Thursday, June 28, 2007

The 2006-2007 Season Recap

Today we are finally going to take a look back at the 2006-2007 season of Aggie Basketball. There is no need for me to tell you guys that what happened last winter on the hardcourt in College Station was one of the best seasons any team in Aggie sports history has ever seen. It very well may have also produced the most revered figure in the history of Texas A&M athletics.

Coming off of the success experienced during the 2005-2006 season, which included a run to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament (highlighted by a first round upset of the Syracuse Orange), the 2006-2007 Season began with the highest hopes and expectations in the history of Aggie Basketball.

The Aggies finished the 2006-2007 season with a very impressive 27-7 record and a final season #9 ranking according to the final ESPN/USA Today poll.

What makes that 27-7 overall record even more impressive is that if you take out the 12 point loss to LSU, the other 6 losses were lost by a combined total of only 11 points.

The fans also did their part last year by packing Reed Arena to the rafters during the conference season. The average attendance for the 8 conference games was 12,640 per contest. Not bad considering the official attendance is listed at 12,500 for basketball.

Did you ever think you would see the day that Aggie Basketball attendance would average 101% of the listed capacity of the building over their 8 league games?

Me neither.

The other remarkable feat the fans pulled off last season was that on three different occasions a new single-game attendance record was established; this included an all time high of 13,203 for the “senior day” game against the Missouri Tigers.

Reed Arena Attendance Records:
- Jan 20, 2007 13,187 vs. Oklahoma State
- Feb 5, 2007 13,196 vs. Texas
- Mar 3, 2007 13,203 vs. Missouri

Finally, you guys also helped to establish a new opening day attendance record when 10,722 people came out to see the Aggies take on Prairie View on November 10th.

When I think back to the 2006-2007 season I am going to remember………

……… this group of guys exceeding the already high expectations coming into the pre-season.

I am going to remember Acie Law. [Need I say anything more?]

I am going to remember Josh Carter not only leading the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage, but I am also going to remember him knocking down 8 three-pointers each in three different games.

I am going to remember the amazing 72 hours that saw the Aggies take down Kansas in Lawrence and then Texas in College Station.

I am going to remember Antanas Kavaliauskas having his greatest game as an Aggie on “senior day” with his mother in attendance.

I am going to remember Dominique Kirk going bonkers against Louisville to put the Aggies in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1987.

I am going to remember needing one rebound or one lay-up against Memphis

I am going to remember being hugely conflicted as to whether or not I should have wanted to cuss Gillispie or thank him……

What will you remember?

November Review – Fast Start

As expected, the Aggies got off to a very strong start in November as they faced 6 opponents who were simply just overmatched by the Aggies.

In getting out to a 6-0 start, the Aggies rolled over their first six opponents by a combined score of 468-280, which equates to an average scoring margin of just over 30 points.

The best opponent the Aggies saw in November was Saint Louis who was in town as part of the inaugural Shelby Metcalf Classic (along with Lamar and Louisiana Tech). Saint Louis turned out to be no match for A&M as they steamrolled the Billikens by a final score of 69-33.

The thing that stood out most from the November slate of games was that the Aggies were going to be a very diversified bunch. Four different players led the Aggies in scoring while 5 different guys led the team in rebounding. The most diverse of the bunch actually looked to be Josh Carter as he led the team in either scoring, rebounding or assists at some point throughout November.

December Review – Road Warriors

December saw the Aggies head out on the road for the first time of the year in making trips to Baton Rouge to take on LSU, a visit to Los Angeles for the Wooden Classic and a match-up with UCLA, and finally heading to Alabama to take on the Auburn Tigers from the SEC.

The second month of the season got started with a home date against perennial NCAA tournament team Pacific. The Tigers were making their first ever trip to College Station and gave the Aggies their most competitive game of the season so far in hanging around before A&M was able to pull away by 12.

As the Aggies ventured out on the road for the first time, they got a very rude awakening as LSU beat the Aggies by 12 in Baton Rouge in what clearly served as a wake-up call for Gillispie and his senior leader Acie Law.

The biggest question following the loss to LSU was whether or not they would be able to bounce back and regroup while taking on the #1 team in the country in the UCLA Bruins only four days later. The answer was a resounding YES as the Aggies put a major scare into UCLA before eventually falling by 3 points to the Bruins. The Aggies showed themselves very well before Jim Nantz, Billy Packer, and a nationwide audience on CBS.

Following the trip to Los Angeles the Aggies came home and took care of business in cruising to easy wins over Fordham and Jacksonville before heading out on the road again.

In their 3rd trip away from the friendly confines of Reed Arena the Aggies went to pay a visit to a very athletic group from Auburn only three days before Christmas. When the Aggies were done completely dismantling the Tigers they found themselves on a happy ride home after a surprisingly easy 29 point win.

