Final Four Capsule -- Texas

By United Press International  |  April 4, 2003 at 10:54 AM
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A capsule summary of the Texas Longhorns, who will meet the Syracuse Orangemen in the NCAA Tournament semifinals Saturday.

Coach: Rick Barnes

Record at Texas: 116-49

Career record: 318-183

Conference: Big 12

2002-03 record: 26-6

Conference Record and Finish: 13-3, 2nd

Seed, Region and Bid: 1, South, At-Large

Total NCAA Tournament Bids: 21

NCAA Tournament Record: 23-23 (.500)

Final Four Appearances: 3 (1943, 1947, 2003)

NCAA Tournament Championships: 0

Best NCAA Tournament Finish: National semifinalist (1947)

Record vs. teams in the field: 8-5


F -- Brad Buckman (6-8, 220, Fr -- 6.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg)

C -- James Thomas (6-8, 220, So -- 11.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg)

G -- Brandon Mouton (6-4, 205, Jr -- 14.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg)

G -- Royal Ivey (6-3, 192, Jr -- 8.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg)

G -- T.J. Ford (5-10, 165, So -- 15.1 ppg, 7.5 apg)

Key Reserves:

F -- Brian Boddicker (6-8, 228, Jr -- 8.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg)

G -- Sydmill Harris (6-5, 197, So -- 6.3 ppg, 0.5 apg)

C -- Jason Klotz (6-9, 240 -- 4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg)

F -- Deginald Erskin (6-5, 218 -- 3.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg)

Road to the Final Four:

Defeated (16) North Carolina-Asheville in first round, 82-61

Defeated (9) Purdue in second round, 77-67

Defeated (5) Connecticut in regional semifinals, 82-78

Defeated (7) Michigan State in regional final, 85-76

Outlook: Texas was considered a questionable top seed and not taken seriously as a threat to reach the Final Four. T.J. Ford did not think much of that theory.

Ford has been brilliant in leading the Longhorns by limiting his turnovers and always making sure the basketball goes to the proper place. Ford's brilliance has been the main reason behind Texas' run.

Brandon Mouton had a strong game against Connecticut after struggling in the win over Purdue. James Thomas' presence inside has been tremendous and perimeter shooters like Sydmill Harris and Brian Boddicker are capable, although streaky.

Texas always gets an intense effort from its frontcourt on the glass. The glaring weakness of Texas this season has been that it has been too dependent on Ford at times. The team clearly feeds off of him and sometimes call on him to do more than even he can handle.

The Longhorns do not have other players that can create off the dribble since everything works off of Ford's penetration. Texas will have to knock down some shots when it plays Syracuse in its Final Four matchup. The Orangemen's 2-3 zone can present problems, but coach Rick Barnes has faced it before when he coached Providence.

Mouton, Harris and Boddicker will have crucial roles in this contest, but so will Ford.

Connecticut's Taliek Brown elected to play off Ford, who had a poor shooting night as a result. Syracuse's athleticism can cause problems for Texas on defense. The Longhorns have no effective matchup for Carmelo Anthony and probably none for Hakim Warrick as well.

If Texas advances, it could face a familiar foe in Kansas. The Longhorns played very well in a loss to the Jayhawks in Lawrence in January. But Texas had no answer for Nick Collison inside. A matchup with Marquette would force defensive stopper Royal Ivey to try to contain Dwyane Wade. The Golden Eagles' frontcourt mirrors the Longhorns' and three-point shooting could be the deciding factor.

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