Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Look Back at the Detroit Win

Last night the Aggies hammered Detroit by a final score of 79-39 in front of 8,912 fans at Reed Arena. I was able to watch most of the game on-line and a couple of things stood out:

- For the 2nd game in a row, the Aggies' perimeter defensive pressure was simply suffocating. Detroit was 14-of-58 (24.1%) overall from the field and only 6-of-22 (27.3%) from behind the three-point line. The other thing pointing toward their improved defensive pressure was that Detroit only managed 5 assists on their 14 makes. Over the course of their last two games, the Aggies have held opponents to 27-of-121 ( 22.3%) from the field which is simply ridiculous. If you want some perspective, Georgetown is the national leader in FG% Defense allowing opponents to shoot 34.5%.

- I thought DeAndre Jordan played maybe his best all-around game as an Aggie last night. Big #12 scored 14 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. His highlight play of the night came when he grabbed a loose ball on the defensive end of the floor, dribbled the ball all the way down the floor, made a flying slam-dunk, and oh yeah, he got fouled in the process (yes, he missed the subsequent free-throw).

- I know I keep bringing it up, but this team continues to struggle wildly from the free-throw line. Last night vs. Detroit, their numbers from the free-throw line were so bad they nearly matched their three-point shooting on the night. The Good Guys were 9-of-17 (52.9%) from the three-point line and only 10-of-20 (50%) from the free-throw line. It's a horrible trend and I sure hope Turgeon is doing something to fix the problem.

After the game, Turgeon commented on his team's defensive effort and what they need to do going forward in saying, "Tonight we made a couple changes on our defensive philosophy, which helped us. We’ve given up thirty-nine and thirty-six points the last two games. So we challenged them to continue that. I’m frustrated with their habits. We don’t have the habits you need to beat good teams yet. So this coaching staff is working on creating those, and tonight’s game was a step to creating those habits. I know that when I look at the film of tonight’s game that it will be good.”

Up next for A&M is a match-up wtih the Cal-Irvine Anteaters (4-6) at Reed Arena on Saturday at 1:00. Cal-Irvine lost to undefeated Sam Houston in Huntsville on Thursday night by a final score of 61-54.

Here are some links from the Aggies' win on Wednesday night:

Aggies whip Detroit by 40

Outside shots take away from Aggies' post game

Kirk leads defense as No. 14 A&M rolls

A&M turns lights out on Detroit shooters

Aggies run past Detroit

We'll talk to you guys after the game on Saturday.

Carry on.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Arkansas Pine Bluff Recap

[ We are going to have to miss Wednesday's game vs. Detroit at Reed Arena (7:00) if anyone wants to buy our tickets – please let me know. ]

Hey guys – Was out of town over the weekend and I only got a chance to watch the first little bit of the Aggies game on Sunday afternoon on the DVR. I did see that they put a pretty impressive defensive lockdown on Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The good guys prevailed by a final score of 64-37 in a game in which they actually got out to an 18-0 lead with just over 10 minutes left to play in the first half.

I am hoping to be able to watch the rest of the game tonight or tomorrow at some point.

One thing that stood out from the box score was that the Aggies did manage to post another atrocious number from the free-throw line in going 6-of-16 ( 37.5%) and at some point, you and I both know that it is going to cost them a game that they should have otherwise won. On the season, the Aggies are a putrid 147-for-254 (57.9%) from the free throw line. HORRIBLE!

Josh Carter (16 points – 4 rebounds) and Derrick Roland (12 points – 4 rebounds) led the Aggie charge on Sunday afternoon. Bryan Davis (7 points – 9 rebounds) also had a very productive day, making the most of his 16 minutes off the bench.

Here are a few links from Sunday's win:

Texas A&M blows out Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 64-37

Aggies win easily, but Turgeon's not happy

College basketball: Aggies uninspired, but it's a win

Carry on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2007 Q&A with ESPN's Joe Lunardi

For the second year in a row, The Aggie Hoops Report has been fortunate enough to catch up with ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi. Joe again took a few minutes of his valuable time to participate in a quick Q&A with us about the 2007-2008 Texas Aggies.

