Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oklahoma Recap

Game Recap

The Aggies and Sooners battled in the “tale of two halves’ on Saturday afternoon with the Aggies prevailing in the end 70-61.

The first half of the game was, in a nutshell, horrible. Neither team could find a rhythm nor get any momentum established on either end of the floor.

In fact, A&M came out so sluggish at the beginning that Gillispie decided he needed to make a statement. Nearly 4 minutes into the game Gillispie pulled all 5 of his starters in the same substitution.

I guess he felt they all needed to sit for a moment and think about their effort.

"Coach was trying to send a message to get something going and get a spark in our team," commented Acie Law.

Gillispie put them all back in nearly three minutes later and his message apparently worked as the starting 5 went on a small 10-to-5 run to tie the game at 16 apiece.

For the balance of the first frame, the two teams continued to trade baskets, sort of.

The final 7 minutes for the Sooners was all Nate Carter. Carter hit a jumper with 6:54 left to put his team up 21-19, and from that point forward, the final 8 points of the half for OU were all free throws by Carter.

If you do not enjoy watching 7 minutes of basketball with nothing going on but free throws, then you simply do not enjoy college basketball. (Please note heavy dose of sarcasm.)

The best news for the Aggies in the first half was the resurgence of Josh Carter and Antanas Kavaliauskas.

Josh had 8 first half points, including his first three point basket since the Aggies’ win at Colorado back on January 13th.

Kavaliauskas also came out of the blocks strong scoring 13 early points for the good guys mainly working against the undersized and overmatched Nate Carter.

We have discussed numerous times in this arena how important production from both Kavaliauskas and Carter is to this team. Having them both bounce back with solid play in the first half was a very welcome sight.

With the score 29-28 in favor of the Sooners, we all welcomed the halftime break hoping that the 2nd half would provide more highlights than the first.

Thankfully, both teams obliged; the play coming out of the break was much better as both groups seemed to have found renewed energy at the half.

You could immediately tell that Gillispie got to his guys at the half – they came out and looked like an entirely different group – the difference in their energy level was night-and-day.
It was almost as if they just flipped the switch, the Aggies immediately went on a 17-8 run to pull ahead by 8 points at 45-37 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.

Kavaliauskas again made an immediate impact scoring 7 of the Aggies’ 17 points in the run to open the second half. Josh Cater also made his presence felt by knocking down his second three point basket of the game during the run.

The next 8 minutes saw the Sooners claw their way back into the game getting as close at 53-51 with just under 5 minutes left.

[Queue Acie Law and his (now typical) late game heroics.]

The Aggies then went on their second major run of the second half; a 12-to-2 run that quickly pushed the lead back to 12 points.

Acie Law was pivotal during that stretch scoring 10 consecutive points for the Aggies after Dominique Kirk hit a big shot to kick-start the run.

Acie was super on Saturday afternoon as his final line read 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists.

For whatever reason, Acie continues to wait until late in the game to exhort his dominance on opposing teams. 12 of Acie’s 19 points came in the last 4 minutes of the game.

"He's awfully good in crunch time and you wouldn't trade that for anything,” Gillispie said, “but I think he could be a little bit more assertive and aggressive. Instead of scoring 19 points, I believe he could score 34 if his mind-set was changed a little bit."

Acie was also not very pleased after the win in saying, “We didn't play well today. It shouldn't have come down to that point where I needed to score those kind of baskets at the end of the game. We should have been playing better at the beginning."

Personally, I’m just glad the good guys were able to shake the funk from the Tech game and a lethargic first half to play MUCH better in the second frame.

Quick Hits

- Welcome back Josh Carter - - 13 points on 3-of-6 shooting and 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

- Welcome back Antanas Kavaliauskas - - 20 points on 8-of-10 from the field and 6 rebounds.

(When Carter and Kavaliauskas combine to score 25+ points, the Aggies would beat anyone in the country. I can not stress to you all how important these two guys are going to be down the stretch as we get into that tough February schedule this team is going to face.)

- Joe Jones had an uneventful night scoring 7 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Joe however did a very good job of keeping OU big man Longar Longar off balance most of the night.

- Oklahoma had zero turnovers in the 2nd half after committing 8 in the first period.

- Oklahoma’s Nate Carter was a very impressive 13-for-13 from the free-throw line.

- Acie’s 10 points during the late run were certainly impressive, but it could have been even better if he would not have missed the front-end of two consecutive one-and-one opportunities.

- Bryan Davis (6 minutes) and Martellus Bennett (7 minutes) ate up a huge portion of Marlon Pompey’s minutes on Saturday night as Pompey only saw 9 minutes of action. At one point, Marlon got up to enter the game and Gillispie jumped up and shoved him back down the bench then immediately grabbed Bryan Davis by his warmup and lifted him out of his seat and threw him toward the scorers table to go check in the game. Needless to say, Gillispie was visibly upset with Marlon’s effort on Saturday night.

- The win over OU snapped a 14 game losing streak to the Sooners and was only the second win in 27 games all-time against OU.

- Oklahoma shot a dismal 33.9% from the field. The Aggies continue to lead the nation in FG% defense (.351).

- The Aggies did a much better job taking care of the ball on Saturday only committing 7 turnovers.

- Gillispie got a Technical Foul in the game on Saturday; when asked about it afterwards, he said, “It was stupid. I was stupid. That never helps you. It was not smart. Just gave them two points. I was just stupid. Just stupid. I knew what I was doing. It was not smart. It was just stupid. It didn’t help us, it hurt us. That’s worse than giving up a layup. I wouldn’t accept that from my team. That’s stupid. It wasn’t a bad call. You know I can’t talk about calls, but it was a stupid play on my part.”

Ok then.

- Dick Vitale announced Saturday night during the Michigan State/Ohio State game that he will be working the “Big Monday” game versus Texas on February 5th.

- Football recruit and YouTube phenom Sam McGuffie was at the game as part of a HUGE group of Juniors that Dennis was hosting as part of a “Junior Day”. McGuffie was looking very “gangsta” with a rather terrible looking Philadelphia Phillies hat on crooked. Oh well, I guess if he ends up signing with the good guys, what do we care. Jerry Bluhm advised that I should have “given him a hug and slipped him $50.” Brandon Whittle also wondered if McGuffie “had hurdled anyone yet”.

- Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak, Texans linebackers coach Johnny Holland, former Dallas Cowboy
Dat Nguyen, and current Miami Dolphin Seth McKinney were also in attendance.

- Finally, John Lopez had a pretty good piece in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle. It is worth checking out:

Looking Ahead

The Aggies host the Iowa State Cyclones at Reed Arena on Wednesday evening at 6:30 on FSN. The group from ISU has dropped 4 consecutive league games after starting out 2-0.

Their latest setback was to OSU in Stillwater on Saturday night by a final score of 62-50.

Iowa State is in the process of making the transition under new head coach Greg McDermott and they are probably a year away from returning to being competitive on a game-by-game basis in the league.

This year’s Cyclone squad is led by Big-12 newcomer Mike Taylor. Taylor, a Juco transfer, is leading the ISU attack by averaging 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.

Complementing Taylor on the inside is 6’9” big man Wesley Johnson who hails from Corsicana, Texas. Johnson, one of the surprising Freshmen in the league is averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds per contest.

If the Aggies come out and handle their business, they should be on the right side of the scoreboard by 15+ points.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Texas Tech Recap

Game Recap

Well – These are always the toughest ones to type up.

Nobody likes losing, but at least in college basketball it is very different from most other sports. A loss here and a loss there actually can do a little bit of good. At a minimum it gives you that much more to work on and gives you an opportunity to regroup and refocus. It makes for a great opportunity for a good old fashioned reality check.

I am not trying to pump sunshine; it is just the reality of the situation.

Last night the Aggies found out the hard way that going into Lubbock is indeed still a very difficult task. The Red Raiders knocked off their 2nd consecutive top 10 opponent at home by defeating the good guys 70-68. Four days earlier, Tech defeated then #5 Kansas 69-64.

From the opening tip, the Raiders came out on a furious pace in knocking down 7 of their first 9 shots in jumping out to a 17-9 lead through the first 6 minutes of the game. In fact, if it were not for Dominique Kirk, this game could have been over before it even started. DK came out and hit two huge threes early on that allowed the Aggies to hang around.

Gillispie also took notice in saying, "If he (Dominique) hadn't played like he did, we would have had no chance because they were really giving it to us in the first half, and he basically kept us in the game by himself."

More on Dominique in a moment.

The Aggies were able to claw their way back over the later part of the first half supported by a late 17-8 run to close out the first 20 minutes.

