Texas Longhorns men's basketball

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Texas Longhorns Men's Basketball
2014–15 Texas Longhorns men's basketball team
Texas Longhorns Men's Basketball athletic logo
University University of Texas at Austin
First season 1906
Conference Big 12
Location Austin, TX
Head coach Rick Barnes (17th year)
Arena Frank Erwin Center
(Capacity: 16,540)
Nickname Longhorns
Colors

Burnt Orange and White

            
Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
Alternate
Pre-tournament Premo-Porretta champions
1933
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1943 • 1947 • 2003
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1939 • 1943 • 1947 • 1990 • 2003 • 2006 • 2008
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1960 • 1963 • 1972 • 1990 • 1997 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2006 • 2008
NCAA Tournament appearances
1939 • 1943 • 1947 • 1960 • 1963 • 1972 • 1974 • 1979 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2014
Conference tournament champions
SWC
1994 • 1995
Conference regular season champions

SWC
1915 • 1916 • 1917 • 1919 • 1924 • 1933 • 1939 • 1943 • 1947 • 1951 • 1954 • 1960 • 1963 • 1965 • 1972 • 1974 • 1978 • 1979 • 1986 • 1992 • 1994 • 1995


Big 12
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 fifteen NCAA Tournament appearances in his 16 seasons, including a school-record fourteen consecutive appearances (1999-2012), as well as fourteen 20-win seasons overall and a school-best thirteen consecutive 20-win seasons (2000-12).

Since 1977, the team has played its home games in the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, where it has compiled a record of 450-104 (.812) as of the end of the 2013-14 season.

History[edit]

The University of Texas began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in 1906.[1] 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 1699-1005 (.628).[2] Among Big 12 Conference men's basketball programs, Texas is second only to Kansas in both all-time wins and all-time win percentage.

The Longhorns have won 27 total conference championships in men's basketball and have made 31 total appearances in the NCAA Tournament (35–34 overall record), reaching the NCAA Final Four three times (1943, 1947, 2003) and the NCAA Regional Finals (Elite Eight) seven times. As of May 2014, 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 (35), trailing only Illinois (40).[3]

The Texas basketball program experienced substantial success during the early decades of its existence, but its success in the modern era is of relatively recent vintage. After two losing seasons during the first five years of the program's existence, Texas would suffer only one losing season from 1912 to 1950, reaching two Final Fours and one Elite Eight during the first decade of the NCAA Tournament; the Longhorns finished with losing records 14 times from 1951 to 1987 and participated in the Tournament only five times during that span. Texas achieved some measures of national recognition during the tenures of head coaches Abe Lemons (1976–82) and Tom Penders (1988–98), but 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)[edit]

1906–13[edit]

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.[4] 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.[1][5][6] 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[edit]

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 to 1915 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.[7][8] 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 1913 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.[5]

Following Van Gent's single year as head coach, 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.[8] 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.[5]

Berry M. Whitaker coached for a single season (1920) before Athletics Director L. Theo Bellmont designated him as the Longhorn football head coach.[9] 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.[8]

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, 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.[9] 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[edit]

Excepting two strong seasons—one particularly noteworthy—Texas maintained this level of relatively unremarkable performance in basketball for the better part of the next decade. Texas won only a single SWC Championship during the next nine seasons—in the exceptional 22-1 season of 1932-33, for which the Longhorns were also retroactively awarded the Premo-Porretta national championship (presently unclaimed by UT).[10]

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, SWC Championship, and retroactively awarded Premo-Porretta national 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.

Jack Gray / H.C. "Bully" Gilstrap era (1937–51)[edit]

During this period Texas went to two Final Fours (1943 and 1947); they were in 3 NCAA Tournaments and a National Invitation Tournament. Source

The most famous Longhorn basketball player prior to Kevin Durant, Basketball Hall of Famer Slater Martin, played with the Longhorns from 1944 to 1949.

1951–76[edit]

Slue Hull was hired in 1951.

