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Jeff Eisenberg

Don't mess with the state of Texas in basketball either

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NEW ORLEANS — The state with the reputation for producing the greatest football talent in the nation apparently isn't bad at this basketball thing either.

That seems like a safe assumption anyway considering Texas put seven teams in the NCAA tournament this season, tying the record set by California in 2002. Pennsylvania produced the second-most NCAA tournament teams this season with five, followed by California with four.

The most Texas had previously sent was five in 1988 and 2007.

"I think it just shows what great athletes we have in the state of Texas, and what great high school coaches we have in Texas," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "You look at the last few years especially, most of the state schools have been able to keep kids in the state. Because of that, you have a lot of successful college programs.

"So Texas is known for having great football, but, I'll tell you, basketball isn't far behind."

Of course, Texas teams aren't winning entirely with in-state talent. Although Houston's Aubrey Coleman, Texas A&M's Donald Sloan and Texas' Dexter Pittman and Damion James are all in-state kids, check out the list of stars pilfered from neighboring Louisiana that are responsible for this year's basketball success in the Lone Star State.

There's Baylor's Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn, the Bears' two backcourt pillars. There's North Texas guard Josh White and forward Eric Tramiel, two of the Mean Green's three leading scorers. And there's Ashton Mitchell, a three-year starter at point guard for Sam Houston State and the MVP of last week's Southland Conference tournament.

Guess there's no mystery why Louisiana produced only two teams with winning records this season and none that earned an NCAA tournament berth, right?

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