The reason the Aggies were able to hang around in the first half was due in large part to the support from their bench. A&M’s bench outscored the Tech bech 13-3 in the first half led by the always energetic Marlon Pompey who added 6 huge & very necessary points.

Way to go Marlon.

The second half saw the Aggies lead for most of the way, but never by more than 5 points (56-51 at the 11:30 mark). The thing that stood out to me more than anything about the 2nd half was the play of senior point guard Acie Law.

Acie made play-after-play-after-play in the second half trying to pull out a win for the good guys. Acie finished with 26 points on 9-of-15 (60%) shooting. The biggest shot from Acie came at the 2:22 mark when he hit a cool-as-ice three to put the Aggies up 66-63.

It was at that point that I thought to myself, “I’ll be darned; he may actually be able to win this game for the Aggies.” But that was all for naught as the Aggies only scored 2 points after Acie’s big shot.

The Aggies had a chance to win the game as Kavaliauskas grabbed a defensive rebound when Martin Zeno missed the second of two free throws that left Tech ahead 68-67 with 0:22 left.

As the Aggies came down the floor, Acie appeared to be setting up the offense when Gillispie called timeout from the bench. It is always easy to second guess decisions when they do not work out, but conventional wisdom is that you should not call a timeout in that situation and continue in the flow of the game.
By calling a timeout, yes, you get to set up your play, but just as importantly if not more importantly, you give the defense a chance to set up as well. I have always preferred to see coaches let the flow of the game continue and create a situation where you run a called play from the sideline and force the defense to react.

They pay Gillispie a ton of money to make those decisions, and I am just a hack sitting behind my computer, but it is these kind of situations and scenarios that make watching and debating sports so much fun.

The play they ran called for Joe to seal his man from the backside in the lane and have Dominique Kirk lob the ball to him.

The play was the right call and Joe had his man in perfect position, but unfortunately DK threw a horrible pass that came up way short and was easily intercepted by Martin Zeno. I guarantee you that nobody felt worse about the outcome of the play than Dominique did. Gillispie said that if Joe was not wide open (which he was) that DK was supposed to call a 2nd timeout to set up an alternative play.

"If Joe was not open, we were going to call timeout," Gillispie said "The old antagonist muscles took over, and Dominique threw it a little short. Joe was open."

As I told Jerry last night – “Perfect play, terrible execution.”

(More sunshine pump)

While no loss is a good loss, I will say this - there are a lot worse games this group cold have lost or may lose this season. Getting beat by a very solid Tech team on the road is not going to make or break this group of guys.

The other thing that is fun about league play (particularly when it involves teams in the Big 12 south) is that you always get your shot when they come to your place. I guarantee you that one of the first things the guys did when they got back last night was to circle February 13th on their calendars – the payback game with Tech.

I also think that 13-3 will at a minimum win a share of the conference title. If the Aggies protect home court, that means they can go 3-2 in their final 5 road games to reach that 13-3 mark. Their final 5 road games are at Kansas, at Nebraska, at Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, and at Texas. Make no mistake about it; going 3-2 in those games will certainly be a tough task.

Quick Hits

- After being very good from the free throw line most of the season, the Aggies were just a tad bit better than terrible last night in only converting 13 of their 21 attempts (including 5 misses in the last 8:30 of the game of which one was the front end of a one-and-one).

- Tech only made 7 field goals in the 2nd half - - of those seven makes, five were three pointers.

- The Aggies dominated Tech in the paint outscoring them 34-8

- I thought Bryan Davis and Martellus Bennett made the most of their combined 5 minutes. It is still strange to me that these guys do not play more.

- Jon Plefka, an oft-used forward from the Red Raiders who came into the game averaging 4.6 points per game single handedly killed the Aggies with 17 points last night on 6-of-8 shooting.

- Did you guys all enjoy the ORileyAutoPartsNewAT&TPlainsNationalBank-
PattersonUTIDrillingSargentsPetProducts television broadcast last night? I think Bryan Brown summed it up best when he said - - “I feel like I am watching this game underwater.” Oh well, it sure beat listening on the radio.

- Josh Carter, where are you? Do you not know that this team has to have you produce on a nightly basis in order to compete? Josh was 0-for-4 for zero points last night.

- Antanas Kavaliauskas, where are you? Do you not know that this team has to have your production on a nightly basis as well? AK only put up 5 shots last night making two for 4 points.

- The Aggies have been selected to appear on two episodes of the ABC program “Free Ticket – Inside College Basketball”.
Further information including dates and times can be found here:

I watched the program last weekend when K-State was featured (including their trip to College Station) and it was a pretty good program – be sure to set your DVR.

- It’s not A&M related, but it is Big 12 related; can someone explain to me why Kansas was only a 9 point favorite at Baylor last night? Kansas won by 26. I hope all of you that enjoy making a friendly wager on a game every now and again took advantage of that last night.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies host the Oklahoma Sooners at Reed Arnea on Saturday at 1:00. The game will be broadcast on ESPN (non-HD).

Oklahoma is a team that is not great but just good enough that you have to keep an eye on them. They can easily sneak up on you, and if you are not careful they can certainly beat you on any given night.

They are lead by Longar Longar who is averaging 11.3 points and 7.1 boards per game. I would expect Joe and AK to present quite a challenge for Longar on the inside.

The two major role players for the Sooners are Michael Neal and Nate Carter. Neal, a 6’3” senior, has been playing much better as of late and has scored in double digits in his last 4 games. The 6’6” Carter is coming off his best game of the season against Oklahoma State where he scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

I would look for a big bounce back game from the Aggies on Saturday. The game is sold out and the 4,200 student tickets sold out in only 70 minutes.

After hosting OU on Saturday, the Aggies host Iowa State on Wednesday the 31st before starting a 6 game February stretch, including 4 of 6 on the road, that will define the 2006-2007 season.

That 6 game stretch is as follows:

Feb. 3 at Kansas
Feb. 5 vs. Texas
Feb. 10 at Nebraska
Feb. 13 vs. Texas Tech
Feb. 17 at Oklahoma
Feb. 21 at Oklahoma State

That is a tough 18 day stretch - - no doubt about it.

These next two games at home are a great chance for the Aggies to regoup and find a way to get AK and Josh Carter back on the right side of things.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Official Word on TV for the Tech Game

The game will be televised by the Texas Tech Television Network.

The game is scheduled to air in West Texas as well as in Dallas/Ft Worth (KFWD-52) and Houston (KTBV-55).

You can also purchase the game for $14.99 as part of ESPN Full Court.


Monday, January 22, 2007

OSU Recap - by Brad Mauritzen

Game Recap (by - Brad Mauritzen)

In front of a loud, whited-out, record crowd of 13,187, the 8th-ranked Aggies took care of business against the 12th- ranked Cowboys, giving legitimacy to their high ranking and putting themselves alone in first place in the Big 12.

The Ags jumped on OSU early, forcing them to take 2 timeouts in the first 2 ½ minutes of the game, and with the exception of a 7-minute stretch at the beginning of the 2nd half, dominated the Cowboys for most of the night.

If you had been told before the game that Jones & Law would combine for 9 points in the first half, with Jones attempting his first shot at the 11:29 mark and Acie only playing 8 of the first 20 minutes, you might have assumed that A&M would be in trouble. But AK had 10 first half points despite missing a few minutes with a bloody nose, Sloan (although Gillespie said “he played like a freshman in the first half”) was capable in place of Acie, and Kirk/Jones/AK/Carter played smothering D that limited the Pokes to 49 total points, 36 below their season average and their lowest output of the year.

In the first half, OSU had some success utilizing high screens, creating mis-matches on the slow switches and allowing them to knock down 5 3-pointers, including 3 by JamesOn Curry. Regardless, A&M built a 15-point lead in the first half and went into the locker room with a 10-point advantage.

The second half started out sloppy. On both ends of the floor, it was turnover, missed shot, missed shot, turnover, etc. Even though A&M was limited to 2 points in the first 7:29 of the half, OSU was only able to whittle their deficit down to 3 points. But Marlon Pompey hit a jumper to fuel an 8-2 A&M run and the Ags never looked back after that. The Ags also did a much better job of fighting through the screens in the 2nd half, limiting the Pokes to 1-7 from downtown. The Ags’ D was also able keep Mario Boggan in check, holding him to 11 points in 38 minutes, half of his average of 22 and also his lowest total of the season.

A&M built the lead up to 19 points with 2:07 remaining and finished it off with a final score of 67-49. 12 different Aggies saw the floor, but with only Sloan and Pompey getting significant minutes off the bench. There were 2 brief Tellus sightings, and even Beau Mulbach got to shoot a couple of FTs in the first half in place of an injured AK.

