Lock it up.
On the line tonight: Lonestar Showdown Trophy, Big 12 POY Award, Big 12 season championship, Big 12 Tournament #1 seed, and NCAA Tournament #2 Seed.
How to win:
Public Enemy #1
Some of you are confused, it's ok. Kevin Durant may be a god that can't legally buy a drink, but what he isn't is a one-man team. Every major Longhorn victory depends crucially on the supporting role that D.J. Augustin plays. Forget Durant, even if he scores 50, that won't be enough, we need to lock down Augustin.
Own the Tempo
Last month in College Station, the Longhorns pushed the game tempo at every opportunity, practically negating an injured Jones. While we did end up winning by 18 as we hit 100 pts, we played their style on our court. We can't let that happen again. If we're playing our style, neither team should break 75.
lots and lots of boards. With the size and experience we have in the paint, there is no excuse that an undersized Texas should even get half the rebounds of A&M. To be honest, A&M will NOT be able to stay out of foul trouble, thus we gotta compensate those free throws with increased boards, denying the longhorns 2nd chance points.
3-pt Shooting. It will be our safety net. If we have trouble controlling the tempo, if the crowd gets into the game, if for some reason we aren't getting the boards, the 3pt line will be our last line of defense (err..offense). Carter, Kirk, Law, hell even Jones. Basically, our whole starting 5 can and do hit that shot. Let's hope it doesn't come down to "The Shot: Part II".
prediction: Aggies 75-65
My pre-emptive response to the inevitable signs implying that Aggies for unlawful carnal knowledge livestock:
So does that make yall our bitches?
Mix Billy Gillispie's rockstar status with the impending bubble bursts for many programs around the country, then throw in a dash of message board rumormongering, and all of a sudden the sky is falling in College Station.
first, a look at what the chicken littles are saying:
"At Texas A&M, football will always be king. No coach that has such a potential for greatness would ever want to stay at a school where basketball is #2."
I will concede that football will always be #1 at Texas A&M, and at any big school in the south for that matter, but to say that a coach is more focused on being the #1 sport at that school vs. building a program that competes for championships is a stretch. While I don't have the financial records in front of me to prove that the basketball program is receiving equal monetary support, it's pretty damn clear that the AD, the 12th Man Foundation, and the student body are fully supporting Gillispie. (Just look at the plans for the new basketball center breaking ground this summer)
why Gillispie is staying put:
- Billy is just getting started:
2007-2008 will be his 4th year in building the program, he will finally have everything in place to show what his vision for A&M Basketball is capable of.
- Much of BCG's success is a result of his Texas high school and AAU ties:
Billy's incredible ability to network and recruit within Texas combined with A&M's proximity to the major metro areas of Texas has provided the base upon which Gillispie has built the program. If Gillispie were to leave for another school, his ability to maintain his Houston and Dallas pipelines will be severely hampered.
- Rick Barnes, not Billy Gillispie:
While Billy may have the spotlight this year, Rick Barnes has built a program at Texas that is consistently competing for championships. Barnes has also demonstrated that he can recruit the best from anywhere (Durant from Massachusetts). All this combined with some very public comments expressing his disatisfaction with the support of Basketball at Texas would make him a very juicy and likely target for a major program looking to hire big.
Mark it down, following the madness of March, Durant declares for the NBA, and Barnes finds himself on the east coast (kentucky counts as east coast, right?)
What's with the Big XII and logo disputes this year?
The University of Missouri is planning to sue a College Station high school for infringement if it does not cease & desist.
A&M Consolidated HS logo:
while it is clearly an infringement, it's interesting that the school singled out (i've seen plenty of HS logos in Texas alone that infringe on many Big XII logos) is located two miles from the Texas A&M campus.
Revenge for what Jorvorskie Lane did to their defense, and subsequently their season, last fall?
