Editor’s Note: The above video shows reaction from Texas basketball after receiving a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Heading into March Madness, the Texas Longhorns are ranked as high as they’ve ever been in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll.
While they’ve been ranked higher multiple times in AP polls during the season, the Longhorns’ ranking of No. 5 ties for the highest ranking at the end of a season since 2002-03 — the last time the team went to the Final Four.
Texas began the year at No. 12 in the AP preseason poll and finished the season as Big 12 Conference tournament champions with a 26-8 overall record and 12-6 in Big 12 play. Kansas won the Big 12 regular season title by a game over the Longhorns and finished one spot above them in the final AP poll of the year.
In the Final Four season, Rick Barnes’ fifth year as head coach, point guard TJ Ford led the Longhorns to wins over UNC Asheville, Purdue, Connecticut and Michigan State before falling to eventual national champs Syracuse, a team that featured freshman Carmelo Anthony.
As much as people love to talk about the rankings, they don’t always reflect what happens on the court. Texas attained the No. 1 ranking during the 2009-10 season but ended up going into the tournament with a No. 8 seed. The Longhorns were then bounced in the first round by ninth-seeded Wake Forest 81-80.
In Shaka Smart’s sixth and final season coaching the Longhorns in 2020-21, Texas finished the season ranked No. 9 in the final AP poll only to lose to Abilene Christian 53-52 in the first round. The Longhorns haven’t made it past the first weekend of the tournament since 2007-08 when they lost in the Elite 8 to Memphis.
Last year under Chris Beard, Texas entered the tournament as a No. 6 seed and beat Virginia Tech in the first round before falling to Purdue in the second round.
Texas, a No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament, takes on Patriot League champions Colgate in the first round on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa. The game is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. CST on TBS.