This was a HUGE win for the Ags. The knock against them had been that they hadn’t beaten a good team, losing to the only 2 ranked teams they had played. OSU is a solid, well-coached team, will contend for a first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament, and will definitely go to the Big Dance in March.

Quick Hits

- Pompey entered the game in the first half and promptly gave up a 3 on a slow screen switch, turned the ball over, committed a foul, and turned it over again, all in 1:44 game time; however, in the 2nd half, his desperately-need bucket started the 8-2 run that gave the Ags a comfortable lead, and his dunk with 6:12 ignited the crowd and kept it going

- The crowd was unbelievable…the student section was full and all-white by 6pm, and they kept it loud the entire game

- Acie Law had only 5 points, all scored in the first 5:30 of the game, until the 4:09 mark of the 2nd half. He then scored 11 of the Ags’ last 13 points, with his traditional late-game pull-up jumpers, buckets in transition, and free throws, earning him player of the game honors from the radio crew

- A&M was abysmal from behind the 3-point arc, connecting on only 3 of 14, all in the first half. Josh Carter was 0-6, but he didn’t get as many open looks as usual because JamesOn Curry was on him tightly most of the night. However, he did take Curry hard off the dribble twice, both times pulling up and hitting the 2-point jumper. Even though he couldn’t buy a 3, it was good to see him try to penetrate baseline and pull up and score

- Kirk did a great job on Curry. He did score 20 points, but 9 of them were on 3s in the first half when A&M had an issue on switching, and 6 were from the FT line. And it’s okay to give up 20 to Curry when you limit Boggan to 11 and only allow 5 players to score

- After the game, Gillespie was asked if he could lead the nation in any statistic, would he prefer it to be opponents’ FG %. He quipped (paraphrasing) “No, I’d rather lead in shooting percentage. If we could just make 100% of our shots, then we wouldn’t really have to worry about defense, because that takes quite a toll on me in practice and in the games. Ask the players, and they’ll tell you the same thing.” Classic…

- The student section usually jumps up and yells in unison on one of the first FT attempts by the opponent each game…it often creates a miss. I’d imagine it’s pretty startling. It worked in the first half on Eaton, but in my opinion they over-used it on Saturday. Afterwards, when A&M attempted a free throw, a lady in orange in front of me (behind the basket at the top of the lower bowl) jumped up and screamed, all by herself. Although Carter hit the FT, everyone around her laughed and gave her a good round of applause

Looking Ahead

The Ags travel to Lubbock on Wednesday to take on the Red Raiders at 7:00. Tech is fresh off an emotional upset of 5th-ranked Kansas . On the whole, this is the position in which you want your opponent to be…coming off a big win and poised for a let-down game.

The game is on Ch. 55 KTBU in Houston – I will post the full TV clearance as soon as it becomes available.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

OSU Preview

#8 Texas A&M vs. #12/14 Oklahoma State Preview

Saturday, January 20th
7:00 CST – ESPN+ (Local)
(see below for TV information)

Oklahoma State is probably the surprise team of the Big 12 thus far. Sean Sutton has done a great job of getting the most out of his very thin roster.

The Cowboys ran off 11 straight wins to open the season before losing a hard fought battle at Tennessee (77-79) in mid-December. They then ran off 4 more wins in a row including a double-overtime thriller over #7 Pittsburgh (95-89) in Oklahoma City.

The Pokes opened up Big 12 play with a “not as close as the score would indicate” win over Baylor (81-77) in Stillwater. They then lost to Kansas in Lawrence 57-87 on one of those nights where KU could do no wrong and OSU could do no right. The 30 point margin of victory is not indicative of either team’s true ability.

After having their game last Saturday against Nebraska postponed due to weather in Oklahoma City, the Cowboys bounced back to defeat the Texas Longhorns 105-103 in triple-overtime in what was easily the best game of the year so far in college basketball.

This team has however not been without adversity. Since losing one of the best freshmen in the league in Obi Muonelo to injury, Sean Sutton has been forced to play a rotation consisting of mainly 7 guys.

Sutton’s roster has become so thin that All-Big 12 Wide Receiver Adarius Bowman joined the Cowboys basketball team in early January. Bowman has not played competitive basketball since 2003 when he was a finalist for Division II Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee.

Despite having a limited roster, Oklahoma State does have two of the best players in the league in JamesOn Curry and Mario Boggan.

Curry averages 18.5 points and 4.6 assists per game and can go for 30 on any given night.

Boggan is one of the premier post players in the conference and is 2nd in the league in scoring with a 22.0 point per game average. Boggan is also a strong rebounder who averages 8.1 boards per night.

OK - Let’s dig into this match-up and see what may happen.

Backcourt Match-up

OSU usually starts sophomore Byron Eaton at the point. The 5’11” 215 pound spark plug usually does a pretty good job of pushing the ball up the court but does not bring much to the table offensively. Eaton only averages 6.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Eaton is probably the Cowboy’s best point defender and will be assigned with the tough task of attempting to slow Acie Law.

If you can get Eaton in early foul trouble, Sutton will have to juggle his defensive assignments with either Curry or wingman Terrell Harris attempting to shut-down Acie. I’ll take Acie over any of those 3 guys, but I am of course biased.

Eaton is also the Cowboys only true ball handler and when he is not in the game the Cowboys can really struggle bringing the ball up the floor. I would look for Gillispie to throw a heavy dose of full-court pressure at the Pokes on a pretty consistent basis.

Joining Eaton in the backcourt is junior JamesOn Curry. Curry is as good of a pure shooter as you will ever see and he is usually the catalyst for the Cowboys offensive attack. If you can slow down Curry, you can usually slow down the Cowboys, but that is easier said than done.

Gillispie will no doubt look to the best perimeter defender in the league, Dominique Kirk, to lock down Curry.

Do you think it is a coincidence that Kirk and Curry have matched up 4 times in their careers and Curry is only averaging 9.5 points per game vs. A&M?

Me neither.

I’m also going to include OSU’s Terrel Harris and A&M’s Josh Carter in this group. Both players are hybrid-guards who can play 3 positions on the floor.

Harris is having a breakout year and is almost an unsung hero for the Cowboys as he does not get the same publicity that Boggan and Curry receive. The 6’5” sophomore is averaging 11.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Harris has emerged as a much-needed 3rd scoring threat for the Cowboys.

As we have discussed here quite a few times – Josh Carter being aggressive and shooting the ball 10+ times is absolutely a key for A&M. The Aggies will undoubtedly need Josh to produce in order to beat OSU on Saturday.

You may also see Marcus Dove (the Cowboy’s best defender) spend some time coming out to guard Carter if he gets hot from the outside. Dove’s primary responsibility however will be attempting to help out inside on Kavaliauskas and Jones.

Advantage – Moderate Edge For The Aggies (+3)

Frontcourt Match-up

Getting to watch Mario Boggan and Joe Jones go to work inside should be a lot of fun. Both big men are amongst the best at their position and both are legitimate candidates to earn first team all-big 12 honors at the end of the season.

As we mentioned above, simply put, Boggan is having a monster year. Joe is going to have to play one of his best defensive games of the year in order to help neutralize Boggan on the inside.

I also think we may see Gillispie go to a combination of Davis / Bennett / Elonu off the bench in order to come in and bang on Boggan.

Joining Boggan on the inside for the Cowboys will be Marcus Dove and David Monds. Monds and Dove are both at their best on the defensive end of the floor and will certainly be key factors in helping to slow down Jones and Kavaliauskas on the inside.

Dove is a very athletic player and if he gets loose in the open floor, look out, he is one of the most electrifying dunkers you will see come to Reed Arena this season. You will probably see Dove split time between guarding Carter on the perimeter and Kavaliauskas on the block.

Kavaliauskas has been on a little bit of a slide over the last 3 games due to foul trouble. Similar to Carter, this team is going to need AK to contribute on the offensive end in order for the Aggies to play up to OSU’s level.

Advantage – Push (+/- 0)

Bench Match-up

This one is a no-brainer. Sean Sutton only has 11 guys on his entire roster and of those, only 9 are on scholarship.

Gillispie on the other hand has 21 guys on his roster of which 12 will see time as we get deeper into the Big 12 schedule.

Sutton will likely go with Eaton/Curry/Harris/Monds/Boggan in his starting lineup leaving Dove and Kenny Cooper being the main guys coming off the bench. Dove’s athleticism can allow for him to be a difference maker while the 6’10” Cooper, who has been playing better as of late, is not much more than a marginal role player who can come in and bang on Jones and Kavaliauskas.

