Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Quick Look Back at LSU and SHSU / Look ahead to Rice

I hope you all had a great Christmas and everyone enjoyed spending time with friends and family.

While you were asleep the Aggies played a couple of games that we have yet to take a look at.

LSU Recap
On the Saturday before Christmas the Aggies traveled to Houston to take on the previously undefeated LSU Tigers at the Toyota Center as part of a doubleheader with Michigan State and Texas (MSU won 67-63 in an instant-classic). The two-game set was well received and the posted attendance for the event was 17,704. I would be all for this becoming an annual tradition with UT and A&M playing a doubleheader at the Toyota Center every season.

The Aggies came out against LSU and put forward their best 40 minutes of basketball so far this season and thumped LSU 72-61. The Aggies controlled the tempo from the opening tip and a strong 8 point lead (26-18) with only 5:55 left to play in the opening frame. LSU went on a 9-to-4 run over the next couple of minutes to cut the Aggie lead to 30-27 as the two teams headed to the half. Neither team scored in the final 2+ minutes of the first frame.

Coming out of the break, the Aggies got red-hot and pushed their lead all the way to 12 points (49-37) behind a monster dunk by Junior Elonu and a short jumper by Donald Sloan.

Not wanting to spare anyone from the dramatics, the Aggies let LSU creep back into the game by giving up a 20-to-10 run to the Tigers to make the score 59-57 in favor of the good guys at the 3:07 mark.

[queue: Bryan Davis]

Over the final 3 minutes of the game, Bryan Davis put on his superman cape and took over. The 6'9" junior from Dallas scored back-to-back baskets for the Aggies which started Davis scoring 6 of the Aggies next 9 points. The 9 points from the Aggies were unanswered by LSU and the score suddenly stood at 68-57 and for all intents and purposes, the game was over.

The Aggies made 4 more free throws down the stretch to push the final score to 72-61 and you can't help but get the feeling that the Aggies and Tigers are starting to develop quite the rivalry. The two teams have faced each other for 4 straight seasons now with each team winning a home game and a neutral-site game. I would be all for the two schools agreeing on an annual match-up. I think it would be great for both programs and their fans.

Josh Carter led the Aggies with 19 points while Bryan Davis added 16 points and 6 rebounds. Donald Sloan also had a good night contributing 11 points and 7 boards.

SHSU Recap
After taking off 8 days for Christmas, the Aggies got back to action Sunday night against Sam Houston at Reed Arena. I'm not sure what to make of their 10 point win (60-50), they again sleepwalked for 40 minutes against an inferior opponent. The Aggies were ahead by 17 (55-38) and cruising to a "to be expected" win before they let the Kats score 12 points in the final 4+ minutes.

There is not a whole lot to talk about from this game, they were just on cruise control all night and didn't do anything to make you feel good one way or another. Once again, just book the win and move on.

BJ Homles and Junior Elonu led the Aggies with 11 points each. Elonu also added 11 rebounds for his 3rd double-double of the year.

Can someone explain to me how and why Josh Carter only shot the ball 4 times against SHSU? This was the 4th time this year that Carter has shot the ball 6 times or fewer. Don't you want you best scorer putting the ball up 10+ times per game?

Rice Preview
The Aggies take on Rice today at the sparkling new Tudor Fieldhouse on the Rice campus in Houston.

The Aggies took on the Owls last year in College Station on New Year's Eve and won easily 68-41. Today's New Year's Eve rematch should also be an Aggie win, but I would expect the margin to be much closer this time around.

Rice played Texas pretty tough in Austin for 30 minutes (trailed by 11 with 10 minutes left) before succumbing in the end to fall 77-56. They also played Oklahoma way tougher than expected (tied with just under 8 minutes left) before falling to the Sooners 70-58 in Houston.

Rice is led by a couple of decent guards, Cory Pflieger, who averages 12.3 points per game and Rodney Foster who adds 11.0 points and 4.3 assists per game.

Vegas says the Aggies should win by 8.5, I think that's about right to maybe a touch high.

I think the Aggies win this game by 6 - let's call it 67-61.

If you are in Houston, make your way over to Rice for the 3:00 tip - it should be a pretty good game.

Carry on.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

SMU Win / LSU Preview

SMU Rewind

The Aggies managed to take down SMU on Wednesday night at Reed Arena (66-56) in what can only be described as another pretty underwhelming victory.

I would love to point out a few highlights for you guys, but the win was not much more than that, just a win..... Put it in the "W" column and move on.

