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Buzz Williams
Wildens Leveque
Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M seeks a change in tune on trip to face No. 15 Alabama

February 16, 2024
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The difference between a happy song and a sad one might depend on who’s singing it.

For example, the old Willie Nelson tune “On the Road Again” might sound like a sad song for Texas A&M basketball.

The Aggies (15-9, 6-5) are a mediocre 4-4 on the road, but that includes Southeastern Conference losses to lowly Arkansas (No. 132 in NET) and, most recently, Vanderbilt (No. 214).

A&M’s “February surge” is in jeopardy of becoming February dirge.

Four road games remain in the SEC schedule. That includes an 11 a.m. Saturday clash with No. 15 Alabama (17-7, 9-2), which is No. 5 in the NET. The Tide is 11-1 in Tuscaloosa and has won 14 consecutive home wins against SEC opponents.

That’s troublesome for a team that’s been inconsistent on the road.

“We were not good on Tuesday, but that’s a credit to coach (Jerry) Stackhouse and Vanderbilt,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said on Friday. “It’s such a thin margin. I don’t know if it’s about the opponent.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In their last regular-season meeting, Texas A&M upset then-No. 2 Alabama, 67-61.

“In our tenure, it suggests that it’s not exclusively about where the game is played. I think you can look at my past. Our record in conference play is pretty good.”

Indeed, A&M has won its last three games played at Alabama — two of them under Williams. The Aggies also upset then-No. 2 Alabama, 67-61, last season in College Station.

In that game, Wade Taylor IV scored 28 points, and Tyrece “Boots” Radford had 21. This year, Taylor averages 19.8 points, and Radford 15.1.

They will likely need similar production to again topple the Tide. Alabama leads the nation with a 90.3-scoring average. Guard Mark Sears averages 20.5 points to lead the SEC.

Three other Tide players average in double figures. Guard Aaron Estrada averages 12.9 points, forward Grant Nelson 12.0 and guard Rylan Griffen 11.0.

The Aggies struggled with shooting earlier in the season but are shooting 44.9 percent from the field over the last five games. That’s a dramatic increase from 32.9 percent shooting in the first six SEC games.

Against Vanderbilt, A&M shot better than 50 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from 3-point range and 100 percent from the free throw line.

Williams said that just underscores how much A&M must excel in other areas.

“We have to do all those other things because despite the best numbers of the year, offensively, Tuesday night we still lost,” he said. “We didn’t do the things we know we have to do.”

The Aggies typically rely on offensive rebounding, more shots, fewer turnovers and good defense.

“They have the best offense in the country. The most efficient offense in the country. Fastest offense in the country. They shoot more threes than anybody in the country.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

Vanderbilt beat them on the offensive boards, took 12 more shots and forced a dozen turnovers, while committing just five. The Aggies are 1-3 when committing more turnovers than their opponent.

“We just didn’t perform the way we usually perform,” forward Wildens Leveque said. “They did out-rebound last game. That’s not what we usually do. That will definitely be better.”

The Aggies also need a tenacious defensive effort. Not only does Alabama lead the nation in scoring, but the Tide also ranks third in the nation in 3-pointers made (278) and 28th in field goal percentage (48.02).

“They’re so good,” Williams said with admiration. “They have the best offense in the country. The most efficient offense in the country. Fastest offense in the country. They shoot more threes than anybody in the country.

“I think they’ve scored 100 points or more seven times, including the last time they played (109-92 over LSU).”

But A&M, which has a NET ranking of 43, has posted home-court victories over high-scoring Kentucky (third in the nation), Florida (11th) and Tennessee (47th).

A road victory over Alabama figures to significantly boost the Aggies’ NET and, no doubt, have national observers singing their praises.

Discussion from...

Texas A&M seeks a change in tune on trip to face No. 15 Alabama

1,891 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by Artimus Gordon
RaggedConverge
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AG
Thanks OB. This team is so Jekyll and hyde, we could beat bama by 15 or lose by 10.
Muy
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AG
RaggedConverge said:

Thanks OB. This team is so Jekyll and hyde, we could beat bama by 15 or lose by 10.


Or lose by 25
Artimus Gordon
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We did get tuned up alright!
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