The good guys closed out 2006 with a very unnecessary 101-27 victory over a helpless bunch from Grambling.

January Review – Bring on the Big 12!

In a final tune-up before the Big 12 season got underway, the Aggies handed tournament team Winthrop their worst defeat of the season in beating the Eagles 71-51 at Reed Arena.

Grinding your way through the Big 12 slate each year is always a challenge, but the early part of the league schedule helped to set up an even bigger hill for the Aggies to climb. Three of their first five games were on the road, and their two home games were against upstart K-State and their new (and now former) head coach Bob Huggins, and the 12th ranked Cowboys from Oklahoma State.

While not looking overly impressive in any of their first three wins, you would not have traded the 3-0 conference start for anything. The Aggies did not make a statement to the league until their 67-49 win over #12 OSU in front of what was then a Reed Arena record of 13,187 fans.

The euphoria from their first statement win of the season was short-lived however because they dropped their first league game of the year 4 days later when they traveled to the high-plains to take on Bob Knight and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Tech beat the Aggies 70-68 while the Raider fans stormed the court for the second time in 3 days (they also rushed the court when Tech beat Kansas on Big Monday).

The Aggies responded well following their first league loss and bounced back at home to defeat both Oklahoma (by 9) and Iowa State (by 24). After those two wins, the Aggies closed out January with a very impressive 6-1 league record and were ranked #10 in the nation.

February Review – Down the Stretch They Come!

February opened up with an amazing stretch covering 72 hours that saw the Aggies become the first team from the Big 12 south to knock off Kansas in Lawrence, followed by a very impressive 100-82 win over UT in College Station in front of a another new Reed Arena record of 13,196 and another nationwide audience on ESPN’s Big Monday.

The month of February also saw the Aggies become a major player on the national scene. Behind the strength of their back-to-back wins over Kansas and Texas, both on ESPN, the entire country found out that the Aggies were going to be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch into late March.

Thanks to this unprecedented (for A&M anyway) TV coverage, the entire country also found out that Acie Law was hands-down the best point guard in the nation last season. [More on Acie below.]

This month we also saw Josh Carter knock down 8 three pointers in a game ~AGAIN~ for the third time during the 2006-2007 season in the Aggies’ 66-55 win at Nebraska.

Unfortunately February also saw the Aggies lose to Tech, again, this time at Reed Arena to snap the Aggies’ 21-game home winning streak. Jarrius Jackson shot a dagger through the Aggies’ hearts with the game-winner after Acie Law hit another clutch 3 pointer to tie the game with 6 seconds left.

After dropping the heart-breaker to Tech, the Aggies did respond well by going on the road and winning two games north of the Red River (at Oklahoma and at Oklahoma State). The Aggies swept the Sooners after only winning once in their previous 26 attempts while their 20 point win in Stillwater was also the most lopsided home loss for the Cowboys in nearly three decades.

Wrapping up the month, the Aggies handled their business against Baylor at Reed Arena and then headed up Hwy. 21 to Austin to take on the Kevin Durants.

The nationally televised ESPN game between A&M and UT in Austin was probably the 2nd most entertaining basketball game of the year. In my opinion the only game better all year was the OSU/UT triple-overtime thriller from Stillwater earlier in the season.

The double overtime loss against Texas saw Acie Law further cement his legacy as one of the most clutch players in the country. Acie hit two huge three point shots to send the game into both overtime and double-overtime. Unfortunately his heroics were not quite enough as the Aggies fell by a final score of 98-96.
March Review – So close, yet so far away.

The month of March opened up with a magical day at Reed Arena when an all-time record crowd of 13,203 said goodbye to the 2007 Seniors including starters Antanas Kavaliauskas and Acie Law.

The win over Missouri was especially sweet for Kavaliauskas who was playing in front of his mother for the first time in the United States as he finished the game with 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting from the floor. The day was also emotional for Acie Law as Aggie fans said goodbye to what may be one of the most storied athletes to ever don the maroon and white. Acie’s final game at Reed Arena saw him score 20 points as the Aggies rolled over Missouri by 26 points.

The 2007 post-season got started off on the wrong foot as A&M fell to Oklahoma State in the 2nd round of the Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City. The Cowboys, playing in front of what amounted to a home crowd at the Ford Center, were able to hold off a late charge from the Aggies and hang on for a 57-56 win.

The loss continued a horrible trend for the Aggies in the Big 12 tournament as they still only have one tournament win (2006 vs. Colorado) in the 10 year history of the league.

“Selection Sunday” rolled around and for the first time since 1980, there was no doubt the Aggies were going to get an invite to the tournament. It was just simply a matter of who they were going to be matched up against.