In what appears to be a mid-blog crisis, we're looking for a new identity. The truth is, I've grown tired of the ambiguous spelling/meaning behind The 12th Manchild. After giving myself a couple of weeks to try to come up with some good names, those are the two that I've decided upon and more importantly aren't already owned by someone. I would really appreciate yall's input (poll in the corner), if you have a better name, post it in the comments, and yes, "AggieAssbag.com" is already taken..so sorry guys. Thanks yall!
while sufficiently obvious to many, further proof was provided last week when it took me much longer than 3 days to rise from my bronchitis-induced death.
whilst confined to the underworld, I was out of touch with not only my blog and all sports blogs, I was out of touch with class, work, and life in general. It's test week here at A&M, so with class being infinitely more important than the blog (emphasis added for the 12MC's parents/tuitionpayers/recent lurkers on this site), I'll have less time than normal to catch up. Thus, I'll be busting out my favorite style of writing: Hollow Point-by-Point Bullets
- Last Week's 48Hrs of Primetime Lime
It was a landmark weekend in Texas A&M Athletics history. When those two games went out across the nation, it was clear(720p to be exact) to basketball observers everywhere that A&M Basketball was for real, and here to stay. In 30 years, when Dick Vitale's grandchild interviews Billy Gillispie, standing in the new arena bearing his name, they'll point to that first weekend in February 2007 as the starting point of Texas A&M Basketball's national significance.
getting back to the smaller picture, while the two wins over Kansas and Texas were significant wins for the program, they were more importantly two signature wins that the Ags' resume had been lacking. Those two wins, coupled with the Ags' remaining home schedule should ensure the Aggies remaining in the top 10 up to selection sunday (a bolder than usual prediction, i know). With the way this team continues to rise, it's hard not to start talking about a #2 Seed.
Yet, if A&M has any hope to continue it's streak of Big XII domination and beyond, it must work to strengthen to major flaws exposed during those 48 hours:
- Foul Trouble
It's what continues to weaken us on the road, and to make games much more interesting than they need be. It's getting to the point where it feels like we're playing a "great" game if Jones and AK don't go into halftime with 3 fouls. Jones managing to play most of the 2nd half against Kansas with 4 fouls is nothing short of divine intervention. When Kirk went to the bench with 3 early in the 1st against Texas, we lost our best defender, giving Augustin the greenlight to slice and dice his way to the hoop. We've been fortunate so far, we've been able to get incredible play from the bench and our team has played with liquid nitrogen in their veins. Yet, the road to the final four isn't paved with +20 foul games.
- Transition Game
perhaps the simplest flaw, and easiest to exploit is the apparent fact that we're used to an transition tempo. Our vaunted defense will be all over your guys and up in your face, but only as long you allow us to transition at our own pace. As Augustin & Durant proved last monday night, if you push the ball hard down the court on every possession, you will negate one of our biggest guys and best rebounder: Joseph Jones. No one is calling the big guy out of shape, but anyone who watches the Ags play knows that Jones takes a lot longer to get down the court (hence, the often used play of the surprise Jones shot from the key). By upping the tempo of the game, the Longhorns forced Gillispie to pull Jones and make a lot of personnel changes. Although the game wasn't close in the end, the Longhorns came into Reed and forced the Aggies to play a different style of game, and you can bet coaches on NCAA bound teams took note.
- Foul Trouble
- Acie Law up for Cousy Award
if becoming a national household name wasn't enough, Acie is currently considered the front runner for the Bob Cousy Award, awarded to the nation's best point guard. vote here
Signing Day was last week. So i'm not gonna do a copy/pasted run through of our pickups along with their respective Rivals/Scouts annointed star level. While I look upon recruiting as an indicator of future success very skeptically, I do think it's a very indicative tool for measuring trends of perception. A glaring outlier in 2007 was Oklahoma State. The okies made significant inroads in Texas, poaching a couple of high value A&M targets, specifically: Dez Bryant and Will Cole. Both were early A&M offers, Bryant was a verbal. What boggles me is what is going on in Stillwater to attract that kind of talent away from a very similar environment in College Station. Both programs are on the rise in the Big XII South (A&M much closer to a championship). Both programs well funded and with top facilities (OSU only recently, stadium expansion on the way). Both programs located in majority white, small college town settings (OK beer is diluted). I'm not trying to analyze the thought process of 18yr old athletes, I'm only curious to discover what product OSU is selling that separated itself from A&M in this case.
Meanwhile, Billy Gillispie's been busy in H-Town. The center piece of his 2007 class will be F DeAndre Jordan (6-11 240), a rather timely haul with the impending loss of AK to graduation. While many may be fretting over the threat of a storied basketball program attempting to poach Gillispie from A&M, one only need to look at the pipeline he's quietly yet quickly constructed flowing from Houston to College Station. Imagine the kind of team A&M will have once Billy has a couple years with players he handpicked, the future looks good for A&M basketball.