From the Aggies bench you will see major minutes from Pompey and Sloan and minor minutes from Bennett/Davis/Elonu/Lee/Roland.

Advantage – Major Edge for the Aggies (+4)

Coaching Match-Up

Sean Sutton is in his first full season as the head coach of the Cowboys and is off to a great start leading his troops to battle through all sorts of adversity. Sutton ran off two or three very able athletes in the off-season because they were bad apples - - couple that with the loss of super-stud Muonelo to injury and what Sutton has done with this group, molding them into one of the top teams in the nation, is nothing short of remarkable.

I do not need to tell you guys, especially in this arena, that one thing we all know is that Gillispie will have his guys ready to play. Gillispie has proven time and again that he is one of the best gameday coaches in the league.

I would love to give a slight edge to Gillispie here, but Sutton is not a true rookie coach and you can not ignore what he has done this year with his group of guys.

Advantage – Push +/- 0


Oklahoma State is playing in only their 2nd true road game of the year. They have played a handful of neutral court games, but their only true road game of the year was when they lost to Kansas a couple weeks back.

The sold out Reed Arena will be rockin’ on Saturday night and should create a pretty decent home court advantage for the Aggies. In-fact, this game sold out earlier than any other game in the 9 year history of the building and the 4,200 student tickets sold out in less than 90 minutes this morning. Amazing.

Both teams’ players have played in plenty of big games over the past couple of years so I am not too sure that there is one group or another that has a big edge here. If you can point to anything here, you can go back to the team’s respective benches - - I’ll take the experience of the Aggie’s bench over the experience of the OSU bench.

Advantage – Minor Edge for the Aggies (+1)

The Aggie Hoops Report’s Game Outcome Prediction -

Texas A&M Aggies – 69
OSU Cowboys - 61

Television Information:
Houston – KNWS Austin/San Antonio – KCWX Dallas – KTXA
Longview/Tyler – KLPN Waco – KWTX Tulsa – KJRH Oklahoma City - KOCB

This should also be a heck of a game.


Carry on.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

OSU Preview from an OSU Point-Of-View

Chris Batchelder – one of the best guys I know – has been nice enough to cut into his busy schedule and put together a quick look at the game on Saturday from an OSU point-of-view.

Chris is an OSU graduate and former employee of the OSU Alumni Association. He is one of the biggest OSU fans I know and offers a unique glimpse into......... blah, blah, blah.

Anyway – thanks for putting this together Chris – we hope you guys enjoy.

(oh yeah – apparently he is not quite over the events of October 21 just yet either.)


What's up Aggie fans?

Well, after a joint effort between TAMU and OSU to chop Varsity's horns off last night, I'm feeling better about providing an A&M/OSU preview for Saturday.

The good news for you guys is that the Pokes will have to use today (Wed.) for rest and film and then start preparing for the Aggies on Thurs. with a light practice before leaving Friday evening.

You'll never believe this, but the early forecast calls for bad weather up here again on Friday or Saturday so I imagine they'll want to get going pretty early on Friday and get down there.

It doesn't seem like we can make the trip to College Station without some sort of drama here in recent years.

State of the State

OSU's bench woes are no secret.

There's no way they should have been able to survive a triple overtime game against Texas having two guys foul out.

The only players on the bench left were Kenny Cooper, who for some reason didn't even play, and Adarius Bowman, star wide receiver that has recently joined the team. I think he could have put either of them in and they'd have done better than Monds but that's why I'm not coaching.

(You'll remember Monds getting thrown out of OSU's game against Southwestern Oklahoma the first his own coach.)

So foul trouble or injuries could really affect a game like this one.

A&M's big men will give the Pokes fits and if Boggan, Monds and Dove have typical foul problems, this could be over early.

Curry and Boggan are the obvious leaders. Harris has continued to improve and has his phantom mask off now. Eaton had his best game of the year, effort-wise last night before suffering an ankle injury that affected him the rest of the game.

The good news for you guys is that the team summary is really pretty short because the bench is.

Saturday's Game

I think this game comes down to the Big 2 for each team.

You've got the #2 and #4 scorers in the league going for OSU against the #10 and #14 for A&M.

41 ppg vs 30 ppg.

Boggan and Jones vs. Curry and Law.

We all know they'll put Dove for OSU on Law but I don't know from A&M who gets Curry.
Probably Carter or Kirk.

Jones will eat Boggan up on the offensive end. Boggan is lazy and Jones is really good. He'll go for anywhere from 24-30.

Law will have a hard fought 18 mostly coming when Dove is out with foul trouble. I think JamesOn will be down, he had a great game against Texas. I expect around 12-16 from him.

So the X-factor is really Boggan.

Will he be the Texas Boggan or the Kansas Boggan? One was pretty good, the other was just shamefully awful. I would say it's because of Kansas' big men but he's done well against some pretty good big guys this year.

The more I watch of this kid Gray from Pitt the more I appreciate that win (He had 22 and 19 again last night).

But the law of averages suggests that the real difference will be who is going to make up the 11 points that A&M is short from their two stars. If they manage to do that, this could be another one down to the wire in College Station.


Conference play so far suggests 81-72 Oklahoma State.

I'm going to go 70-59 A&M.

I think OSU has some soul searching to do on the road in this one to put the Kansas game behind them. But A&M will have the place crazy and ready to play and we found out last week how the Pokes react to that type of atmosphere.

I also think for A&M to prove their worth to the league and nation, they HAVE to have this win. I'm not saying all hope is lost if they lose it, but this would be a HUGE step toward their goal.
Beating a team ranked close behind them, having the front runner position in the South going forward.

I think you would have to say that a win for OSU here after beating Texas would make them the favorite for the 2 seed going into OKC. Early to say that but it would be a huge confidence boost.
This is a really big early Big 12 game, should be a blast.

Good thing there's no such thing as 4th and 13 in basketball or I'd declare this one over right now. Unbelievable. 4th and 13. How does that even happen?

Big 12 Game Of The Year?

If you did not stay up last night to watch all 3 hours of the Oklahoma State / Texas game you missed one of the most entertaining big 12 games we have seen in a LONG time.

The Cowboys and Longhorns played a triple-overtime thriller in Stillwater last night with OSU coming out on top 105-103 when Mario Boggan drained an improbable three pointer with 3.2 seconds left.

Kevin Durant and Mario Boggan, probably the two best all-around players in the league, were both trying to will their teams to victory last night and both guys put up mind-boggling numbers in what was a battle for the ages.

Durant had 37 points and 12 rebounds (playing 52 minutes) while Boggan had 37 points and 20 rebounds (playing 54 minutes).

You can read a recap of the game here:

or here:

(The ESPN recap also has a highlight reel embedded in the article.)

Texas travels to Villanova on Saturday while OSU next travels to College Station to take on the Aggies on Saturday night at 7:00.

We will have a full preview of the OSU game ready to go by tomorrow afternoon.

Carry on.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Colorado Recap

Game Recap

The Aggies went north and managed their second straight road win in beating Colorado by 17 points (87-69).

I love Coach Gillispie - - Here is what he had to say after the Aggies’ win in Boulder:

"They just whipped us and made us like it. They outplayed us, outcoached us, out every-thinged us. We didn't deserve to win. We got whipped."

"We never had a sincere desire to think. We try to play hard, smart and together. I thought we played together and that was about it."

"You can't continue to play like we're playing and continue to win."

"They beat us in every facet of the game; I couldn't tell you right now how we won."

Look – I do not know how many of you guys got to see the game on Saturday night, but I think Coach is overreacting just a tad.

I know that this group has a “defense first” mentality, and they certainly had their most lackluster performance of the year on the defensive end of the floor. In fact, Colorado scored more points (69) than anyone has managed to put up against the Aggies so far this year.

While A&M could not stop Colorado in transition, personally, I think they did manage to get a couple of things right on the defensive end.

Colorado only shot 38% from the field (23-for-61) on the game. This number includes a sorry 2-for-12 from behind the arc (17%). When A&M did get back on defense I thought their defensive pressure was ok (not good or great, but it was ok).

I also think the best thing to take away from the Aggies defensive effort was that Dominique Kirk did a great job on Richard Roby. DK played all 40 minutes (at altitude) and held Roby to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

I think where most of Gillispie’s frustration is coming from is that Colorado nearly ran A&M out of the gym. The Aggies rarely got back in transition to slow the Buffs down, and they are fortunate that Colorado was unable to take better advantage of these opportunities.

