Rick Barnes: 'I Want More'

It’s only the biggest Texas men’s basketball game in 53 years. Arguably, it sets up as Texas’ biggest game ever.

When the top-seeded Longhorns tip it off at 4:05 p.m. (CST) in San Antonio Sunday against No. 6 Michigan State in the NCAA South Regional, head coach Rick Barnesbunch will vie for the school’s first Final Four appearance since 1947.

With its most successful regular season in the history books, and now poised on the brink of college basketball immortality, no one on Texas’ top-seeded squad is feeling the least bit satisfied.

Pride? Yes. Joy? Of course. Satisfaction? Not. Even. Close. Bud.

"I want more," Barnes said. "I’m going to put the players in front of me. We’re in the Elite Eight because of them. This is something we envisioned five years ago."

Now, Barnes is in uncharted waters as a head coach. His 1996 Clemson Tiger team fell to Minnesota in the very same Alamodome that his team got past Connecticut in Friday, 82-78, to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 13 years.

Junior G Brandon Mouton poured in a career-high 27 points (10-of-18 FG, including 4-of-7 treys) following his 2-of-11 showing against Purdue.

"After the Purdue game, I really worked on my shot, just grooving it, and I think that helped out," Mouton said.

The Spartans, now 22-12, have rebounded from a 14-11 record and have reached the Elite Eight with wins over Colorado, No. 2 seed Florida and Friday’s 60-58 win over defending national champion Maryland.

The East Lansing team has reached the Final Four in three of the past four years. Michigan State won the 2000 NCAA national championship, but actually lost to Texas (81-74) that same season -- albeit at a poorly attended neutral site in Puerto Rico without All-American Mateen Cleeves.

The key to stopping a red-hot MSU team may be to frustrate 6-3 point guard Chris Hill. The sophomore would rather shoot than set up shots for his teammates, but was moved to point when G Marcus Tyler left the team last season. The only Spartan to average double-figures (14 ppg), Hill was 3-of-14 against the Terps. Michigan State advanced thanks to clutch performances from a pair of freshmen off the bench: 6-4 G Maurice Ager (10 points) and 6-11 C Paul Davis (13 points).

The winner will face the Syracuse-Oklahoma victor Saturday in New Orleans.


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