1951–59[edit]

Players like Raymond Downs, Jay Arnette and Albert Almanza dominated the hoops landscape at Texas. The Longhorns went to no postseason tournaments, and were not ranked at any point in this particular time.

1959–76[edit]

Between coaches Harold Bradley, hired in 1959, and Leon Black, who ran the basketball team from 1967 to 1976, the Longhorns went to a grand total of four NCAA Tournaments, two apiece, as a result of winning the Southwest Conference outright four times in 17 years.

In 1960 Bradley's Horns managed to appear in the tournament, only to fall to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen and also lose the third place game in their region. The 1963 edition was only different in that the Longhorns lost to Cincinnati but won regional third place.

The Longhorns lost the Sweet 16 in 1972 and the first round in 1974.

Abe Lemons years (1976–82)[edit]

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.[5]

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 academic 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, then the program's finest season start 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)[edit]

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.[11][12]

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.[1][8]

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 1986 National Invitation Tournament.[8] 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).[13]

Tom Penders era (1988–98)[edit]

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.[14]

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.[13]

For the 1989-90 season, Texas returned its high-scoring trio of guards, Lance Blanks, Travis Mays, and Joey Wright—dubbed "BMW—the ultimate driving machine" by the Texas sports information department and labeled the third-best set of guards in the country by Dick Vitale. Penders' second team finished 24-9 made the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year—a first in Longhorn basketball history—and for only the second time since the Tournament field expanded to 64 teams. Having defeated the Georgia Bulldogs and Gene Keady's Purdue Boilermakers, Texas advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 18 seasons. With a come-from-behind 102-89 win against the 28-4 Xavier Musketeers—in which Blanks, Mays, and Wright combined for 86 points—Texas advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 43 years to face its SWC archrival, the Arkansas Razorbacks, for the third time that season. Trailing by 16 points with 12 minutes remaining, the Longhorns mounted a comeback that fell just short, falling 88-85 as Travis Mays' last-second three-point attempt came off the rim. Mays finished the season as the Southwest Conference's all-time leading scorer with 2,279 points.

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."[15][16]

Rick Barnes era (1998–99 season to present)[edit]

Logo for the 100 years of Longhorns basketball, released in 2006.
The Frank Erwin Center during a UT basketball game.

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.[15]

Despite playing with just seven scholarship players for the majority of the 1998–99 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.

In the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, Texas earned a 7th seed in the East Region. The Longhorns defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Round 1 of the 2009 NCAA Tournament by a score of 76–62 behind the sharp shooting A.J. Abrams, however their 2008–09 season would end only two days later after suffering a 74–69 second round NCAA tournament loss at the hands of Duke University.

National honors and awards[edit]

Barnes received his third Big 12 Coach of the Year award on March 10, 2008.

Facilities[edit]

Clark Field

Clark Field[edit]

Clark Field, originally known as Varsity Athletic Field, was an on-campus, outdoor stadium that was the original home of the Texas Longhorns men's basketball team, as well as the Longhorn football, baseball, and track teams. The stadium opened in 1887. In its final years, the facility held 20,000 spectators.

The Texas Longhorns men's basketball team moved indoors to the new Men's Gym in 1917.

Men's Gym[edit]

The University constructed the Men's Gym to serve as the temporary home of the Texas men's basketball team pending the construction of a permanent gymnasium. Built for a total cost of $8,500, the all-wood Men's Gym featured a pinewood floor, an electric scoreboard, and seating for 2,500 spectators.

Front façade of Gregory Gymnasium

The Texas men's basketball team played home games in the Men's Gym beginning with the 1917 season until moving into the new Gregory Gymnasium for the 1929-30 season.

Gregory Gymnasium[edit]

Originally built in 1930, Gregory Gymnasium was named after its main advocate and planner, Thomas Watt Gregory. An alumnus of the University, Gregory served on the University's Board of Regents and as United States Attorney General (1914-1919) before the gym was built.

The Texas men's basketball team played home games in Gregory Gymnasium beginning with the 1929-30 season until moving into the Special Events Center (later renamed the Frank Erwin Center) for the 1977-78 season.