The Aggies shot a pretty poor 39.6% from the field (21-for-53), their 2nd lowest shooting percentage of the season.

I also want to point out that the Aggies still continue to struggle grabbing their fair share of rebounds. The out-rebounded the Mustangs 43-40, but 20 of SMU's 40 rebounds were offensive. There is no reason to ever give up 20 offensive rebounds to a team that you have a clear athletic advantage over. To put the 20 offensive rebounds that SMU grabbed in perspective, the Aggies' opponents were averaging just over 10 per game before the SMU game.

OK - You can read more about the SMU game here:

LSU Look-Ahead

Looking forward to today - A&M takes on LSU at the Toyota Center at approximately 4:00. There will be no TV for the game and your best bet is to catch Dave South on the radio or The game is part of a double-header with Michigan State and Texas playing the first game at 1:00 (that game is on CBS).

LSU comes into the game at 8-0, but if you look at their Sagarin ratings, he rates their strength of schedule as 347th out of 347 teams. So, is their 8-0 impressive, yes - for sure, but needless to say Texas A&M will far-and-away be the best team that have faced thus far.

LSU and A&M are quickly developing a nice little regional rivalry as this will be the 4th time the two teams have met in the last 4 years.
- In 2006 LSU knocked A&M out of the NCAA tournament on Darrel Mitchell's long 3 pointer.
- During the 2006-2007 season LSU handed A&M a 64-52 loss in Baton Rouge.
- The Aggies were able to exact some revenge last season by taking down the Tigers 79-53.

This season LSU is led by senior guard Marcus Thornton who averages 17.3 points per game and junior forward Tasmin Mitchell who adds 12.8 points per contest.

I will be very curious to see how A&M comes out and plays this afternoon after fairly disappointing performances against Florida A&M and SMU earlier this week. I sure hope we will see more of the A&M that looked so good against Arizona and Alabama?!?!?!?

After today's game The Aggies break for Christmas and do not get back at it until they take on Sam Houston on the 28th.

Carry on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aggies Take On SMU Tonight - TV Update

OK - Very quickly this afternoon.

The Aggies looked VERY average on Monday night in a sleepwalking 67-57 win over Florida A&M.

Brent Zwerneman's recap can be found here:

I can add these wondrous gems:
-- Junior Elonu was awesome - 17 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks.
-- Free Throw shooting was outstanding - a Big XII record 20-for-20 from the line.
-- Turnovers were a HUGE problem - 17 of them vs. only 12 assists.

OK - That's enough about Florida A&M.

The Aggies get right back at it tonight against a below average SMU team at Reed Arena - 7:00.

SMU is coming off a terrible loss to Arkansas Pine-Bluff and the Aggies are favored by ~20 points in Vegas.

The game is on Fox Southwest again (448-Dish Network / 678-DirecTV) - if you have Comcast or Time Warner - Check your local listings.

The Aggies should easily take care of SMU tonight, but then again they should have walloped Florida A&M too, so who knows.

We're heading up for the game tonight and will have more for you either tomorrow or Friday.

Hope you are having a good week.

Carry on.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Aggies Take On Florida A&M Tonight - TV Update

Guys - Two quick things.

1.) The Aggies had a great win at Alabama on Saturday night.

A&M was down 5 with 17 seconds left before Nate Walkup and BJ Holmes both hit HUGE three pointers that sent the game to overtime. In the extra period, the Aggies held Alabama without a field goal and pulled away to a 86-78 win.

Josh Carter had 23 points and 8 rebounds while BJ Holmes added 16 points and 7 boards off the bench.

You can read more about the game here:

2.) The Aggies return home tonight to take on Florida A&M at Reed Arena.

The game tongiht is actually on Fox Sports Southwest and can be seen on DishNetwork 448 and DirecTV 678. If you have TimeWarner or Comcast, check your local listings.

Florida A&M (2-7) is not a serious threat to the Aggies and the good-guys won last years game by nearly 30 points (83-54)

We'll have much more for you later in the week.

Carry on.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Aggies Take On Alabama

The Aggies travel to Tuscaloosa tonight to take on the Crimson Tide (5-2) in their first true road test of the year.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried is in his 11th season Alabama and was 17-16 last year. They finished fifth in the SEC's West Division with a 5-11 mark in league play.

The Aggies, who are three point underdogs tonight, will need to be pretty sharp for 40 minutes if they want to come back home with a win tonight.

