The Texas men’s team is back on the national radar having landed at No. 25 in the weekly Associated Press Top 25 poll released today.
The fact this is even news is somewhat telling about where the Longhorns have been the last few years. Texas hasn’t been ranked in the AP poll since the end of the 2010-11 regular season.
The Longhorns were ranked 10th going into the 2011 Big 12 tournament and then got bumped up to 8th before the NCAA Tournament that season. From there, the program’s been virtually ignored by the nationwide voting panel.
Texas went 20-14 in 2011-12 but then stumbled to a 16-18 finish last season.
Things have changed dramatically this year as the Longhorns are 16-4 and currently riding a five-game winning streak. Saturday’s win over Baylor was the third straight win over a ranked opponent, a first in school history.
Texas is currently sporting a 5-2 league record, good enough to be tied with Oklahoma for second place in the Big 12 standings. Texas hosts first-place Kansas (15-4, 6-0 Big 12) at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Erwin Center.
“The chemistry is the biggest difference, there is no doubt,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said after Saturday’s win. “Guys have improved from a team standpoint, and the coaching staff, we’ve got a lot of good guys and everybody cares about each other.
“And we don’t have any one guy that is selfish. That’s the difference.”
When Texas meets Kansas, it will be the first time in school history the Longhorns have played four ranked teams in consecutive games.
Also Monday, sophomore center Cam Ridley was named the Big 12 player of the week by the league office. It’s the first time a UT player has been honored this season. Ridley is averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game in league play. He had 14 boards Saturday against Baylor.
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