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Texas A&M Basketball

A&M tasked with limiting Nebraska's shooting ability in NCAA opener

March 21, 2024
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Press conference video courtesy of the NCAA


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A sense of deja vu may be permeating the Texas A&M basketball roster.

As the Aggies (20-14) take the court on Friday, they’re likely to feel like they’ve been there before.

That feeling isn’t about FedExForum, which they visited last season. Rather, it’s their situation.

Again, they’re in the NCAA Tournament. Again, they’re facing a Big Ten opponent which depends heavily on 3-point shooting.

But the No. 9 seed Aggies are determined not to repeat last year’s March Madness malaise when they face No. 8 seed Nebraska (23-10) at 5:50 p.m.

“(We’re) Just acting like we’ve been here before,” A&M senior guard Tyrece Radford said. “Did a lot of celebrating and got that out of our system. Now it’s time to really lock in, take it a game at a time and be where our feet are at.”

This time last year, the Aggies were on the heels. They were overwhelmed in the first round by Penn State, which hit 13 times from 3-point range.

Nebraska, too, relies heavily on 3-point shooting. The Cornhuskers, who have never won an NCAA Tournament game, average 9.5 3-pointers per game.

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Wade Taylor IV paces the Aggies with 641 points consisting of 88 shots made from beyond the arc.

But Nebraska doesn’t necessarily remind the Aggies of Penn State. Rather, they’re more comparable to one of A&M’s SEC rivals.

“They kind of remind me of Alabama,” A&M guard Wade Taylor IV said. “They’re fast. They have great shooters. All five positions can shoot, just like Alabama. They kind of run an NBA offense — pin downs, screens, things like that.”

A&M coach Buzz Williams agreed — to a point.

“There is some residue of how Alabama plays,” Williams said. “They’re fast. They’re not as fast as Alabama. But the percentage of shots from three … eerily similar to Alabama.”

Oy. Alabama blasted A&M, 100-75, on Feb. 20, but that was during a five-game losing streak.

Since then, the Aggies have won five of their last six and appear to be playing their best basketball.

For most of the season, A&M’s 3-point shooting percentage was among the worst in the nation. But in the last six games, the Aggies have converted a torrid 40.1 percent from behind the arc.

Also, sophomore guard Manny Obaseki has scored in double figures in each of the last seven games to emerge as a third scoring threat to complement Taylor and Radford.

Further, sophomore forward Solomon Washington has also averaged 13.4 points and nine rebounds over the last nine games.

Still, Taylor, who scored 82 points in three SEC Tournament games last week, remains A&M’s primary threat.

“The way Taylor is playing right now … he’s the head of the snake. It starts with him. I’m so impressed with his overall game and how the team is playing as a whole. We’ll really have to be on point to give ourselves a chance to win this game.”
- Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg

“The way Taylor is playing right now … he’s the head of the snake,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “It starts with him. I’m so impressed with his overall game and how the team is playing as a whole. We’ll really have to be on point to give ourselves a chance to win this game.”

As mentioned, being on point for Nebraska equals 3-point success. The Huskers have converted 312 treys.

Senior guard Keisei Tominaga, aka “The Japanese Steph Curry,” averages 14.9 points and has hit 71 3-pointers.

Four others have made at least 36 treys. That includes 6-foot-7 guard Brice Williams, with 49, and 6-foot-10 forward Rienk Mast, with 41.

“I don’t know, to be honest with you, if we’ve played a team that combines the pace at which they prefer to play along with the flow or the prettiness or the style,” Buzz Williams said. “And for sure, we haven’t played anyone whose roster is built the way theirs is.”

The Aggies know they have to defend aggressively at the arc. They also know they can shoot there, too. They’re also more physical. A&M leads the nation in total rebounding and offensive rebounds.

Meanwhile, Nebraska was out-rebounded in nine of its 10 losses. Those 10 opponents averaged 15.2 offensive boards.

Much like their likely feeling of deja vu, the Aggies feel like, to be successful, they just need to do what they’ve done before.

“For us, all we’ve got to do, to be honest, is stick to our roots,” Radford said “Be physical, make the open shots and just play together as a team.”

Discussion from...

A&M tasked with limiting Nebraska's shooting ability in NCAA opener

3,692 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by Cotton79
The Marksman
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AG
Let's out-rebound them, take the game, and advance
Cotton79
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Boots is laying the groundwork: Play like you've been there. Because you have. "Be where your feet are"... I like that!

Gig'em, Aggies!
Beat the HELL Outta the Cornhuskers!!
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