The fat lady remains warmed up - but she ain't singing just yet.
The Aggies kept their faint NCAA Tournament chances alive with a big win in Lubbock on Saturday night. The Aggies improved to 5-7 in league play with the 79-73 win over Pat Knight's Raiders. The game was marred by some HORRIBLE officiating in which the men in stripes called a combined 56 fouls. The Aggies were the benefactor of the refs' horrible night, moreso than the Raiders, as the Aggies shot 51 free throws vs. 22 for Tech. Nevermind the fact that the Aggies were simply atrocious from the line in only making 30 of their 51 attempts.
Pat Knight let the league have it after the game - vintage Coach Knight - his dad taught him well. You can read the whole story here:
OK - The biggest thing for me from the game Saturday night was the continued domination of Big Chin. Junior Elonu was simply awesome as he scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while going 8-of-12 from the floor. Josh Carter was also awesome in scoring 20 points while knocking down 4-of-6 three point attempts.
Alright - The Aggies' fight to the finish contines with a pretty tough road game against the smallest team in college basketball - the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The 'Huskers don't play a single guy taller than 6'6", but they will get after you on the defensive end. They lead the Big 12 in scoring defense (58.7 points per game). In addition, the 'Huskers rank second in the league in steals (8.8 per game) and turnover margin (+5.8). They force their opponents into an average of 17.5 turnovers per game.
I would look for the Aggies to pound the ball inside and try to force their will on Nebraska with a huge dose of Elonu, Davis and Loubeau. The Huskers are led by Ade Dagunduro (12.1 ppg / 4.2 rpg) and Steve Harley (10.7 ppg / 3.4 rpg). Lincoln is a tough place to play, and Nebraska has already notched home wins this year against Texas, Missouri and K-State.
The game agaisnt Nebraska can be seen on ESPN2 Tuesday Night at 8:30 with Bob Wischusen and Doug Gottlieb calling the action.
I said it last week and I'll say it again - don't give up on this group of guys just yet - their RPI is all the way up to 38 and they have a chance to keep their name in the hat with this closing stretch of games. I put a quick note out on TexAgs about it, but I think it's great that the Aggies have Gottlieb calling the game tomorrow night. With his national radio show and his presence on most all of ESPN's national basketball coverage - having him see a good performance by the Aggies tomorrow night could go a long way in helping to drum up some positive publicity.
One final note - I was asked this week to say a firm "yes" or "no" with regards to whether or not I think the Aggies get into the tournament. I will tell you that I can't be fully objective about it, but yeah, right now I think they get in. I think their RPI is shaping up quite nicely, and I think they can do one of two things to get in:
1.) Finish with a sweep (9-7 league record) + 1 win in OKC
2.) Finish with 3-1 record over these last 4 games including a win over Missouri + 2 wins in OKC. Said another way, I think 8-8 (with win over Missouri) + two wins in OKC will be enough.
It just seems to me that they are finally playing with some determination like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
What do you guys think - are they going to be able to sneak in?
Tomorrow night, Vegas has the Aggies as 3.5 point underdogs.
Aggie Hoops Report Score Prediction:
Texas A&M 62