RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | TEXAS INSIDER
RECORD: - REGION: South SEED: 1|
COACH: Rick Barnes CONFERENCE: Big 12
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
While led by one of the nation's top players, T.J. Ford, it is the Longhorns' depth that will help them any "war of attrition" in the NCAA Tournament. They are an outstanding defensive team with an excellent rebounder in 6-foot-8 James Thomas. Royal Ivey, Brandon Mouton, and Brian Boddicker lead a cast of terrific complementary players. But it all goes through the Michael Vick of college basketball -- Ford.
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ESPN.com's POY has folks in Texas forgetting all about football. Guess what? This quarterback could bring a national title to Austin befor turning pro.
How They Got Here
Forget the Big 12 tournament, these Longhorns are for real and are a
legitimate Final Four contender.
Sure point guard T.J. Ford gets most of the attention -- and deservedly so -- but Rick Barnes' team is very complete. Brandon Mouton is a scorer who's making more than 40 percent of his 3-pointers. James Thomas is a great rebounder and a
double-double machine. And the Longhorns have legitimate depth as 10
players average at least 11 minutes per game.
After losing consecutive games early in the season to Notre Dame and at Arizona, Texas played much better and was much more consistent than a year ago. Texas nearly won at Kansas, losing to the Jayhawks in overtime on a night when Nick Collison went crazy. The only thing that resembled a bad loss (before losing to Texas Tech in Dallas) for the Longhorns came when Texas lost at Colorado.
If there was a question about whether the Longhorns could compete at a national level, it was answered in Texas' 67-61 victory over Oklahoma. In a game between two
top five teams, Texas answered the Sooners physical play and were able
to score points. In the rematch to end the regular season the Longhorns
looked in trouble, but they erased a double-digit deficit after halftime
and (not surprisingly) Ford hit a huge basket in the final minute.
What We Like
T.J. Ford is a legitimate contender for national player of the year. While the sophomore point guard doesn't score at the same pace of other player, there is no player who can take over a game
without scoring as Ford can.
With a great combination of quickness, vision, handle and fearlessness, Ford is one of the best in the nation at making his teammates better. He has an uncanny ability to find the
open Longhorn when doubleteamed. But with an improved jump shot, defenses can't give him room to take away his penetration.
What We Don't Like
There's a lot to like with Texas, but if there's one question mark, it has to do with this whole basketball thing being pretty new for the Longhorns.
Of the truly elite teams in the country, Texas has the least basketball tradition. Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Florida have all been to Final Fours in recent years while the Texas program has grown. The Longhorns, however, should be more comfortable in the NCAA tournament after last season's Sweet 16 run.