Frank Erwin Center[edit]

The Frank Erwin Center

The Texas men's basketball team opened the Frank Erwin Center on November 29, 1977 with an 83-76 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. The Longhorns won their first 25 games in the Erwin Center before falling to Arkansas in February of 1979.

The building is named for former UT alumnus and Board of Regents member Frank Erwin.[19] Originally known as the Special Events Center, the facility was renamed in 1980 to honor Erwin, who had died earlier that year.

Frank Erwin Center during a UT men's basketball game

A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) currently accommodates up to 16,540 spectators for basketball games. UT undertook extensive renovations of the facility from 2001 to 2003 at a cost of $55 million, adding, among other things, new and renovated seating, new video and sound systems, new lighting, and 28 suites. As part of the project, UT constructed the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion, a state-of-the-art practice and training facility that sits adjacent to the Erwin Center.

Denton A. Cooley Pavilion[edit]

Built during the final phase of the renovation of the Erwin Center, the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion opened in the fall of 2003. The two-level, 44,000-square foot building sits adjacent to the Erwin Center and serves as a state-of-the-art practice and training facility for the Texas men's and women's basketball teams. The Pavilion is named for Dr. Denton A. Cooley, a UT alumnus, basketball letterman (1939-41), and pioneering heart surgeon.

The Texas men's and women's basketball teams have separate 9,000-square foot practice court areas, each consisting of one full-court and one half-court practice area with seven basket stations. The practice facility also includes a locker room with a players' lounge, an instructional film theater, a 4,100-square foot strength and conditioning area, an athletic training and hydrotherapy area, an academic resource and activity center, and a coaches' lounge and locker room.

All-time season results[edit]

Postseason[edit]

NCAA Tournament results[edit]

The Longhorns have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 31 times. Their combined record is 35–34.

Year Seed Round Opponent Results
1939 Elite Eight
Regional 3rd Place Game
Oregon
Utah State
L 41–56
L 49–51
1943 Elite Eight
Final Four
Washington
Wyoming
W 59–55
L 54–58
1947 Elite Eight
Final Four
National 3rd Place Game
Wyoming
Oklahoma
CCNY
W 42–40
L 54–55
W 54–50
1960 Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Kansas
DePaul
L 81–90
L 61–67
1963 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Texas Western
Cincinnati
Oklahoma City
W 65–47
L 68–73
W 90–83
1972 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Houston
Kansas State
Southwest Louisiana
W 85–74
L 55–66
L 70–100
1974 First Round Creighton L 61–77
1979 #4 Second Round #5 Oklahoma L 76–90
1989 #11 First Round
Second Round
#6 Georgia Tech
#3 Missouri
W 76–70
L 89–108
1990 #10 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#7 Georgia
#2 Purdue
#6 Xavier
#4 Arkansas
W 100–88
W 73–72
W 102–89
L 85–88
1991 #5 First Round
Second Round
#12 Saint Peter's
#4 St. John's
W 73–65
L 76–84
1992 #8 First Round #9 Iowa L 92–98
1994 #6 First Round
Second Round
#11 WKU
#3 Michigan
W 91–77
L 79–84
1995 #11 First Round
Second Round
#6 Oregon
#3 Maryland
W 90–73
L 68–82
1996 #10 First Round
Second Round
#7 Michigan
#2 Wake Forest
W 80–76
L 62–65
1997 #10 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#7 Wisconsin
#15 Coppin State
#6 Louisville
W 71–58
W 82–81
L 63–78
1999 #7 First Round #10 Purdue L 54–58
2000 #5 First Round
Second Round
#12 Indiana State
#4 LSU
W 77–61
L 67–72
2001 #6 First Round #11 Temple L 65–79
2002 #6 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#11 Boston College
#3 Mississippi State
#2 Oregon
W 70–57
W 68–64
L 70–72
2003 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
#16 UNC Asheville
#9 Purdue
#5 Connecticut
#7 Michigan State
#3 Syracuse
W 82–61
W 77–67
W 82–78
W 85–76
L 84–95
2004 #3 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#14 Princeton
#6 North Carolina
#7 Xavier
W 66–49
W 78–75
L 71–79
2005 #8 First Round #9 Nevada L 57–61
2006 #2 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#15 Penn
#10 NC State
#6 West Virginia
#4 LSU
W 60–52
W 75–54
W 74–71
L 60–70OT
2007 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 New Mexico State
#5 USC
W 79–67
L 68–87
2008 #2 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#15 Austin Peay
#7 Miami (FL)
#3 Stanford
#1 Memphis
W 74–54
W 75–72
W 82–62
L 66–85
2009 #7 First Round
Second Round
#10 Minnesota
#2 Duke
W 76–62
L 69–74
2010 #8 First Round #9 Wake Forest L 80–81OT
2011 #4 Second Round
Third Round
#13 Oakland
#5 Arizona
W 85–81
L 69–70
2012 #11 Second Round #6 Cincinnati L 59–65
2014 #7 Second Round
Third Round
#10 Arizona State
#2 Michigan
W 87–85
L 65–79