You can get away with that kind of defensive effort against Colorado but not against Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas. That group of 3 teams will kill you if you do not manage to slow down their attack and let them force tempo on the offensive end.

What I want to focus on here for a moment is what the Aggies were able to do on the offensive end of the floor. Saturday night was one of the best all-around offensive games the starters have managed to put together this season.

The five starters scored 81 of the Aggies’ 87 points and shot 55% from the floor on 28-of-51 shooting. It is also worth noting the starters were 8-of-12 (67%) from behind the arc. They were very efficient all night long, and the offense had a much better flow to it.

Welcome back Joseph Jones! Good to see you again kid!

Big Joe had a great game in scoring 18 hard-earned points and pulled down a career high 15 rebounds. Joe played 34 tough minutes and only picked up 2 fouls. He struggled at times with the altitude but at the end of the day he left it all on the floor. Joe was outstanding, and it was good to see him bounce back after struggling a little bit over the last couple of games.

Despite playing only 24 minutes and fouling out, Josh Carter made a major contribution on the offensive end. Josh added 19 points on 7-of-11 from the field (5-for-7 from deep).

Kavaliauskas also had a solid all-around game on the offensive end. His minutes were limited as well by foul trouble, but he managed to add 15 points and 5 rebounds.

Finally, Acie Law, who (you guessed it) was also saddled with foul trouble most of the night, made the most of his 27 minutes by scoring a team high 21 points. The senior guard was great in the 2nd half as 15 of those 21 points came in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Speaking of the last 10 minutes, Colorado managed to climb back to within one point at 56-57 with 9:42 remaining in the contest. The Aggies promptly went on a 19-3 run to extend the lead to 76-59 with 3:32 left and that was all she wrote.

The first half also featured a very impressive Aggie run. Colorado jumped out to a 25-18 lead over the first 12 minutes as it looked like the good guys were sleep walking and going through the motions. The Aggies ripped off the next 15 points of the game to surge to a 33-25 lead. They managed to push that margin to 12 at 42-30 before Colorado scored the final 6 points of the half to cut the lead to 42-36 at the break.

The bottom line is this - - it was a great week for the Aggies as you will take back-to-back road wins any time you can get them in this league. In order to win the regular-season conference title, you are going to have to win 6 or 7 of your 8 road games. While the Aggies have probably played 2 of their 3 least challenging road games, you will take any win on the road you can get, especially in back-to-back situations.

They now head into their “bye” week (no mid-week game this week) before they host the OSU Cowboys on Saturday the 20th.

Quick Hits

- For the second game in a row Acie Law was phenomenal when going to the basket. It has been great to see him take better advantage of his quick first step and beat his man while driving all the way to the rack.

- The Aggies, as a team, shot 53% (30-of-57) on the night which included a very impressive 57% (8-for-14) from the three-point line.

- Joe Jones was great (again) from the free throw line by converting 8 of 11 attempts. Joe has fallen to 3rd in the league in free-throw percentage averaging .854 from the line (Terrell Harris from OSU leads at .857).

- Maybe I am just imagining it, but it looked like to me that there were a number of plays designed to help get Josh Carter open tonight. It seemed like they were running him around more screens and double screens along the baseline. I also thought Josh did a better job of moving forward and going to the basket.

- I came away impressed with Colorado guard Dominique Coleman. The 6’3” senior who can play both guard positions had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.

- I hope you have your OSU tickets in hand as the game has already sold out.

- Martellus Bennett made a brief appearance in the first half. That was good to see.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies host the nationally-ranked OSU Cowboys on Saturday night at 7:00. This is the first big-time game at Reed Arena this season and the students have declared the game as the first official “White Out” game. If you are planning on going to the game be sure and wear white. Reed should be rockin’ and the atmosphere will be great.

With the bye-week this week I will try and put out a full preview for the game by Thursday this week.

OSU hosts Texas on Tuesday at 8:00 (ESPN2) this week in Stillwater (if the weather cooperates).

Aggie Hoops Report’s Big 12 Player of the Week

Kevin Durant – Texas
Durant had two more monster games this week. 34 points and 13 rebounds in the Longhorn’s win over Missouri on Wednesday. He then came back on Saturday and went for 28 and 13 in the Longhorn’s win over Oklahoma on Saturday.

This week you stopped hearing people say “He may be the best freshman in the nation.” and you started hearing people say “He may be the best player in the nation.”

If he keeps this up, we’ll just rename this weekly honor to be the “Kevin Durant Award” and go with someone else each week.

If you have not watched UT play this year, take time to watch this kid, he is simply awesome.

Also considered:
Acie Law – Texas A&M – 41 points combined in two Aggie road wins.
Sasha Kaun – Kansas – Played great in helping to lead Kansas to two big wins this week.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Martellus Bennett Update

Brent Zwerneman of the SA-EN reported this morning that Martellus has in-fact decided to play basketball this year.

Having Martellus around can only be viewed as a positive, right?


Friday, January 12, 2007

Colorado TV Update

The game will be shown on FSN-Southwest (via all cable and satellite providers) in the states of Texas and Colorado only.

Texas A&M at ColoradoSaturday, Jan. 13 • 6 p.m.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baylor Recap

Game Recap

I am not sure where to start here.

Look – despite everything you are going to read below, just remember that the Aggies managed a 61-51 win on the road over Baylor to move to 2-0 in the league. That is the bottom line. If that makes you happy, you can stop reading right here.

We should certainly call the first half of the game ugly, but if we do that I am not sure what we would call most of the second half. Needless to say, the 40 minutes on Tuesday night were not a thing of beauty.

Early on, neither team was able to settle into a rhythm as the game had a very choppy pace. I think part of this was due to the quick turnaround from Saturday to Tuesday for both teams, but I also know that the refs calling a combined 22 fouls in the first half did not help either.

The first half was so spastic that both teams shot below 35%, with the two teams combining to miss a total of 32 shots. The one positive by-product of all the missed shots was the fact that A&M was able to out-rebound Baylor 20-14 in the first frame.

Donald Sloan, coming off the bench, played a very Jekyll and Hyde first half showing flashes of brilliance followed by flashes of typical freshman mistakes.

Dominique Kirk and Antanas Kavaliauskas spent huge chunks of the first half on the bench, both in early foul trouble.

It was too bad that AK picked up two quick fouls because he came out of the gates on fire scoring 5 quick points and grabbing 2 rebounds in the first 6 minutes.

For the second game in a row, the big Lithuanian only managed to play a handful of minutes due to foul trouble. AK is vital to this team’s success, and they need him on the floor, not on the bench.

Acie Law was the only reason the Aggies were ahead 26-24 at the break, and without his production, the Aggies would have been in serious trouble.

Also, for some inexplicable reason Josh Carter only took one shot (a miss) in the first half and finished the game 1-for-2 for 3 points with 4 rebounds.

It is no coincidence that the Aggies offensive struggles over the last two games have been due to the fact that AK and Josh Carter have been non-existent. Looking on the bright side, you can say that both of these guys are too talented not to produce at a higher level than we have seen over the past couple of games.

Unfortunately, the second half brought more of the same for Kavaliauskas. In the first 2 minutes it was 2 more fouls. This of course sent AK right back to the bench. What it all adds up to is that less Kavaliauskas means more Pompey. That can not be good, right?

The second half started out with Baylor’s Kevin Rogers scoring the first 7 points for the Bears. Baylor seemed to be feeding off of Rogers’ energy and found themselves ahead 39-34 at the 13:48 mark.

After Gillispie called a timeout to stop the Baylor rally, Josh Carter hit his only basket of the day, a three-pointer from the corner.

The two teams traded free throws for a couple of possessions before Baylor held their last lead of the night 43-41 at the 10:58 mark.

The last 11 minutes of the game were dominated on both ends of the floor by A&M.

I do not think it is a coincidence that once the refs stopped calling fouls with great frequency (16 fouls in the first 10:45 of the 2nd half - - 48 total in the game) that the Aggies were able to finally get in a rhythm and pull away at the end.

From the time Baylor held their last lead at 43-41, the Aggies went on a 20-8 run to close out the game. The furious rally was fueled by Acie Law who absolutely took over the game. It was a gutsy performance by one of the, if not the, best point guard in the league.

Acie finished the day with 20 points 4 rebounds and 2 steals and 0 turnovers, but it was his 7 consecutive points including back-to-back driving layups against overmatched freshman Tweety Carter that sealed the deal for A&M.

It was a fairly emotional win for the good guys and there were two very visible outbursts where you could see how relieved they were to finally pull away from Baylor.