By the time their name rolled around, we all found out that they were the #3 seed in the South Regional and would face the Penn Quakers in their first game. Their draw in the tournament this year was bittersweet as they would be playing their first two games in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Aggies would face a potential match-up with Louisville who would be playing only a few short miles away from their campus in nearby Louisville. The reward would be that if you could get out of Lexington with two wins you would return home to nearby San Antonio for potential Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games.

The Aggies got by a feisty bunch from Penn in the first round and pulled away for a 68-52 victory. This set the stage for an epic battle with Louisville. Rick Pitino’s bunch gave the Aggies all they could handle and fortunately Acie Law and Dominique Kirk were able to get the better of Louisville’s sensational freshman guard Edgar Sosa. The 72-69 victory put the Aggies in the sweet 16 for the first time since 1980. The game was pretty intense from the opening tip and was a very entertaining game to watch. Fortunately for all of us, the Aggies came out on the top side of the scoreboard.

The Aggies’ season came to an end 5 days later when they fell to Memphis in the Sweet 16. It was a truly disappointing end to an otherwise awesome season. The game was very physical and tight throughout and unfortunately Acie Law missed a layup late in the game, and the Aggies failed to get a defensive rebound despite having multiple chances.

One layup or one rebound. How in the heck did Acie miss that layup? Seriously?!?!
Post-Season Changes – Not going to spend much time on it.

I am not going to spend much time on what happened after the final buzzer sounded on the Aggies 2006-2007 season, but as we all know the first big jolt came when Coach Gillispie bolted for greener pastures in taking the job at Kentucky.

Like I mentioned above, I am still not sure where I stand with regards to my feelings toward Coach G. I know that I would not be sitting here having this conversation with you guys were it not for him. He woke up a program that was more than dead and for that we should all thank him. That being said, I still do not appreciate the way he went about handling the taking of that job. Let’s just leave it at that.

The good news is that it looks like Bill Byrne went out and found him another great coach in Coach Turgeon. I think you do not need to look any further than the fact that not only did he keep the entire roster together for next season, he also kept together one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, led by super stud DeAndre Jordan.

The only casualties from last year’s squad appear to be Slade Weishuhn who left due to chronic injuries and Bryan Beasley, a highly thought of recruit from Pflugerville who could not crack the rotation as a true Freshman. Neither guy left the squad due to Coach Turgeon and both left by their own choice.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am very excited about the future of Aggie Basketball. I am looking forward to seeing how the transition from Gillispie to Turgeon will unfold.

I am also excited about next year’s schedule which will be much improved as Alabama and LSU will both pay visits to Reed Arena in the fall. The Aggies will also be hosting two games in the preseason NIT and then a potential trip to Madison Square Garden if they can win those two at home. They also will travel to play Arizona in Tucson as part of the inaugural Big 12-Pac 10 challenge.
[I know I have said it plenty, but you guys really should buy your tickets for next season. That is far and away the best way you can support this program and these kids.]

You can make a deposit on tickets for next year by clicking on this link:
The AHR – 2006-2007 Post-Season Awards.

Team MVP – Acie Law – See below, that should sum it up nicely.

Most Improved – Antanas Kavaliauskas – The big Lithuanian took his game to a level that will see him get invited to an NBA training camp this fall.

Freshman of the Year – Donald Sloan – He will not be able to replace Acie Law, but he is off to a great start.

Post-Season MVP – Dominique Kirk – In three NCAA tournament games, Kirk averaged 14 points on 62% shooting while adding 3 assists per game. The Junior was VERY instrumental in helping lead the Aggies to wins over Penn and Louisville.

Best Win – The 100-82 beatdown of UT in-front of a nationwide audience on ESPN’s Big Monday was VERY impressive.

Biggest Win – The 69-66 win at Kansas put the Aggies on the conscious of basketball fans nationwide.

Best Loss-(A) – The 96-98 double overtime loss at UT. A game that even Acie could not win by himself.
Best Loss-(B) – The 62-65 loss against UCLA. What would a win over #1 on national TV have meant?

Worst Loss – The 52-64 loss at LSU. Simply inexcusable to play that bad on the road.
……over the next couple of pages we have compiled a look back at some highlights from Acie’s career as an Aggie
Acie Law – Looking Back


- First-team All-America by the NABC, USBWA, The Sporting News, and
- Finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard.
- Finalist for the Wooden Award.
- Finalist for the Naismith Trophy as the nation’s top player.
- First player in A&M history to make a five-man first-team All-American squads.
- Consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection, the first consensus pick in school history.
- Big 12 Player of the Year - Dallas Morning News
- Big 12 MVP - Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


