So, with the Longhorns' season over, where do the '07 - '08 Longhorns rank among all of UT's basketball squads? I have an opinion. First- ground rules on where I'm coming from. I feel fine rating high-performing teams from the past highly. Although they didn't have the training and conditioning regimens that we have today, talent is talent. If a basketball team was great 30 years ago, I'll still consider them great, even if a modern team could throw some funky defenses on them and shut them down (supposing your time machine is available to set up a game).
Still, I have limits. I don't necessarily rate pre-integration SWC teams that reached the final four by winning the first game of an eight team tournament highly. Any college team that could have been beaten by contemporary Philadelphia HS squads doesn't get ranked high by me.
Here goes. Here's my top 10 Longhorn teams:
1. 2002-2003: T.J. Ford, James Thomas, Mouton, Ivey, and Boddicker. They made it to the Final Four, and lost to eventual NC Syracuse.
2. 2007-2008: I'm calling this the second greatest Longhorn team. Anyone want to argue?
3. 2005-2006: Elite 8 with Tucker, Aldridge, Gibson, and Buckman. They missed the Final Four by losing in OT to LSU. They may have gotten closer than this years' Horns, and had more NBA-ready talent, but I think our guys this year would beat them.
4. 1989-1990: Elite Eight with BMW (Blanks, Mays, Wright). This is what Trips meant when he wrote about a "shooter's chance".
5. 1977-1978: Won the NIT when it kind of meant something.
6. 1946-1947: Hell, they were a bunch of set-shooting white guys, but they did have a future HOFer in Slater Martin.
7. 2003-2004: Sweet 16, with a #6 seed to start.
8. 2001-2002: Sweet 16 with a #6 seed.
9. 1996-1997: Sweet 16 with a #10 seed.
10. You know, you really can't differentiate between the rest of the squads. Let's leave this blank. Next year's squad will force its way on the list, and then we can put somebody here.
Note how good Barnes has been for Texas (and Texas for Barnes). He has five of the squads, Penders has two, and Lemons has one.
While we're having fun, let's make another list. How about the 10 best D-1A teams from the state of Texas?
1. UTEP/Texas Western 1965-1966: National Championships count.
2. UH 1982-1983: Lost to NCSU on Charles' jam. Drexler, Franklin, Olajuwon, Young, and Micheaux. These guys were damned good.
3. UH 1967-1968: Beat UCLA in regular season, lost in tournament. Birdsong and Hayes.
4. UT 2002-2003: Don't like it? This is my list.
5. UH 1983-1984: The last of the great Phi Slamma Jammas
6. UH 1981-1982: Whatever happened to Rob Franklin? This was one of the greatest Final Fours, btw.
7. UH 1966-1967: The first of UH's five Final Fours.
8. UT 2007-2008
9. UT 2005-2006
10. UT 1989-1990
I was surprised that no other Texas teams did much in the NCAAs. I had remembered the Tony Battie TT teams as being at least an Elite Eight, but I was wrong. Let's call them an honorable mention, along with the Jon Koncak/Kato Armstrong SMU team, and the Rudy Woods Aggie team.
Disagree with any of these? Please comment. Huck, have you already made a spreadsheet to rank these? If so, how did I do?