NCAA Tournament seeding history[edit]

The NCAA began seeding the tournament in 1979.

Years → '79 '89 '90 '91 '92 '94 '95 '96 '97 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '14
Seeds → 4 11 10 5 8 6 11 10 10 7 5 6 6 1 3 8 2 4 2 7 8 4 11 7

NIT results[edit]

The Longhorns have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) four times. Their combined record is 6–3. Texas won the NIT Championship in 1978.

Year Round Opponent Result
1948 Quarterfinals NYU L 43–45
1978 First Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Finals
Temple
Nebraska
Rutgers
NC State
W 72–58
W 67–48
W 96–76
W 101–93
1980 First Round
Second Round
Saint Joseph's
Southwestern Louisiana
W 70–61
L 76–77
1986 First Round
Second Round
New Mexico
Ohio State
W 69–66
L 65–71

CBI results[edit]

The Longhorns have appeared in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) one time. Their record is 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2013 First Round Houston L 72–73

All-time series records against conference opponents[edit]

All-time series records against Big 12 members[edit]

Texas men's basketball leads the all-time series against all Big 12 Conference opponents but Kansas (which leads 23-8), Kansas State (17-11), and Oklahoma (50-35).

In series against conference opponents since the advent of the Big 12, Texas trails only KU (which leads 13-6) and KSU (12-11).

All-time series records against former Big 12 members[edit]

Texas men's basketball leads the all-time series against all former Big 12 Conference opponents but Missouri (which leads 13-12).

Texas holds a winning record against all former Big 12 members in games played in Big 12 competition.

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

In series against former Southwest Conference members who are not current members of the Big 12, Texas trails only Arkansas (which leads 86-67).

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 in the last five games played and all opponents but Arkansas in the last ten games played against each respective opponent.

Rivalries[edit]

Oklahoma Sooners[edit]

With the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, the University of Oklahoma (OU) became The University of Texas' main rival in basketball. 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), but the mutual enmity from that historic rivalry quickly 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—only accelerated the development of the new basketball rivalry.

The Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners play one game in Frank Erwin Center, Austin and one game in Norman, Oklahoma each year during the regular season. Oklahoma leads the overall series 50-35. Texas leads OU 22-21 in games played since the inception of the Big 12. Texas has held the upper hand in recent years, winning 19 of the last 27 meetings (2003–14) and 14 of the last 19 (2006-14).

Kansas Jayhawks[edit]

Rick Barnes' tenure has also coincided with the emergence of a rivalry between Texas and the Big 12 Conference's traditional national basketball powerhouse, the Kansas Jayhawks. Under Rick Barnes, the Longhorns have emerged as Kansas' most consistent competition for Big 12 Conference supremacy. From the inception of the Big 12 through the 2013-14 season, Texas has produced a 194-100 (.660) mark against conference competition during the regular season, trailing only Kansas' record of 245-49 (.833).