The first of these was Acie Law declaring, “THIS IS MY TEAM…… THIS IS MY……” – well, you can read lips so I will let you figure out what else he says. You can see it in the following video:

The second one was a frustrated and relieved Antanas Kavaliauskas slamming the ball to the floor as the final buzzer sounded. I am not sure if he was happy, mad, or both. He did shoot a pretty nasty glare at the Baylor students, so maybe he was mad, who knows. It was slightly odd, but hey, do what feels good.

I cannot express to you guys how good Acie was last night. He is playing like you would expect your 4-year starting point guard to play, but he is also taking over games in key moments.

After the game – the first question the media asked Coach Gillispie was, “What allowed you guys to break open the game in the 2nd half?”

His response was simply, “Acie.” After a few moments of silence, he added, “Baskets were so hard to come by, but that's what a senior, big-time, future pro guard is supposed to do."

Quick Hits

- The bench was a revolving door for Coach Gillispie as 10 players saw time. Sloan, Lee and Pompey led the way off the bench each seeing double digit minutes.

- One of the only good stretches of minutes in the first half saw a quick lineup featuring three A&M small guards Acie Law, Donald Sloan and Logan Lee all on the floor together.

- Dominique Kirk owned Baylor sharpshooter Aaron Bruce defensively for most of the night. Bruce finished 0-for-3 with 2 points in 25 minutes of action.

- A&M players not named Law only made 9 buckets on the night. Baylor players not named Rogers only made 8 buckets on the night. U-G-L-Y.

- We talked on Sunday bout Baylor center Josh Lomars doing a good job of nothing more than getting in the way. Well, he did not disappoint by fouling out in 7 minutes of action with 0 points and 0 rebounds. He also stopped by the A&M bench to shake Billy Gillispie’s hand after he fouled out on his way back to the Baylor bench. It was quite weird.

- Joe Jones is leading the Big 12 in Free Throw Percentage at .872 (68-of-78)

- Speaking of Joe, he has a bizarre habit of throwing up either during the game or at halftime. Yes, I know, it is very strange and yes, it happens every game. Apparently it was particularly bad last night as Coach Gillispie commented, “I've never heard anybody throw up quite like that, and for as long. He kept saying 'I'm fine.' But that's only because he's a tough guy and a team player."

(I’m sorry for ruining your lunch. I know it is gross.)

- The Aggies are the only team in the country that has not allowed an opponent to score more than 65 points.

- The win over Baylor pushed the Aggies’ record to 14-2 this season, their best start since 1959-1960.

- The Aggies have won 9 straight conference games (dating to last season) and are 2-0 for the first time ever in Big 12 play.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies head to Boulder on Saturday to play Colorado and their “lame duck” coach Ricardo Patton. The weather for their trip is supposed to be downright awful on Saturday with temperatures nearing 0° and snow showers.

Despite having one of the top players in the league, Colorado is the worst team in the Big 12. Richard Roby is simply outstanding, and it is very surprising he did not enter the NBA draft last season. Roby is averaging 19 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this year. The only other offensive threat on the Buffs roster is Dominique Coleman, a guard who averages 11 points and 5.3 rebounds.

Colorado is so bad that they are only averaging 2,793 people per game. I guarantee you that is the “tickets sold” number and not “people in attendance”.

Good luck to the poor guy who takes over for Ricardo Patton next season.

The Aggies should win this game rather easily (10+ points), but know that Colorado is going to pull at least one major upset at home this year. Let’s all just hope it doesn’t happen on Saturday night.

I do not know the full TV clearance as of yet – DishNetwork, DirectTV, and TWC-Houston are all showing the game on regular Fox Southwest on Saturday night at 6:00. As soon as the full TV clearance list is released I will let you guys know.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Baylor TV Update - 7:00 - FSN

The game tonight is available only within the state of Texas.

Cable TV Subscribers:

If you live in Dallas - you will not get the game tonight - Go Stars!
If you live in San Antonio or Austin - you will not get the game tonight - Go Spurs!

If you live anywhere else in the state - you will get the game - check your local listings.

Satellite TV Subscirbers:

DirecTV - Channel 660 - all markets.
Dish Network - Channel 447 - all markets.

I hope that helps.

Monday, January 08, 2007

K-State Recap

Game Recap

The Aggies and Wildcats fought in a true grind-it-out battle on Saturday night at Reed Arena with the good guys coming out on top 69-65.

The first half of this game was as sloppy and as tough to watch as we have seen in quite some time. You could tell pretty early on that this was going to be a long night and a tough battle.

Both teams came out playing fierce man-to-man defense, and it was pretty clear that K-State was going to try and knock off the Aggies by beating them at their own game.

Off of the opening tip, the Aggies came out firing blanks by missing 8 of their first 9 shots.

Fortunately for A&M, two things happened early on to keep them in the game.

1.) K-State was whistled for quite a few fouls early in the game. The Aggies took advantage of this position by converting all 12 of their free throw attempts in the first half.
2.) Dominique Kirk knocked down a couple of big 3’s – 10 minutes into the game, the Aggies had only managed to make 2 field goals, both 3’s by DK.

K-State was forcing the tempo of the game early on and clearly caught the Aggies by surprise. The Wildcats managed to put up 28 shots in the first half (compared to 21 for A&M).

All of this said, the biggest news in the first half was that K-State super-freshman Bill Walker left the game with a knee injury and did not return. (Walker had an MRI on Sunday and will undergo further tests on Monday – the extent of the injury is unknown.)

The other odd thing was that one of the Big 12’s top players, Cartier Martin, did not start the game for K-State. When asked about this after the game, Bob Huggins said that he did not start Cartier in an attempt to limit his minutes.

“We were looking to limit their minutes a little bit.” Huggins explained, “Their production has been better when their minutes have been lower. When they play too many minutes they get tired. When they get tired they stand around and commit more fouls. That’s all there was to it.”

He’s one of the most respected coaches in the game and I’m just a simple minded kid from Oklahoma, but if I had a talent like Cartier Martin on my team, I think I’d have him in the starting lineup, but that’s just me.

As they went to the break, the Aggies had a 32-30 advantage with neither team holding more than a 5 point lead at any point throughout the first frame.

The second half was not nearly as sloppy as the first.

The early part of the second frame was not necessarily about what A&M was or was not doing, more so than it was about the fact that K-State went through a 6+ minute stretch where they converted 10 of 13 field goal attempts.

If you were able to watch the game there is no need for me to tell you, but a great majority of those 10 makes were terrible shots. It was one of those frustrating stretches where no matter what K-State threw at the rim, the shots all found a way to fall.

By the time K-State was done throwing junk in from all over the floor, the Aggies looked up and were trailing 53-48.

Enter Josh Carter.

Josh was really struggling from the field as K-State was doing a great job of always making sure someone was accounting for his whereabouts. Through the first 33 minutes of the game, Josh was only able to put up 3 shots (all misses).

With 7 minutes left in the game, a streaking Acie Law found Josh alone in the corner right in front of the Aggie bench. Josh not only knocked down the 3 point shot but also managed to draw a foul from K-State’s Lance Harris. Josh converted the rare 4-point play to draw the score even at 55 apiece.

Including the 4-point play, Josh scored 9 of the next 13 points for the Aggies – this mini-streak not only seemed to spark the good guys, it also finally got the crowd of over 11,000 into the game.

When the crowd finally woke up, A&M turned up their defensive intensity and managed to hold KSU to only two field goals over the last 6+ minutes of the game.

When they added them up at the buzzer – the Aggies managed to hold on for the 69-65 win.

I guess the thing that surprised me more than anything about K-State was that it was not so much about Bill Walker and Cartier Martin more so than it was about K-State’s depth.

KSU managed to produce 32 of their 65 points from guys on their bench. They had 9 people play at least 10 minutes. Not only were they bringing it on the offensive end, they were playing man-to-man defense as tough as you will ever see.

We talked last week about how you should be glad that A&M not only had KSU at home, but also that they had KSU early. I got a couple of text messages from you guys after the game saying that A&M does not want to see this group again, and I could not agree more.

I think this an early example of A&M being a marked team this year. This is all just a by-product of the success the program has enjoyed the last couple of years. You are certainly going to get everyone’s “A” game each time out. I know this much, the K-State group I saw on Saturday night was certainly a different bunch than we saw on Wednesday when they played at Xavier and lost by 10.

At the end of the day, a win is a win and you will take all of them you can get in this league.

Next up, the Aggies travel to Waco on Tuesday night (7:00 - - FSN) to take on Baylor. This game will certainly be a good test for Gillispie’s group.

Quick Hits

- Only 6 people saw significant minutes on Saturday night. Pompey played 25 rather terrible minutes off the bench. Sloan, Lee, Mulbach, Davis, and Elonu each saw time for a possession or two.