About Joe Lunardi – courtesy of
Joe Lunardi is the resident bracketologist for ESPN. In fact, he invented Bracketology and has been projecting the NCAA Tournament field for since its inception. Lunardi is a native Philadelphian and a graduate of Saint Joseph's University, where he spends the rest of the year as assistant vice president for marketing communications, and also serves as the radio analyst for SJU men's basketball.

Lunardi has missed only 10 teams in his final tourney projections over the past eight seasons. He has also never over-seeded his beloved Hawks, once writing "I'd put my own mother in the NIT if she played a lousy schedule." You can see Joe throughout the season on ESPNEWS, College GameNight, and other studio shows.

Joe’s Bracketology updates can be found here:

If you have access to ESPN-Insider, you can read Joe’s blog here:

We hope you enjoy our Q&A with Joe!

1.) What impact will the loss at Arizona have in the grand scheme of things for the Aggies as it relates to NCAA seeding?

Not much, as it is pretty much countered by winning the NIT Season Tip-Off. Plus, a "good" road loss such as this is ultimately more helpful to a team's NCAA profile than beating up on an additional cupcake at home.

2.) How good will Arizona be when it is all said and done? Budinger is obviously a premier player and I thought Jerryd Bayless was simply outstanding on Sunday. To me it looks like they could take Arizona a long way this season?

Hard to say with all that is going on in Arizona. The defense is certainly better than in recent years and there is less selfish play on offense. Not sure there is enough experience to move ahead of either UCLA or Washington State in the Pac-10.

3.) With only 5 of their 15 non-conference games against "BCS Conference opponents", will the Aggies be able to drop 3 or 4 Big 12 league games and still be in-line for a top 3 or 4 seed in the tournament?

Depends on who the conference losses come against and how the Aggies do against Texas and Kansas. If they get swept by both, it's hard to image a seed this high. As you say, there's not enough non-conference "pop" to carry them.

4.) Will the selection committee put any stock into the Aggies win in the NIT Season Tip-Off??

Absolutely. Unfortunately for A&M, Ohio State is now looking like a bubble team and Washington has slipped even below that. These were good wins, not great ones, and there's not much the Aggies can do about that.

5.) Obviously a lot of early buzz this season has been about this year's VERY talented freshman class. As I sit here tonight and watch two of the best go head-to-head in USC's OJ Mayo and Memphis' Derrick Rose, who do you see as your top-5 freshmen this year? Where does the Aggies' DeAndre Jordan fit into the freshman-picture? Will any of these guys be back next year?

Jordan made my pre-season Top 10 freshman list. I'll leave speculation about he and his classmates to the NBA personnel people.

6.) OK - I'm going to put you on the spot - give us your Early-December best guess - How far can the Aggies advance in the tournament this year under first year coach Mark Turgeon?

I thought the Aggies would be in the tourney this year and win a game, maybe two. Going to stick with that projection until proven otherwise.

It still seems odd to me to be sitting here having this conversation with you working under the assumption that the Texas Aggies are more-or-less a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. My, how times have changed?!?

You're right, Steve, times really have changed in Aggieland!!

Thanks for your time Joe - Keep up the great work!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Arizona & Texas State Recaps

Howdy guys - Today we're going to take a quick look back at the Aggies’ tough loss at Arizona last Sunday and their lopsided win over Texas State on Saturday night back at Reed Arena.

Arizona Recap

The Aggies traveled to the desert southwest to take on the Arizona Wildcats, a match-up put together as part of the inaugural Big 12 / Pac-10 Hardwood Series. We talked about before the game how Arizona was probably better than their 4-2 record would have indicated and to not be fooled by the fact that they were not ranked. Well?

For the first 15 minutes of the game, the Texas Aggies came out and easily played their finest stretch of basketball so far this season. I think we were all amazed how easily Turgeon's boys cruised out to an effortless 32-12 lead at the 6:47 mark of the first half.