The first decade of the 2000s saw the peak of this new rivalry, with the Longhorns at one point trailing Kansas only 5-7 in games played over an almost-nine-season period, and with many of the contests being closely contested classics. Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Texas has generally been less competitive both nationally and in the rivalry, trailing Kansas 2-8 in games played since that time.

Texas and Kansas played one game during the regular season until the 2011-12 season, when the two schools began meeting twice per year. Kansas leads the overall series 23-8 and has won 19 of the 26 contests since the Big 12 was formed. Texas is the only Big 12 school with a non-losing record against Kansas at home, having won six of 12 contests against the Jayhawks at the Frank Erwin Center. Current KU head coach Bill Self is 13-6 in games against Texas since becoming the Jayhawks' head coach prior to the 2003-04 season.

Other rivals[edit]

Texas A&M Aggies[edit]

Before the Texas A&M Aggies' departure for the Southeastern Conference at the end of the 2012 academic year, Texas and Texas A&M had played at least twice (and up to four times) yearly since 1917. During their concurrent membership in the Big 12, the Longhorns and the Aggies played two games during the regular season, with the venue alternating between the home courts of each school. No games have been played or scheduled between the two schools since the end of the 2011-12 season. Texas leads the overall series 137-85.

By the time the Big 12 was formed, the in-state rivalry was at a low ebb. The Longhorns had won 18 of the previous 21 contests against the Aggies, dating back to the 1987-88 season. Texas continued to dominate the series in Big 12 play, winning 15 of the first 16 contests between the schools in their new conference. By the time the Aggies hired Billy Gillispie in 2004, 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 long since diminished the stature of the once-heated rivalry.

With the rejuvenation of the Texas A&M Aggie basketball program under Billy Gillispie (2004–07) and Mark Turgeon (2007–2011), the basketball rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M quickly intensified. The Aggies successfully defended their home court from Gillispie's first year through the 2009-10 season, Mark Turgeon's second-to-last season with A&M. The Longhorns defeated the Aggies in all three games in Turgeon's final season and in both games in Billy Kennedy's first season with the Aggies. Texas is 12-6 against Texas A&M since Gillispie was hired in 2004.

Big 12 rivals[edit]

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

Former Southwest Conference rivals[edit]

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[edit]