Alabama is led by Senior guard Ronald Steele who is averaging 13.7 points per game. Joining Steele in the backcourt are sophomore Senario Hillman, who averages 12.6 points and senior guard Alonzo Gee who also adds 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds. Alabama's two losses this season were at home to Mercer (72-69) and against Oregon (92-69) in the Maui Invitational.

Aggie Hoops Report Score Prediction:
Texas A&M 56
Alabama 54

If you do not subscribe to ESPN Full Court or you are not going to a sports bar, your best bet to see the game tonight is on Your internet service provider has to participate with ESPN in order to have access. You do not have to register and it is free to view online if your ISP is lucky enough.

We'll likely only have one report for you guys next week as the Aggies have 3 games over the next 5 days.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Carry on.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Arizona Look-Back

OK - another apology for taking so long to get an Arizona recap out to you guys.

Last Friday night, the Aggies put together a HUGE rally and logged their first signature win of the 2008-2009 season. If the Aggies make this season something special, this may very well be the game that got it all started. It will not necessarily be who the Aggies beat, but the manner in which they came back to win the game. Do not get me wrong, I mean absolutely no disrespect to this year's Wildcat team. I think they are going to be very good and will certainly be a group you will not want to see again come March. All of that being said, they are not much more than a pretty good team that is amongst the 40 or 50 best teams in college basketball.

I think their power trio of Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Nic Wise would start for just about anyone in the nation, but they are severely lacking quality depth and contributing role players that can add meaningful minutes.

After seeing Chase Budinger in person for the first time, it's very easy to see why he is an all-American candidate and one of the best shooters in the game. When Budinger lets it fly, his release is super quick and his shot is nearly automatic (see his gaudy 59.5% 3-pointer shooting percentage).

Alright, let's take a quick look at the 60 minutes that made last Friday's 67-66 win so awesome.

The Aggies got off to just about as awful of a start as you could have imagined. They fell behind 15-2 after nearly 6 minutes, and you can't imagine how quiet Reed Arena was. The Aggies did not loose their cool and managed to put together a quick 10-0 run to cut the Arizona lead to only 15-12. The rally, however, was short lived as Arizona then pushed their lead back to 11 at 28-17. From that point, the Wildcats managed to keep the lead between 11 and 14 points for the balance of the 1st half.

As they headed to the break, the Aggies found themselves down 40-29 and getting outrebounded 20-5. Yes, they only managed to grab 5 boards in the first half. Yes, the game felt that lopsided.

Coming out of the break, the Aggies had a touch more energy and seemed to have a little better spring in their step, but Arizona kept shooting the lights out. Through the first 12 minutes of the second half the two teams had each scored 19 points, and the Arizona lead held steady at 11 points (59-48).

From this point (8:19 left in the game) the Aggies were nearly flawless on both ends of the court and put together a comeback that will resonate with Aggie fans for quite some time. A 14-3 run over the next 4:43 brought about the game's 1st tie when the Good Guys knotted it all up at 62 apiece. The huge rally got the Reed Arena crowd of 10,939 (the largest of the season) rockin' and The Brown Barn on the Brazos actually seemed pretty intimidating for the first time this year.

Arizona took the Aggies' best punch and then scored the next two buckets of the game and pulled back ahead 62-66 with 2:20 left. At this point it appeared they were on their way to escaping College Station with a win.

A funny thing happened in the final 140 seconds as the Aggies then turned around and held Arizona scoreless for the balance of the game. The lockdown was based primarily on the strength of some pretty awesome defense by Derrick Roland on Budinger. On their last 5 possessions A&M forced the Wildcats into 2 turnovers, 2 missed free-throws (both front ends of 1-and-1) and a missed shot by Chase Buddinger.

At the 1:01 mark BJ Holmes hit two huge free-throws to pull the Aggies within 2 at 64-66 before Nate Walkup nearly blew the top off the building when he hit a wide open 3 with 20 seconds remaining that gave the Aggies their first lead of the game at 67-66. Donald Sloan found Walkup wide open on the left side when his man collapsed in the lane to double-team Bryan Davis, and Walkup let one fly that found the bottom of the net and hopefully set the Aggies' season back on the right path.

I thought Walkup had a great quote after the game. When asked about his shot he humbly said, "All I did was play eight minutes and make one shot, so I don't want to steal the glory from all the other guys that contributed."

OK - A couple of quick hits before we take a look at the game vs. Alabama on Saturday night.