Offensively they were getting the job done on the inside, the outside, and it did not appear to matter what they threw up, it was all finding a way to catch the bottom of the net. They were also playing some stellar man-to-man defense that seemed to catch the young Wildcats a little bit off guard.

The crazy thing was that Arizona jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead before the Aggies went on a 30-to-7 monster run and absolutely took control of the early portion of the ballgame.

What happened from there?

Introducing Jerryd Bayless.

Bayless, a true freshman from the Phoenix area, scored 11 points in the last 6:25 of the first half to help the Wildcats get back within 12 points (40-28) as the game headed to the break.

The halftime pause did not slow down the freshman phenom as Bayless also scored the first 4 points out of the intermission and knocked the Aggies’ lead back down to single-digits for the first time since the 14:18 mark of the first half. It became very clear to everyone in the McKale center and a nationwide TV audience that we had a whole new game on our hands and that we were likely in for a tough finish coming down the stretch.

As Arizona, led by Bayless and super-sophomore Chase Budinger, continued to chop away at the Aggie lead, Josh Carter and Bryan Davis keyed a little Aggie surge that put the good guys back ahead 60-59 with just over 6 minutes left in the contest.

Unfortunately, the Aggies’ late rally was not nearly enough, and the Wildcats pulled away from the good guys as the game continued to tick away. It got so bad for A&M - they were only able to muster one basket over the final 4:10 of the contest in route to losing by 11 points 67-to-78.

It was hard to wrap your mind around what transpired in that game, going from looking simply unbeatable in the early part, to getting absolutely smoked down the stretch.

"Nothing went our way in the second half, and Arizona had a lot to do with it," Turgeon was quoted as saying. "The first 15 minutes we were pretty good. The last 25, it was like our offense was nonexistent."

I think the biggest thing to take away from this game is something like what last year's team did after losing to LSU in Baton Rouge. Last year's group lost that inexplicable game against the Bayou Bengals and seemed to rally together afterwards, and it marked a low-point in their season.

Turgeon seems to be hoping for a similar response this year, "We had some young guys," Turgeon said. "When the crowd got into it, we were not tough enough. We will be, we just were not tonight."

A couple of quick hits from the Arizona game:

- Arizona shot 24 second-half free-throws to the Aggies’ 9.

- Joe Jones only played 23 total minutes as he was plagued by foul trouble for nearly the entire second half.

- The Aggies shot a sizzling 60% (12-for-25) from the field in the first half and an ice-cold 34.5% (10-for-29) in the second period.

- Josh Carter bounced back nicely from his struggles in NYC to lead the Aggies with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field including 3 three-pointers; he also led the team in rebounding with 5.

- The Aggies were outscored 50-27 in the second half and 66-35 from the point where they lead 32-12 in the first period. YIKES!

Texas State Recap

On Saturday night the Aggies got a dose of whatever it was they needed and responded nicely in hammering the visitors from San Marcos by a final score of 109-to-73 to run their non-conference home win streak to 40 games. The 109 points were the most scored by the Aggies at Reed Arena and the most by any Aggie team since 1989 when they beat Florida International 114-90.

DeAndre Jordan and Donald Sloan both set career highs by scoring 18 points each while Jordan also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds. In-fact, Jordan made 6 field goals on the night and all of them were dunks. It turned out that Jordan was just leading the way in what was a night where the Aggies must have been quite angry at the rims inside Reed Arena. On the night, of the Aggies’ 41 field goals, 17 of them were dunks.

They had such a prolific night shooting the basketball that if you removed three-point field goals, the Aggies made 34-of-42 (81%) of their two-point attempts. The Aggies outscored the Bobcats in the paint by a 62-to-20 margin.

Turgeon managed to get 18 guys into the game and of the 8 regulars, only DeAndre Jordan (23 minutes) and Donald Sloan (22 minutes) played more than 20 minutes for the Aggies.