Kevin Durant, Texas Longhorn freshman forward and unanimous 2007 National Player of the Year
D. J. Augustin, 2008 Bob Cousy Award Winner
Name Position Seasons Notes
LaMarcus Aldridge PF 2005-06 2007 NBA All-Rookie Team
2006 NBA Draft 1st Round, 2nd pick — Portland Trail Blazers
2006 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
2006 First-team All-Big 12 forward
D. J. Augustin PG 2007-08 2008 NBA Draft 1st Round, 9th pick—Charlotte Bobcats
2008 Bob Cousy Award winner
2008 Consensus First-team All-American guard
2008 Academic All-American
2008 Unanimous First-team All-Big 12 guard
Ron Baxter F 1977-80 1980 NBA Draft 4th Round, 22nd pick—Los Angeles Lakers
1980 Southwest Conference Player of the Year
Three-time First-team All-SWC (1978–80)
1978 NIT Co-MVP
Abb Curtis G 1922-24 1924 Consensus First-team All-American guard
1924 First-team All-SWC
Kevin Durant F 2007 3x NBA Scoring Champion (2010–12)
2008 NBA Rookie of the Year
2007 NBA Draft 1st Round, 2nd pick—Seattle SuperSonics
Unanimous 2007 National Player of the Year (seven awards)
2007 Unanimous First-team All-American forward
2007 Big 12 Player of the Year
2014 NBA Most Valuable Player
T. J. Ford PG 2002-03 2003 NBA Draft 1st Round, 8th pick—Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs
2003 National Player of the Year (Naismith and Wooden Awards)
2003 Consensus First-team All-American guard
Daniel Gibson SG 2005-06 2006 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 12th pick (42nd overall)—Cleveland Cavaliers
2005 Big 12 Freshman of the Year
Jack Gray G 1933-35 1935 Consensus First-team All-American guard
Three-time First-team All-SWC (1933–35)
Longhorn basketball head coach (1937–42, 1946–51)
Royal Ivey G 2001-04 2004 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 8th pick (37th overall)—Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks
Cory Joseph G 2010-11 2011 NBA Draft 1st Round, 29th pick—San Antonio Spurs
Jim Krivacs G 1976-79 1978 NBA Draft 6th Round, 4th pick—Kansas City Kings
1978 All-American guard
Two-time All-SWC (1978–79)
1978 NIT Co-MVP
Clyde Littlefield C 1913-16 1915 Consensus First-team All-American center
Two-time First-team All-SWC (1915–16)
Acclaimed Longhorn head coach in football (1927–33) and track (1920–60)
Slater Martin G 1946-49 Seven-time NBA All-Star during 11-year career (1950–1960)
1949 First-team All-American guard
Two-time First-team All-SWC (1948–49)
UT's sole Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member (1982)
Travis Mays G 1987-90 1990 NBA Draft 1st Round, 14th pick—Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks
1990 Second-team All-American guard
1989 & 1990 Southwest Conference Player of the Year
Three-time First-team All-SWC (1988–90)
Chris Mihm C 1998–2000 2000 NBA Draft 1st Round, 7th pick—Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers
2000 Consensus First-team All-American center
Two-time First-team All-Big 12 (1999, 2000)
Johnny Moore G 1977 1979 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 21st pick (43rd overall)—Seattle SuperSonics, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs
1979 First-team All-SWC
LaSalle Thompson C 1980-82 1982 NBA Draft 1st Round pick, 5th pick—Kansas City Kings, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets
1982 First-team All-American center
Two-time First-team All-SWC (1981–82)
Tristan Thompson PF 2010-11 1st Round, 4th pick—Cleveland Cavaliers
2011 Wayman Tisdale Award (USBWA National Freshman of the Year)
2011 Big 12 Freshman of the Year
P.J. Tucker F 2004-06 2006 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 5th pick (35th overall)—Toronto Raptors
2006 Second-team All-American forward
2006 Big 12 Player of the Year

Retired numbers[23][edit]

Other notable players[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Timeline: A history of Texas basketball". Austin American-Statesman (Cox Enterprises). November 15, 2005. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  2. ^ "NCAA 2014 Men's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). NCAASports.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ "NCAA 2014 Men's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). NCAASports.com. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Foundation and Growth: Images of the University's Early Years: The first men's basketball team, 1906". The Center for American History (The University of Texas at Austin). Retrieved April 19, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Top 100 Moments in Texas Men's Basketball History". TexasSports.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved April 19, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Longhorns spotlight: A salute to the former lettermen". TexasSports.com. Retrieved May 3, 2008. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online: Southwest Conference". www.tshaonline.org. Retrieved April 19, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h "2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide". big12sports.com. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  9. ^ a b "All-time Longhorn Head Coaches," mackbrown-texasfootball.com
  10. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2. 
  11. ^ "Texas basketball from A to Z," Austin American-Statesman
  12. ^ "How the Longhorns got hot," www.texassports.com
  13. ^ a b "Player's Bio: Tom Penders," UHCougars.cstv.com
  14. ^ "Penders to Texas," New York Times
  15. ^ a b "Rick Barnes Leaves Clemson for Texas", Associated Press
  16. ^ "George Washington; Penders Hired," New York Times
  17. ^ "Big 12 Men's Basketball Record Book". big12sports.com. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  18. ^ "NCAA 2007 Men's Basketball Record Book". ncaasports.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  19. ^ "University of Texas Facilities". Texas Sports. Retrieved November 10, 2006. 
  20. ^ "2006-07 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide". big12sports.com. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  21. ^ "2006-07 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide". big12sports.com. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  22. ^ McConnell, Scott. 2006-07 Texas Basketball Media Guide. Austin: UT Athletics, 2006. 
  23. ^ "Men's Athletics retires nine jersey numbers". TexasSports.com. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 

External links[edit]