio: Tom Penders," [http://uhcougars.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/penders_tom00.html UHCougars.cstv.com] ]

Tom Penders era (1988-98)

Hired from the University of Rhode Island on April 6, 1988 to replace Weltlich as the Texas head coach, Tom Penders rapidly revitalized the moribund Longhorn basketball program. ["Penders to Texas," [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE1DD1F3DF934A35757C0A96E948260 New York Times] ]

Months before coaching in his first game at Texas, Penders set about reviving fan enthusiasm for Longhorn men's basketball. He canvassed the state, speaking to every University of Texas alumni chapter and booster club in Texas. Penders called his team the "Runnin' Horns," and he promised an exciting, fast-paced style of play that would stand in stark contrast to the basketball on display during the prior six seasons.

Penders led his first team to a 25-9 overall record, marking the first 20-win season in ten years at Texas and the then-second-highest win total in school history. The Longhorns' on-court success — in combination with Penders' appealing, fast-tempo brand of basketball and his tireless promotion of the Texas program — produced a rise in average attendance from the prior season of almost 149 percent (from 4,028 to 10,011), the largest such increase in NCAA Division I basketball for the 1988-89 season. ["Player's Bio: Tom Penders," [http://uhcougars.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/penders_tom00.html UHCougars.cstv.com] ]

In ten years at Texas, Penders' teams appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments, advancing past the first round in all but one appearance.

Penders resigned on April 3, 1998 following a scandal involving the unlawful release of player Luke Axtell's grades to the media. Longhorn players Axtell, Chris Mihm, Gabe Muoneke, and Bernard Smith had met with Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds "to say that they had lost faith in Penders and his program." ["Rick Barnes Leaves Clemson for Texas", [http://clemsontigers.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/041498aaa.html#00 Associated Press] ] ["George Washington; Penders Hired," [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E05E1D71F3DF93AA25755C0A96E958260 New York Times] ]

Rick Barnes era (1998-99 season to present)

Hired as the twenty-third men's basketball coach in Texas history on April 12, 1998, Rick Barnes left Clemson University to take over a Texas program coming off of a losing season and "in disarray" following Tom Penders' resignation. ["Rick Barnes Leaves Clemson for Texas", [http://clemsontigers.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/041498aaa.html#00 Associated Press] ]

Despite playing with just seven scholarship players for the majority of the 1998-1999 season — and opening the season with a 3-8 record — Barnes engineered one of the greatest midseason turnarounds in school history. The Longhorns won 16 of their final 21 games, posting a 13-3 record in conference play and winning the school's first regular season Big 12 Conference championship by a two-game margin. Texas finished the year with a record of 19-13, earning with a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

In 2002, Texas advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the 1996-97 season, and for only the third time since the expansion of the tournament to 64 participants in 1985. The 2003 Longhorn basketball team matched the school record for most basketball victories in a season with their 26-7 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four round for the first time in 56 years, and for the third time in school history. Along the way, Texas earned its highest ranking in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today polls in school history (No. 2 in both polls on Dec. 2, 2002) and received its first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore point guard T. J. Ford became the first UT male player to earn the Naismith and Wooden Awards as college basketball's Player of the Year in 2003.

Despite the early departure of Ford to the NBA as the eighth overall pick (Milwaukee Bucks), Texas compiled a 25-8 overall record in 2004 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round for a school-record third consecutive year. The four senior starters on the 2004 team graduated as the winningest class in school history (98 wins) to that point. In 2006, the Longhorns recorded the program's first 30-win season (30-7), claimed a share of the Big 12 Conference regular season championship, received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the Elite Eight (Texas fell to LSU in overtime), marking the fourth time in five years that Texas had advanced to at least the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. The 2006 class, which finished with 101 wins in four years, bested the 2004 class' mark of 98 wins to become the winningest class in the history of Longhorn basketball.

The 2005-06 season also marked the hundredth anniversary of basketball at UT. Special logos were placed on the uniforms to commemorate this anniversary.

Texas will play Saint Joseph's to begin the 2008-09 season at the Maui Invitational.

All-time series records against non-Big 12 former SWC members

Texas men's basketball leads the all-time series against all former Southwest Conference members who are not current members of the Big 12 but Arkansas (which leads 85-65).

