OSU Update [pre-game]
Good morning guys.
I've received quite a few notes from you guys since Wednesday night's debacle in College Station and believe me, your frustration is absolutely justified. Personally, I think it is awesome everyone cares as much as you do.
I also know a lot of you guys are frustrated with Coach Turgeon and not only the way he is handling the team, but also the way he is handing himself. Needless to say, I too have been surprised by some of his recent comments.
Let me just tell you guys where I am coming from as we sit here this morning (homer warning!).
Did I ever imagine that this team could lose 3 in a row this early in the conference slate?
Am I surprised by how fast and how hard this team has hit the skids?
All of that being said, if the Aggies can find a way to get past Oklahoma State in Stillwater today and then get past Texas on Wednesday at Reed Arena, the Aggies will find themselves back in the thick of the Big 12 race and in a position to salvage the season.
Do I think that the Aggies, or anyone for that matter, will be able to catch Kansas in the race for the regular season Big 12 title? No way, but that is not a slap on A&M, Baylor, K-State, Texas, or anyone else. I just think that KU is way too deep and way too talented to have anyone else present a serious challenge to the Jayhawks defending their Big 12 title.
So, if the Aggies are not playing for a regular season Big 12 title, what are they playing for? Well, at this point (1-3 in the league), they are not only playing for national respectability, but are now simply trying to prove their worth as deserving as high (6+) of a national seed in the tournament as is possible.
If they fall again today in Stillwater and then lose to Texas at home on Wednesday to fall to 1-5 in the league, could it be time to start looking forward to hosting an NIT game or two? Ummmm. Yikes. Let's not cross that bridge until we have to.
Anyway, looking forward to this afternoon's game in Stillwater (1:00 ESPN), the biggest thing that concerns me is that OSU's primary strengths come from their guards and small forwards who love to play on the perimeter.
I spent about 15 minutes on the phone yesterday with OSU radio play-by-play announcer Dave Hunziker talking about the match-up. One thing he pointed out to me was that Sean Sutton was most likely going to "go small" with his lineup and force the Aggies to get out on the perimeter and guard the Cowboy shooters.
To me this game will come down to the same thing the Tech, K-State, and Baylor games did. Who is going to be able to exhort their strength on the other team? Will OSU's gunners be able to knock down their shots from the perimeter or will A&M's big men be able to dominate the paint and score over the top of the Cowboys' defenders inside.
[This was as far as I got before I had to head out to the game.]
My score prediction was:
Oklahoma State 68
Texas A&M 65