Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Late December Recap

Hi guys - I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Today we're going to take a quick look back at the Aggies' last three games, wins over Cal-Irvine (88-66), Florida A&M (83-54) and Rice (68-41). None of the three games were really that close, and it was really tough to take much away from any of them on an individual basis. The Aggies' average margin of victory over those three games was 26 points.

I talked to a few of you guys after these games and the easiest thing I could put around it was "standard product for this time of year"; a top 15 team playing lesser competition on their home court and doing nothing more or nothing less than what you would have expected.

I am a little bit conflicted about what to make of this stretch of the 2007-2008 schedule. You always love wins and will take all you can, but isn't the program at a point now where you do not need to play a 6-game stretch of Texas State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Detroit, Cal-Irvine, Florida A&M and Rice ?

I fully understand that this stretch is bookended with Arizona and LSU, but I read a comment like this from Turgeon (after the FAMU win) and you can't help but be concerned:

"I think our guys need competition," Turgeon said. "We've been a little bit bored out there and we're playing that way. We need a stiffer test."

I'm concerned for two reasons:

1.) If I am the head coach of one of these opponents, how does that make me feel? If Turgeon needs a filler game next year, am I going to take his phone call? Probably not. Talk about your team Turge, but if you don't feel your opponents are not up to your challenge, fine, but keep that behind closed doors. I know you inherited this schedule, but don't you have to be careful as to how comments like that are going to come across?

2.) At this point, what good is going to come out of playing these types of games? I'm not saying you need to go load up on top-flight competition, but it may not hurt to mix in a good mid-major team or some mid-tier ACC or Big 10 opponents next year. To me, the biggest thing that can come out of games like this is the formation of repetitive bad habits. I don't know how many of you guys got to watch the Rice game on Monday, but it was without-a-doubt their worst offensive game of the season.

I think it is safe to say that everyone associated with this program is looking forward to Saturday's LSU game and the start of Big 12 play a week later on Saturday the 12th.

OK - Enough of me having to complain about something, let's take a quick look back at these last three wins.

Cal-Irvine Quick Hits

- Cal-Irvine was lights-out for most of the afternoon from behind the three-point line where they finished the game 10-for-18 (55.6%).

- 6 Aggies finished the game scoring in double-digits with Donald Sloan and Dominique Kirk leading the way with 14 points each.

- Donald Sloan played a great all-around game adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists to his 14 points.

- Cal-Irvine's Darren Fells is the second best player I have seen at Reed Arena this year behind Alabama's Richard Hendrix. The 6'7" senior from Fullerton finished the game with 19 points and 6 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting from the field. I'm not sure how or why Fells is not at one of California's premier college programs.

- The Aggies shot the basketball VERY well against Irvine making 34 of their 54 field goal attempts (63%).

Florida A&M Quick Hits

- Josh Carter was outstanding in the first half scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting (4-of-5 from behind the arc). Carter finished the game with 20 points.

- Dominique Kirk did not score, but he did finish the game with 7 assists and 6 rebounds.

- Junior Elonu came off the bench to grab 9 rebounds in only 11 minutes of action.

- The Aggies had their best night of the season at the free-throw line making 15 of their 20 attempts (75%). DeAndre Jordan was actually a perfect 3-for-3 in the game!

- The Aggies outrebounded the Rattlers 44-to-26. On the season, the good guys are outrebounding their opponents by an average of 12 rebounds per game (43-to-31)

Rice Quick Hits

- The Aggies tied a school record (1959-1960) for the best start to a season at 13 wins against 1 defeat.

- The boys in Maroon & White had far-and-away their worst shooting game of the season only making 26 of their 69 attempts (37.7%). The good news is that Rice was even worse at 15 for 56 (26.8%).

- A&M has won 45 straight regular-season non-conference home games.

- DeAndre Jordan was outstanding against Rice in scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. He also had a career-high 4 blocked shots.

- A&M has been ranked for 29 straight weeks starting with the preseason poll last year. Prior to this streak, the Aggies had been ranked a total of 27 weeks in its history.

- Senior Dominique Kirk started for the 110th straight game today, setting a Big 12 record. The old mark was 109 by Kansas' Aaron Miles in 2001-05. This is an amazing feat when you think about the fact that Kirk has started every single game in his career at A&M.

- Former Aggie point-guard Bryan Beasley is the starting PG for Willis Wilson's Rice squad. I am glad to see that Beasley was able to land on his feet. Beasley did not have to sit out a year as the NCAA granted him a waiver to be able to play immediately.

Later this week I will try to put together a quick look at Saturday's big game against LSU. The game is at 7:00 on Saturday and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN-U.

Carry on.


At 1/02/2008 3:38 PM, Anonymous Mr.MiyAggie said...

Interesting take on the 6 game stretch against Blinn, Bryan High, Career Point Institute, University of Pheonix, Harris County CC, and the Comets[joey's little league basketball team]. Oh how times have changed. I continue to be amazed. I remember these being close games when we were in school, i remember when we griped about scheduling this cream puffs, i remember thanking Billy Gillispie for scheduling the cream puffs in order to improve the teams record and confidence against greater opponents.

Im kind of proud of the way the team has played these games and i like Turgeons attitude and concern about the team growing bored. We blew everyone out. I wish the football team would blow out the teams they should. A&M is taking care of business and i think their free throw shooting is getting better.


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