- Acie’s 26 points against Louisville was a record for an A&M player in NCAA Tournament play. Law made six straight free throws in the final 3:45 to ice the win.
- Scored 23 points in the win at Kansas, scoring 10 points in the final 4 minutes. He also added 7 assists.
- Named Big 12 Player of the Week as well as national player of the week by and
- Scored a season-high 33 points in the double-overtime loss at Texas, making a long-range three-pointer to send the game into the first overtime and then adding another to force the second extra period.
- Law had 31 points against Baylor, including 14 in the last six minutes, earning his second Big 12 Player of the Year honor of the season.
- Scored 21 points with a career-high 15 assists against Texas at home, a school record for league play that tied the Big 12 record for a conference game.
- Scored 23 points in the home loss against Texas Tech, making a game-tying 3-pointer with :06 left.
- During Big 12 play, Law averaged 6.9 points in the last 4 minutes of games (69.0 pro-rated scoring average for 40 minutes), making .659 from the field, .727 from 3-point range and .842 from the line.
- ESPN’s Dick Vitale called Law the “best player in the country in the last five minutes.”
- Ranked second in the Big 12 in scoring (20.8) and was third in assists (4.9) in league play. He also ranked third in field goal percentage (.509), best among league guards, eighth in free throw percentage (.798) and was fifth in assist/turnover ratio (2.05).
- Law’s 20.8 scoring average in league games is a school record for Big 12 play.
- He is the only player in the country to average at least 17.0 points and 5.0 assists per game while making 50 percent or better from the field.
- Law has had 17 20-point games this season and scored 19 against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He averaged 22.6 points in the last nine games.
- He scored a game-high 21 points against then-No. 1 UCLA, making 10-of-20 field goals with 4 assists.
- Law played in 122 games and started in 106. The school record for games played is 123 by Winston Crite (1983-87) and Jimmie Gilbert (1982-86).
Clutch Moments:

- at UCLA: With A&M trailing 33-27 at half, Law scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, including a driving layup that pulled A&M with 57-56 late in 65-62 loss.
- vs. KANSAS STATE: Law scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half, including a pair of free throws with :07 left that iced a 69-65 victory.
- at BAYLOR: A&M owned a precarious 49-47 lead with five minutes left before Law scored seven straight points to hand the Aggies a 56-49 lead going into the final minute.
- at COLORADO: A&M led 59-56 with eight minutes to play, but Law scored 15 of his 21 points in the final eight minutes, going 4-of-4 from the field and 6-of-6 from the line en route to a 87-69 road victory.
- vs. OKLAHOMA STATE: Law scored 11 of his 16 points in the final five minutes to put the game out of reach in a 67-49 victory.
- at TEXAS TECH: Law scored a season-high 26 points, including 18 in the second half and seven in the last four minutes of a narrow 70-68 road loss.
- vs. OKLAHOMA: A&M trailed 29-28 at halftime, but Law scored 14 points in the last eight minutes of a 70-61 win, making 3-of-3 from the field and 8-of-10 free throws.
- at KANSAS: After A&M trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, Law scored 15 points in the second half, including eight in the final 1:38 to lead the Aggies to a 69-66 victory at Allen Fieldhouse. Law’s 3-pointer from the deep corner handed A&M a 67-66 lead with :24 left, then he iced the game with a pair of free throws with :05 remaining.
- vs. TEXAS: Law scored 21 points and tied the school record with 15 assists in an impressive 100-82 win against the Longhorns.
- vs. TEXAS TECH: Law scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, including a long 3-pointer that tied the game 75-75 with :06 left. Tech later won on a buzzer beater.
- at OKLAHOMA: A&M trailed by eight points early in the second half, but Law scored 17 of his 21 points in the final 19 minutes, including 10 in the last six minutes. He made 4-of-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds to ice the win.
- vs. BAYLOR: Scored 14 of his season-high 31 points in the last six minutes of a 97-87 victory that kept the Aggies tied for first in the Big 12 standings.
- at TEXAS: Scored a career-high 33 points, including 19 in the last four minutes and in two overtimes. He made a long-range three-pointer over Kevin Durant with :01 left to force the first overtime, then made another three-pointer to force the second extra period in 98-96 loss.
- vs. MISSOURI: Scored 20 points in his final home game, including 13 in the final 10 minutes of 94-78 victory.
- vs. PENN: Scored 11 of his 21 points in the final eight minutes, helping A&M overcome a 2-point deficit en route to a 68-52 victory in the opening round of NCAA play.
- vs. LOUISVILLE: Scored 17 of his 26 points in the second half of tight game, including six (6-of-6 FT) in the final 3:45 of narrow 72-69 second round NCAA win.

[Special Thanks to Colin Killian and the Texas A&M Sports Information Department in helping to compile most all of the Acie Law information.]


Post a Comment

<< Home