- Speaking of Pompey, he had a huge “put back” with the game tied at 57 and he did some nice things defensively, but if you watched this game, you saw the same thing I did. 4 of his 5 turnovers were terrible, and he’s lucky that nobody in the first row of the stands got injured by one of his wayward passes. Look, I know I am always picking on Marlon, but it’s amazing to me that he still garners 25 minutes each night.

- Kavaliauskas was a big non-event on Saturday as well. He fouled out in 15 minutes of action only scoring 3 points on 1 of 4 from the field. He seemed like his head was not in the game for some reason. He made quite a few uncharacteristic plays. I’m sure he will bounce back and have a good game at Baylor on Tuesday.

- Joe Jones was better – 17 points, 9 rebounds - but he still struggled from the field only converting 5 of 13 attempts. The big fella did manage to knock down all 7 of his free throw attempts.

- The only area of the box score where A&M dominated K-State was on the glass. The Aggies won the rebound battle 37-26.

- The biggest knock on the Aggies right now is a failure to consistently take care of the ball. They committed 16 turnovers on Saturday night which led to 22 points for KSU.

- Martellus Bennett was at Reed Arena on Saturday night. Too bad he was walking around all night shaking hands and kissing babies and not in uniform on the bench. He did look really nice in his baby blue Roc-a-fella outfit though.

- Also in attendance were Aggie commits DeAndre Jordan and B.J. Holmes. Jordan is a beast and Holmes was much smaller than I would have guessed.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies travel to Waco on Tuesday to take on Baylor at 7:00. The game is going to be on FSN, but you will need to check your local listings. I know for sure that the game will be on in Houston but not Dallas as the Stars are also on FSN and have priority. If you have “FSN Alternate” channels, check those. If you have DirecTV or DishNetwork you are good to go – just check your alternates.

Baylor is coming off of a 77-81 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Saturday night. The game was not nearly as close as the final score would indicate. OSU was in control with a double-digit lead all night. Baylor was down by 13 with 3 minutes left before they managed to knock down a barrage of three’s late in the game to make it close.

Traveling to Waco is always a tough test for the Aggies as you know you are going to get Baylor’s best effort. There is not a whole lot that gets the kids in Waco more excited than when the Aggies come to town.

Any conversation about Baylor has to start with Kevin Rogers, Henry Dugat and Aaron Bruce. Rogers is a 6’9” sophomore that will be able to bang inside with Joe and AK. Dugat and Bruce love to push the tempo and put up the ball from the perimeter. True freshman Josh Lomars (7’0” – 265 lbs.) has also been able to sufficiently get in the way inside.

Baylor also has a couple of guys that come off the bench that can light it up in Tim Bush and Tweety Carter.

Baylor is averaging over 80 points per game this season, and the Aggies will certainly be tested in trying to slow down their up-tempo attack.

In order to contend for a Big 12 title, the Aggies are going to need to win these types of games on the road.

My guess is that the good guys will prevail in the end, but I would expect it to be a pretty close game.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Big 12 Preview

Big 12 Preview

- - Big 12 North - -

- - Colorado Buffaloes - -

Non-Conference Record (4-6)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 261

Notable Wins:
@ Utah 60-59

Notable Losses:
@New Mexico 65-106
Air Force 46-84

Notable Players:
Richard Roby - - 17.9 PPG 5.4 RPG
Dominique Coleman - - 10.9 PPG 5.1 RPG 3.4 APG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Iowa State Cyclones - -

Non-Conference Record (9-5)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 167

Notable Wins:
@ Minnesota 68-63

Notable Losses:
@Northern Iowa 57-70
@Iowa 59-77
@ #3 Ohio State 56-75

Notable Players:
Mike Taylor - - 16.0 PPG 4.6 APG 4.1 RPG
Wesley Johnson - - 12.1 PPG 8.4 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Kansas Jayhawks - -

Non-Conference Record (12-2)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 38

Notable Wins:
#1 Florida 82-80
Southern Cal 72-62

Notable Losses:
Oral Roberts 71-78
@DePaul 57-64

Notable Players:
Brandon Rush - - 13.4 PPG 5.4 RPG
Darrell Arthur - - 12.1 PPG 5.5 RPG
Julian Wright - - 12.3 PPG 8.1 RPG
Mario Chalmers - - 12.3 PPG 3.5 APG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Kansas State Wildcats - -

Non-Conference Record (10-4)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 68

Notable Wins:
@Southern Cal 68-55

Notable Losses:
@California 48-78
@Colorado State 83-84

Notable Players:
Cartier Martin - - 15.3 PPG 3.7 RPG
David Hoskins - - 13.3 PPG 5.1 RPG
Bill Walker - - 13.2 PPG 5.4 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Missouri Tigers - -

Non-Conference Record (11-2)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 45

Notable Wins:
Arkansas 86-64

Notable Losses:
Illinois 70-73
@Purdue 62-79

Notable Players:
Stefhon Hannah - - 16.0 PPG 5.1 APG
Kalen Grimes - - 9.5 PPG 6.5 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Nebraska Cornhuskers - -

Non-Conference Record (10-3)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 52

Notable Wins:
#25 Creighton 73-61
Houston 70-57

Notable Losses:
@Oregon 56-68
@Hawaii 72-81

Notable Players:
Aleks Maric - - 18.3 PPG 7.7 RPG
Ryan Anderson - - 14.3 PPG 5.7 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:4-12

- - Big 12 South - -

- - Baylor Bears - -

Non-Conference Record (10-3)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 95

Notable Wins:
@Colorado State 87-82

Notable Losses:
@Gonzaga 69-78
@Syracuse 71-94

Notable Players:
Aaron Bruce - - 11.3 PPG 4.6 APG
Henry Dugat - - 12.5 PPG 4.8 RPG
Kevin Rogers - - 12.8 PPG 6.5 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Oklahoma Sooners - -

Non-Conference Record (8-4)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 62

Notable Wins:
@Tulsa 58-48

Notable Losses:
@ #11 Memphis 65-77
Villanova 51-67
@ #8 Alabama 55-70

Notable Players:
Longar Longar - - 13.3 PPG 7.8 RPG
Michael Neal - - 9.8 PPG 3.2 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Oklahoma State Cowboys - -

Non-Conference Record (14-1)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 11

Notable Wins:
#21 Syracuse 72-68
#7 Pittsburgh 95-89

Notable Losses:
@Tennessee 77-79

Notable Players:
Mario Boggan - - 21.7 PPG 7.5 RPG
JamesOn Curry - - 18.9 PPG 4.7 APG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Texas Longhorns - -

Non-Conference Record (10-3)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 38

Notable Wins:
#11 LSU 76-75

Notable Losses:
#21 Gonzaga 77-87
@Tennessee 105-111

Notable Players:
Kevin Durant - - 21.5 PPG 10.3 RPG
A.J. Abrams - - 16.6 PPG
D.J. Augustin - - 13.5 PPG 6.4 APG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Texas A&M Aggies - -

Non-Conference Record (12-2)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 12

Notable Wins:
@Auburn 87-58

Notable Losses:
#11 @LSU 52-64
#1 @UCLA 62-65

Notable Players:
Acie Law IV - - 15.1 PPG 5.8 APG
Joseph Jones - - 13.3 PPG 5.7 RPG
Antanas Kavaliauskas - - 12.9 PPG 5.7 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

- - Texas Tech Red Raiders - -

Non-Conference Record (11-4)
Current Sagarin Rating - - 57

Notable Wins:
@Arkansas 71-56

Notable Losses:
#17 Marquette 72-87
Air Force 53-67
UNLV 66-74

Notable Players:
Jarrius Jackson - - 21.4 PPG 3.9 RPG
Martin Zeno - - 16.8 PPG 5.1 RPG

Projected Big XII Record:

Big 12 North Commentary

The Big XII North is basically Kansas and the 5 dwarfs.

Despite having one of the best individual players in the conference in Richard Roby, Colorado is simply awful. Anything beyond a couple of conference wins will be very surprising. They have already fired Ricardo Patton, but he will finish the season. Good luck with that.

Kansas State has one of the best freshmen in the nation in Bill Walker and a great all-around player in Cartier Martin, but I think Huggins is a year or two away from making a major impact at K-State. K-State will be improved over a year ago, but is likely an NIT team.

Missouri will also be improved under new coach Mike Anderson (former UAB Head Coach), but I do not think they have the athletes on their roster to make a whole lot of noise in the league just yet.