"You're able to show off your skills in a game like tonight," said Donald Sloan. "You can go out there and just show what you can do."

It was good to see the Aggies having a great time flying around, scoring at will and laughing on the bench when the back-end reserves were making plays late in the second half.

Texas State Quick Hits:

- Free-throw shooting continues to be a major problem for this group as they only made 20 of their 37 attempts on the night.

- Bryan Davis must have felt like being a point guard on Saturday night - 4 points, 2 rebounds and a team-high 7 assists.

- Junior Elonu had his best all-around game of the year on Saturday - 10 points, 5 rebounds.

- Freshman guard B.J. Holmes also had a great day at the office - 9 points, 5 rebounds.

The Aggies have the next week off for finals and do not return to action until Sunday the 16th of December when they take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 1:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on FSN.

Once Again this season the Athletic Department is offering 1/2 price tickets to the next 5 men's home games as part of their "Half Price Holiday Hoops" promotion.

Tickets can be purchased for $12 for mezzanine seats, $10 for loge seats and $5 for general admission seats.

Dec. 16 – MBB vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 1 p.m.
Dec. 19 – MBB vs. Detroit at 7 p.m.
Dec. 22 – MBB vs. UC Irvine at 1 p.m.
Dec. 29 – MBB vs. Florida A&M at 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 – MBB vs. Rice at 1 p.m.

You can purchase tickets by following the proper links at this page:

Carry on.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Alabama Rewind / Arizona Look-Ahead

The excuses for untimely information just keep getting better and better. This time I was out of town on Thursday and Friday.

Quack, Quack, Quack. I know, I know, I sound like a duck.


On Wednesday night the Aggies put together a great all-around team effort and beat Alabama by a final score of 76-63 in front of only 10,328 people (clearly a "tickets sold" attendance number and not a "butts in the seats" attendance number). In fact, Reed Arena was so empty on Wednesday night for the Aggies' first home game against a "brand name" opponent this year that they did not even bother to open all of the concession stands. Sad, but hey, we are not here to complain about attendance. Let's talk real quick about that win and then look forward to their HUGE game at Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

Mark Turgeon's bunch laid down a very impressive overall team performance with really only one guy standing out above most everyone else. Donald Sloan put together the most complete game of his young career by leading the Aggies with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in 31 minutes of play.

Sloan was VERY good all night long, and hopefully it was a sign of things to come and the sophomore guard will continue to get better week after week.

The only guy that did not have a "standard" night at the office was DeAndre Jordan. The big guy only scored 2 points and grabbed 2 rebounds in 16 minutes. I think his little dip in production was due to two things - 1.) Freshman Syndrome - Playing at this level of basketball with this type of intensity night in and night out will certainly start to wear on young guys, which will certainly add to seeing more peaks-and-valleys in their production, and 2.) I think the personnel that Alabama puts on the floor was just a bad match-up for Jordan. Most of Alabama's interior guys are undersized and play outside the paint and facing the basket. DeAndre is just too big and not quite quick enough to be able to get out and play effective defense on those types of players on the perimeter. I would not read too much into #12 having a quiet night.

The good news for you guys, the fans of this team, is that Turgeon's roster is so deep this year that he can call on guys like Bryan Davis and Junior Elonu to step in and be effective when the match-ups are not always in his favor. In fact, Elonu was a much better match-up to throw at the Alabama big men, and the sophomore responded very well in adding 6 points, 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in 17 minutes of action.

Also, speaking of Bryan Davis, I can not stress to you guys enough what he has meant for this team so far this season. As we talked about after the Aggies' win over Washington in their NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal game, Davis continues to simply bust his tail every minute that he is on the floor, and what he does and what he means for this team will never be seen in highlight packages or in the boxscore every game.

All you have to do is watch Big #0 for about 2 or 3 minutes and you shake your head with the enthusiasm and energy that he brings to the floor. In 27 minutes of action on Wednesday night Davis added 8 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He even grabbed 2 steals just for good measure.