In contests against these opponents since the dissolution of the Southwest Conference, Texas holds the lead against all opponents but Southern Methodist, whom the Longhorns have not played since joining the Big 12. The Longhorns hold the advantage against every opponent but Arkansas in the last five and ten games played against each respective opponent.

Rivalries

Oklahoma Sooners

With the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, the University of Oklahoma (OU) has become The University of Texas' main rival in basketball. While Texas and Oklahoma are not traditional rivals in any sport other than football, due to their prior residence in different conferences (UT in the Southwest Conference and OU in the Big Eight Conference), the shared enmity from that historic rivalry has naturally extended into competition in basketball and other sports in the Big 12. The competitiveness of the Texas and OU basketball programs — which are second and third in all-time Big 12 regular season conference wins, respectively — has only accelerated the development of the divisional basketball rivalry.

The Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners play one game in Austin, Texas and one game in Norman, Oklahoma each year during the regular season. Oklahoma leads the overall series 45-27. OU leads 16-14 in games played since the inception of the Big 12, though Texas has held the upper hand in recent years, winning 11 of the last 14 meetings (2003-08).

Texas A&M Aggies

With the rise of the Texas A&M Aggie basketball program under Billy Gillispie (2004-07) and Mark Turgeon (2007-present), the basketball rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M has rapidly intensified, progressing toward roughly equal status with the Oklahoma rivalry for Texas fans. Texas is 5-4 against Texas A&M since Gillispie became the Aggie head coach for the 2004-05 season. The Longhorns had won 34 of the previous 37 meetings with the Aggies before Gillispie's arrival, and 15 of the 16 contests in the Big 12 to that point. The lopsided nature of the series — and the lack of Aggie fan interest in a program that had gone ten consecutive years without a winning season or postseason appearance under prior coaches — had strongly diminished the stature of the rivalry.

The Longhorns and the Aggies play two games during the regular season, with the venue alternating between the home courts of each school. Texas leads the overall series 130-83.

Kansas Jayhawks

The past several years have also witnessed the emergence of a cross-divisional rivalry between Texas and the Big 12 Conference's traditional basketball powerhouse, the Jayhawks of the University of Kansas (KU), with the Longhorns' emergence under Rick Barnes as the Jayhawks' most consistent competition for Big 12 Conference supremacy. From the inception of the Big 12 through the 2007-08 season, Texas has produced a 136-56 (.708) mark against conference competition during the regular season, trailing only Kansas' record of 158-34 (.823).

Texas and Kansas play one game during the regular season, with the venue alternating yearly between the home courts of each school. Kansas leads the overall series 15-6 and has won 11 of the 16 contests since the Big 12 was formed. Current KU head coach Bill Self is 5-4 in games against Texas since becoming the Jayhawks' head coach for the 2003-04 season. In 2009, Texas and Kansas will meet in each team's final regular-season conference game in Lawrence. This marks the second time in three seasons that the two teams will face each other in a nationally televised regular-season finale.

Other rivals

The Longhorns also share rivalries with divisional competitors Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Baylor.

Several members of the former Southwest Conference, such as the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas and the Cougars of the University of Houston, still consider the Longhorns to be their primary rivals, despite presently infrequent and irregular competition between Texas and these schools.

Notable players

Jay Arnette, Albert Almanza, Mike Wacker, Lance Blanks, Joey Wright, B.J. Tyler, Albert Burditt, Terrence Rencher, Kris Clack, Chris Owens, Raymond Downs

Other possible sections and subsections: Longhorn players in the NBA (Former players currently in the NBA, Former NBA players), All-time NBA Draft picks, Postseason tournament history/NCAA Tournament history (Year-by-Year table with games, Seeding history), Career coaching records, Honors and awards (a. Players -- NPOY, Consensus All-Americans, Bob Cousy, All-Americans, Conference POY/FOY/DPOY, HOF, Academic All-Americans; b. Coaches -- NCOY, CCOY, other COY), All-time statistical leaders (Career leaders, Single-season leaders, Single-game leaders), Coaching staff infobox under Rick Barnes section, Retired numbers, 1,000-point scorers, Conference championships, Poll rankings

ee also

* Texas Longhorns women's basketball

Notes and references

External links

* [http://www.texassports.com/ Texas Athletics]
* [http://www.texassports.com/mainpages/001_structure/donor_index.html The Longhorn Foundation]
* [http://www.utexas.edu/ The University of Texas at Austin]


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