Team preview: Texas
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
Attrition is part of today's college game, and no school has done a better job of replacing its key losses than Texas has in this decade.
In 2000-01, coach Rick Barnes had to replace first-team All-American Chris Mihm, who had led the Longhorns to a 24-9 overall record and a No.15 national ranking the season before. But despite having eight newcomers, including four freshmen who played significant roles, Texas responded with a 25-win campaign and another NCAA Tournament appearance.
In 2001-02, Barnes was without his top two scorers from the season before in All-Big 12 honorees Maurice Evans and Darren Kelly. Enter freshman T.J. Ford, who promptly led the Longhorns to their first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 1996-97 and earned national freshman-of-the-year honors.
In 2002-03, second-round NBA draft pick Chris Owens had to be replaced. No problem. Barnes guided the Longhorns to the Final Four, where they fell to eventual national champion Syracuse in the semifinals.
By the time last season began, Ford was long gone, the 2003 John R. Wooden Award winner leaving town with two years of eligibility remaining after being the eighth pick in the NBA draft. But UT extended its streak of consecutive years with 20 or more wins to five, as the Longhorns again advanced to the Sweet 16 thanks in part to the play of freshman P.J. Tucker.