Joe Jones (10 points), Dominique Kirk (14 points) and Josh Carter (13 points) also all had very good nights at the gym. Kirk and Carter got back on track from downtown in combining to make 5 of their 7 attempts from behind the three-point line.

I would also be remiss if I did not point out the awesome effort put forth by Alabama big man Richard Hendrix. I don't know why Hendrix is not playing linebacker for Nick Saban and the Alabama football team because this kid is as big as a house. He is big and strong, has good moves around the basket and a game that can extend as far out as 12 to 15 feet away from the rim. Hendrix also can create for himself off the dribble and is very active on both ends of the floor. I think the closest guy to compare him to (on the basketball court only) would be Charles Barkley. He's a little undersized but stronger than most guys and just finds a way to make plays. I came away very impressed.

OK, enough about Hendrix, if the Aggies continue to get solid all-around contributions like they got on Wednesday night and in both games in NYC (from both starters and reserves), they are going to be very tough to beat no matter who they are playing.

The one thing I am still waiting to see from this year’s bunch is how they will respond to adversity. Last year it was always Acie that pulled them out of a hole if need be. This year who will it be if an opponent gets the Aggies down and puts their backs against the wall?

Speaking of Aggie opponents - - The Aggies head to Tucson to take on the Arizona Wildcats as part of the Big 12 / Pac 10 Hardwood Series on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 on FSN (check local listings).

The Wildcats are coming in with a 4-2 record on the season with losses at Virginia and at Kansas. Their loss to the Jayhawks last Sunday night was only by 4 points (76-72) in overtime, so do not for one minute think that the Wildcats are too terribly down this year. If you can go into Allen Fieldhouse and take KU to overtime, you can beat just about anybody in the country.

Despite being without head coach Lute Olson (personal leave) the wildcats are still scrappy, defend the ball with good pressure and can actually shoot the ball pretty well (51% overall on the season). Interim head coach Kevin O’Neill has done a great job with this group of kids coaching in Olson’s absence.

Leading the Arizona attack is yet another pre-season Top 50 Wooden Award candidate, sophomore Chase Budinger. Budinger is the 3rd Wooden-Watch player that the Aggies will have faced in their last 4 games (Jon Brockman, Washington / Richard Hendrix, Alabama / Chase Budinger, Arizona). Budinger, a 6'7" Sophomore, is averaging just over 18 points per game while grabbing 5 rebounds. His best game of the year came in the OT game at Kansas when he dropped 27 on the Jayhawks.

The other big gun that leads the Arizona attack is 6'3" freshman guard, Jerryd Bayless who averages nearly 19 points per game while leading the Wildcats with 28 total assists on the season.

Joining Bayless and Budinger in the starting lineup will be 6'4" senior guard Jawann McClellan (9.7 points, 4.0 rebounds) , 6'10" sophomore forward Jordan Hill (11.2 / 4.3) , and 6'11" senior center Kirk Walters (1.0 / 2.7).

The Arizona bench is VERY deep as they have 5 guys coming off the bench that all are averaging double-digit minutes on the season. The two primary guys coming off the bench are 6'3" senior guard Daniel Dillion (21 minutes per game) and 6'6" freshman forward Jamelle Horne (19.8 minutes per game).

One other thing to point out about the Arizona squad is that they have 3 guys on the roster this year from the Houston area:
- Jawann McClellan - Milby HS
- Fendi Onobun - Alief Taylor HS
- Nic Wise - Kingwood HS

Finally, I guess it is also worth pointing out that Aggie senior Beau Mulbach also has Arizona ties as he originally signed with Arizona and spent is freshman season in Tucson before ultimately transferring to A&M.

Alright, I hope that will give you guys a little more to look out for on Sunday evening.

OK - Well, I am really struggling with putting together a prediction for this game. My heart is telling me that the Aggies could win this game, but my head is telling me that they will likely lose a very close game.

Ah, screw it, let's go with the heart - Aggies win 69-68.

Carry on!