Iowa State is also breaking in a new coach in Greg McDermott (he took Northern Iowa to the NCAA tournament each of the last 3 seasons). Much like Missouri, I just do not think their roster is quite there yet.

Speaking of new coaches, Nebraska hired Doc Sadler from UTEP this year. Maric and Anderson are nice players, but they will not be able to carry this team by themselves.

Kansas is the class of the Big XII this year, and they have a solid roster that runs 7 guys deep. They feature one of the top freshmen in the nation in Darrell Arthur and one of the best players in the nation in Brandon Rush. Kansas was the coaches’ unanimous choice to win the league this year. Kansas is a lock for an NCAA tournament bid.

Big 12 South Commentary

The Big XII South is stacked and all 6 teams should see post-season play in 2006-2007.

Baylor is continuing to build a nice program under 4th year coach Scott Drew. Aaron Bruce is a great pure shooter and sophomore Henry Dugat is off to a great start this year. Baylor should be an NIT team this season.

Oklahoma lost a top-10 recruiting class when the NCAA punished them for violations under former coach Kelvin Sampson. New coach Jeff Capel was left to pick up the pieces. Longar Longar is a beast inside, and Michael Neal is a nice complement on the perimeter. OU should also be an NIT team this season.

Oklahoma State is one of the most athletic teams in the league and new (sort-of) coach Sean Sutton is letting them fly around and get up and down the floor in order to take advantage of their athleticism. If there is one knock on this group it would be their bench (or lack thereof). Mario Boggan is a premier big-man, and JamesOn Curry can go for 30 on any given night. OSU is a lock for an NCAA tournament bid.

Texas is one of the youngest teams in the nation. The Longhorns start 4 true freshmen including what may be the best fish in the nation in Kevin Durant. Durant is absolutely sick and fans in Austin better enjoy this season, because the kid is going to be wearing a Memphis Grizzlies jersey next year. Texas is a lock for an NCAA bid.

I’ll spare you the details on Texas A&M - you should have this group figured out by now. Texas A&M is a lock for an NCAA bid.

Texas Tech is going to be a decent team, but not great. Jarrius Jackson and Martin Zeno are nice players, but Bob Knight’s roster is not where it needs to be in order to compete in the Big 12. Tech should play in the NIT.

AHR - - Big 12 Predictions - -

Big 12’s Best 5

Brandon Rush - Kansas
Mario Boggan – Oklahoma State
Kevin Durant - Texas
Acie Law – Texas A&M
Jarrius Jackson – Texas Tech

Big 12’s Next 12

Aaron Bruce – Baylor
Richard Roby - Colorado
Darrell Arthur - Kansas
Julian Wright - Kansas
Cartier Martin – Kansas State
Aleks Maric - Nebraska
Longar Longar - Oklahoma
JamesOn Curry – Oklahoma State
D.J. Augustin - Texas
Joseph Jones – Texas A&M
Josh Carter – Texas A&M
Martin Zeno – Texas Tech

Big 12’s Best Freshman

Darrell Arthur – Kansas
Bill Walker – Kansas State
Kevin Durant – Texas
D.J. Augustin - Texas
Damion James – Texas
Obi Muonelo – Oklahoma State (Injured)

Big 12 Player Of The Year

Kevin Durant – Texas

Big 12 Coach Of The Year

Sean Sutton – Oklahoma State

Big 12 Freshman Of The Year

Kevin Durant - Texas

Big 12 NCAA Teams

Texas A&M
Oklahoma State

Big 12 NIT Teams

Texas Tech
Kansas State

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Winthrop Recap

The Aggies wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule last night with an impressive win over a very good Winthrop team by a final score of 71-51.

The game was actually much closer than the final score would indicate. Winthrop threw a stretching 2-2-1 zone at the Aggies most of the night while the Aggies displayed fierce man-to-man defense which we have not seen since probably the UCLA game. The combination of these two, at times, nearly brought the pace of the game to a grinding halt.

The Aggies defensive intensity was so good to start the game that Winthrop only managed to score 8 points (on 3 made baskets) the first 12 minutes. Winthrop also had 9 misses and 6 turnovers in the same timeframe.

Behind the strength of two Josh Carter three point baskets, the Aggies jumped out to a 21-8 lead. Winthrop finally settled in to work the margin back to within 6 points at 25-19 before the Aggies pulled back out to take a 33-22 lead into the half.

The teams traded baskets early in the second half with Winthrop managing to cut the Aggie lead to 7 points on three different occasions, the last time at the 11:25 mark by a score of 49-42. The good guys finished the game on a 22-9 run pushing the final margin to 71-51.

The second half was highlighted by great outside shooting from Law and Carter, who combined for 5 threes in the 2nd frame, and the superior post play of Antanas Kavaliauskas. AK was outstanding and finished with 20 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

The guards did a fantastic job of working the ball into Kavaliauskas in the second half using great ball reversal on the perimeter and AK establishing a weak side seal on the inside against the Winthrop zone.

Dominique Kirk did a fantastic job helping to shut down Torrell Martin, the Big South pre-season player-of-the-year, holding him to only 9 points on the evening. The only time Martin got loose for an extended stretch was when he was working against Donald Sloan midway through the 2nd half.

Overall, the Aggies looked very good last night. Winthrop is an athletic bunch and is a very well coached group. The win is a great way to head into conference play which begins on Saturday against K-State.

Some quick hits:
- Joe Jones continued to struggle with fouls last night. He finished the night with 4 points and 4 fouls in 24 minutes of action. It was more of the same that we have discussed before, not enough guarding with his feet and body and too much with his hands and arms. I’m not ready to throw up a red flag on Joe just yet, but we’re getting very close to a point where it could be a major concern.

- Jerrod Johnson (backup QB) was in uniform last night for the first time. Jerrod is going to have to work very hard to earn a spot in the rotation and make a contribution this season.

- Martellus Bennett (starting TE) was not in uniform last night. There seems to be conflicting stories as to whether or not Martellus will actually join the team. Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express News feels that Martellus will in fact join the team. Terrance Harris of the Houston Chronicle feels that he will not. My guess is that we will not see Martellus in an Aggie basketball uniform again.

- The Aggies have not lost a non-conference home game in Billy Gillispie’s 3 years as the Head Coach of the Aggies.

- AK’s double-double (20 points / 10 rebounds) was the first of his career.

- Only 7 people (8 if you count Roland’s 1 minute) played last night with Pompey and Sloan the only two people making contributions off the bench.

- I guess Josh Carter is a man of his word. After the UCLA game, Josh said “I was just focusing on being more aggressive. I watched film on the last two games. I wasn't taking shots when I had them.” Josh has since connected on 31 of 51 shots (61%) including 24 of 38 (63%) from behind the arc over his last 5 games. Needless to say, Josh is red-hot right now.

- Josh Carter was named Big 12 Player of the Week yesterday. This is a nice reward for his performance against Grambling. Unfortunately, he shares this week’s honor with Longar Longar of Oklahoma (No, I did not mistype that name. Yes, his name really is Longar Longar.)

- The Aggies are now 12-2 on the year and their 12 wins set a school record for most regular-season non-conference wins in a season.

Looking Ahead:
I won’t have time to put out a full preview for K-State, but they are a group of guys that are really starting to come together. After struggling early on, they have managed to win 6 in a row and close out their non-conference slate tonight with a matchup against Xavier on ESPN2 at 6:00.

Cartier Martin has 1st team all-big 12 potential and freshman phenom Bill Walker is likely a one-and-done NBA guy. They also feature a 7’3” guy in Jason Bennett, a guy with a bleach-blonde Mohawk in Ryan Patzwald, and a thug who cold cocked a guy from Cal during a game earlier this year in Luis Colon.

Sounds like the perfect Bob Huggins group doesn’t it?

From a basketball perspective, the Aggies are fortunate to have K-State early in the season and at home. I think they may be a group that gets markedly better as the season goes on.

Last year the Wildcats beat A&M 58-54 in Manhattan and I’m sure that Gillispie will be certain to remind them of that fact during practice this week.

This Week in the Big 12

Saturday – January 6
Oklahoma @ Texas Tech 12:30 ESPN+
Texas @ Colorado 2:00 ESPN+
Baylor @ Oklahoma State 5:00 (no TV)
Iowa State @ Missoui 5:00 (no local TV – Iowa and Missouri only)
Kansas State @ Texas A&M 7:00 ESPN+ (Ch. 51 KNWS in Houston / Ch. 12 KTXA in Dallas)
Western Kentucky @ Nebraska 7:00 (no TV)

Sunday – January 7
Kansas @ South Carolina 3:30 CBS

Carry on.