Texas Men's Basketball Opens At No. 4 In AP Poll

Texas is No. 4 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 Men’s Basketball Poll released Monday. It is the highest AP ranking in school history. Last month, the preseason ESPN/USA Today (Coaches) poll listed the Horns at No. 5.

Texas opens the season Friday against No. 16 Georgia in the AT&T Wireless Classic in New York City’s Madison Square Garden (8 p.m., Central Time). The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

"Just like the coaches poll, this ranking is a compliment to our players and to our program," head coach Rick Barnes said. "However, our entire focus right now is directed toward our season-opener Friday night against a Georgia team who I think should be ranked in the Top 5."

Arizona tops both polls, but a telling statement about the strength of Big 12 hoops this season is that Kansas (No. 2) and Oklahoma (No. 3) are ranked just ahead of Texas. The Horns travel to Arizona, December 15 (3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net) and to Kansas, January 27 (8 p.m., ESPN), plus Texas faces its annual home-and-away series with the Sooners (Feb. 10 in Austin, ESPN telecast; March 8 at Norman, ABC-Sports telecast).

Texas returns all five starters from last year’s Sweet Sixteen squad, including consensus All-American candidate T.J. Ford. Last year, the point guard was the first freshman in NCAA history to lead the nation in assists (8.27 apg).

Previously, Texas’ highest AP ranking was when the team ascended to the No. 5 spot on January 26, 1982 (but F Mike Wacker’s season-ending knee injury later that week shattered the team, which won only two games the rest of the year),

It is just the seventh appearance for Texas in the AP preseason basketball poll in school history, but fifth in the past seven years.

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