- - The Aggies have now won 51 straight non-conference home games.
- - B.J. Homes was tremendous again, for the 4th straight game as he has made 11 of his last 20 three point attempts (he started 1-for-9 in the first 3 games). The sophomore scored a team high 14 points against Arizona.
- - Bad: The Aggies got outrebounded 18-33
- - Good: The Aggies posted 16 assists (on 24 field goals) and only 4 turnovers
- - The other thing I will take away from this game was the athleticism and raw talent that Arizona's Jordan Hill showed. The kid seems to have a few attitude problems, but he made some moves on Friday night that just make you shake your head.
- - I can't stress enough how important Derrick Roland's defense on Chase Budinger was in the 2nd half of this game. Budinger was held to only 3 points in the second frame.

OK - We'll try to take a quick look at the Aggies game at Alabama on Saturday if we get time this afternoon.

Carry on.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Aggies Take On Arizona Tonight - 8:30 ESPN-U

The Aggies will host Arizona in their signature non-conference home game tonight at 8:30 pm, the game will be telecast nationally on ESPN-U. The game is part of the Big 12 - Pac 10 Hardwood Series.

The Wildcats (5-1) are coming into the game led by a pretty sold group of three players; Chase Budinger, Nic Wise and Jordan Hill.

Budinger is clearly the best player on the roster and is an All-America candidate who is averaging 21.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. It is also worth noting that he ranks second nationally in three-point percentage at .654.

Jordan Hill comes in tonight scoring 17.0 points, grabbing 13.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while nearly making 60% of his shots from the field.

Nic Wise adds 13.8 points and 6.3 assists per game.

Arizona's only loss this year was a home against UAB (72-71) on Nov. 18 as part of the pre-season NIT.

One thing to keep an eye on tonight for the Aggies is an injury to Derrick Roland's ankle. If Roland can't answer the bell, the Aggies defensive efforts are going to have to be superb as their best defender (Roland) will surely be missed.

We will be heading over to Reed tonight to check out the game and will have a quick recap for you guys over the weekend.

Vegas has the Aggies as 3.5 point favorites tonight, and perhaps I still just have too much of the Tulsa game stuck on my brain, but I think the Aggies may end up losing their 50 game non-conference home winning streak tonight. I hope like heck that I am wrong, but we'll see.......

AHR Score Prediction:
Arizona 71
Texas A&M 62

Carry on.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Couple Of Quick SPI Thoughts

A couple of quick thoughts on the Aggies' performance (or lack thereof) in the South Padre Invitational.

Loss to Tulsa 56-67
The game against Tulsa on Friday night was, for lack of a more sophisticated term, embarrassing. The Aggies came out flat, lacking energy and things only got worse from there. Somehow they were only trailing by one at halftime (29-28) before Tulsa opened up the 2nd half with a monstrous 25-4 run that put the game on ice.

The most disturbing part from my perspective was that the Aggies again went through a huge portion of the game without scoring a single field goal. Donald Sloan knocked down a little jumper with 2:10 remaining in the 1st half, and the Aggies did not score another bucket until Josh Carter hit a 3-pointer with 8:26 remaining in the game. Yep, almost 14 minutes of clock time without a single field goal.

Should we be concerned that this is the 3rd time (last year against both OU & UCLA) we have seen a huge scoring drought like this in the Aggies' last 13 games?

The bottom line is this, Tulsa is a decent basketball team, but there is no excuse for the Aggies to have played as poorly as they did in the "not as close as the final score looks" 56-67 loss to the Golden Hurricane.

Win over Kent State 77-71
On Saturday night the Aggies came out and took care of business against a scrappy Kent State squad. The back-and-forth game was pretty tight until Josh Carter hit a big three pointer with 35 seconds left pointing the Aggies to a 77-71 win.

B.J. Holmes had a career high 15 points, and Bryan Davis added 15 points and 13 rebounds coming off the bench for the first time this season. David Lobeau responded well to his first start by also posting a career-high 12 points and 8 rebounds.

After shooting a dismal 30.9% from the field against Tulsa, the Aggies posted a season high 57.1% against the Golden Flashes.

Arizona Next
The Aggies return home on Friday night to take on Arizona in their premier non-conference home game of the 2008-2009 season. We will have a look at the matchup later in the week.

2009 76 Classic
Finally, I also want to point out that the Aggies have been selected to play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim next year. This is one of the better "exempt" tournaments in the nation and will be a great event for the Aggies next year. The field will be as follows:

Texas A&M / UCLA / West Virginia / Long Beach State / Clemson / Butler / Minnesota / Portland

The tournament will run from November 26-29, and tickets will go on sale during the summer of 2009.

More information can be found here:

Carry on.