- Breakfast of Champions
In a recent article, Gillispie admitted that his breakfast usually consists of peanutbutter crackers and Dr. Pepper from a convenience store near his home. The "Billy Breakfast" will soon be sweeping a dorm room near you.
..for FREE! (no sexual favors were performed..)
upcoming posts tomorrow/this week:
- A&M Basketball: 48 Hours of Pure National Spolight
- a treatise on the current state of Texas A&M Athletics (aka: Football & Basketball)
- Bill Byrne's campaign to move the Texas Tech game to Dallas
the obligatory youtube filler video:
our triumphant heroes return from Lawrence, KS. my favorite part: "Kentucky is terrible!!" screams some guy, in reference to the rumors that Kentucky (and EVERY big program looking for a new coach) is attempting to woo Gillispie.
SEE YOU AT REED, Baby!
Texas A&M - 73
Iowa State - 49
Against a dangerous team, the Ags took care of business and made it looks easy, all while racking up significant minutes for the bench that should payoff dividends down the road this season.
despite choosing to resign from the team and work exclusively on football, Martellus was still there behind the bench supporting the team.
guess who else was there? drunken fool #1 from the Oklahoma State game.. on the JUMBOTRON!
AK's popularity in Aggieland has reached rockstar status, I too will admit to possibly wetting my pants when i've seen him around town.
his popularity is highlighted by the dozen or so Lithuanian flags dotting the student section.
Carter going up strong for a rebound. If Carter's play were more consistent, it would be so much easier to make predictions about the rest of the season, when he's up, we can take down kansas and run the table on the rest of our schedule. When he's down, I worry about losing to Baylor at home 2 weeks from now.
Kirk about to own Rashon Clark. Kirk and the Ags plastic-bag-over-your-face defense held the Cyclones to 30.9% FG% on the night. It'll be interesting to see who Gillispie picks to guard Durant on Monday, my initial thought is Kirk, but the height mismatch might be too great.
thank you baby jesus, the dance team finally got new uniforms. goodbye trashy solid maroon velvet...
...hello new black..wait what was i talking about again.
"Hey Wes, McDonald's called, they want their jerseys back!" ISU Freshman, Wesley Johnson, can't help but smile and laugh as the Rowdies gave him crap all night. Anything ranging from the jerseys to why the hell he decided to leave texas and go play at Iowa State.
Brian Davis had a frustrating night. He played phenomenally well in terms of putting himself in position to score and shutting down his man, but he just couldn't get anything to get in the hoop... unless it was a freethrow like this.
Joe Jones and AK cheer on their buddies who finally get some PT. I'm pretty sure EVERYBODY on the bench got some playing time that night.
The crowd let out an eerie cheer as Jerrod took the court. Excited to see him get his first minutes of the season, terrified at the thought of our future football messiah getting injured.
The hardworking little manager of the floor boys is dejected after hearing that ESPN's Pat Forde named Reed Arena "The Ugliest Basketball Court in America".
Athletic Director Bill Byrne's reaction after the game in the media workroom when told of Forde's column: "So some little writer from ESPN doesn't like our court? Tell him he can shove it up his scrawny little ass."
(UPDATE: 3:50PM) Student tickets to be distributed via lottery
while, there is no "good" solution to prevent a repeat of last night's insanity, it's hard to not feel cheated if one doesn't get a ticket.
good luck Ags
at 12:20PM last night, before 6,000+ students camped out(and cramped out) in the pedestrian underpass, the student ticket pull for monday's game against Texas was postponed indefinitely.
an announcement concerning the ticket pull is due out sometime today.
Aubrey Bloom (Reed Rowdies Prez) attempts to institute some semblance of organization... it fails.
now imagine all of these people attempting to sprint to the ticket windows at 5:30AM.. people were headed to the hospital for sure, if not the morgue.
to get a better feel for the night's events, watch these two videos:
video 1 - going through the crowd and tents interviewing students
video 2 - the announcement that ticket pull is cancelled and the urging of students to go home on their own accord instead of having UPD clear them out.
(note: these are unedited, thus lengthy, but worth it)