The 1978 National Invitation Tournament (N.I.T.) featured Coach Abe Lemons University of Texas Longhorns and then every other team in the tournament….as the Horns deserved to be in “the Big Dance”….as the NCAA snubbed a Texas team that could have made it to the NCAA Final Four in 1978….. but instead were relegated to cutting through the N.I.T. competition “like a sharp knife cuts through butter“.
The University of Texas beat Temple 72 – 58 in the 1st round of the 1978 N.I.T…..then took down Nebraska 67 – 48….before meeting Rutgers in the semifinals as seen in this video herewith…..whom they destroyed by a score of 96 – 76…..before smacking down Coach Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State Wolfpack team by a score of 101 – 93….to win the tournament.
The truth be known….this Longhorn basketball team was just fun to watch with an impressive 3-guard tandem of Johnny Moore (of longtime San Antonio Spurs fame) at the point dishing out assists and driving the lane….along with sharp shooting Jim Krivacs on the wing….knocking down shots like an assassin from the outer limits….and powerful Ron Baxter driving the baseline and swishing pull-up jumpers from the wings while pulling down rebounds on the off-side. Running the always interchanging high and low posts were “rebounding machine and shutdown defender” Gary Goodner…..along with an “uncanny talent of good shooter, good defender and good rebounder” Tyrone Branyon…..which made up a unified team that could not only score at will….but could also run a “match-up zone defense” that was hard to penetrate.
What all of this talent equates too is a team that is well worth watching play the game of basketball every time and any place….as evidenced by this 2nd half of basketball against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the semifinals of the 1978 N.I.T.