Texas A&M 2009 NCAA Tournament Preview
Texas A&M Aggies - Big 12 Conference (23-9, 9-7)
Seed: #9 - West Region
Big Wins: 1/31 Oklahoma State (76-64), 2/16 Texas (81-66), 3/7 Missouri (96-86)
Bad Losses: 11/28 vs Tulsa (56-67), 2/7 Kansas State (60-65), 3/11 vs Texas Tech (83-88)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, Second Round loss to UCLA
Coach: Mark Turgeon (3-2 in 2 NCAA appearances)
Probable Texas A&M Starters:
Donald Sloan, Junior, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 3.0 apg
Derrick Roland, Junior, Guard, 6.2 ppg, 1.8 apg
Josh Carter, Senior, Guard, 14.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Bryan Davis, Junior, Forward, 10.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Chinemelu Elonu, Junior, Center, 10.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Key Texas A&M Roleplayers:
Dash Harris, Freshman, Guard, 1.7 ppg, 1.9 apg
B.J. Holmes, Sophomore, Guard, 8.8 ppg, 1.4 apg
David Loubeau, Freshman, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Nathan Walkup, Sophomore, Forward, 3.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Why The Aggies Can Surprise:
Texas A&M does not have the most explosive offense around, nor do they have a bevy of superstars, but Coach Mark Turgeon is winning games this season by getting his team more possessions than their opponents. The Aggies do this by hitting the glass hard and keeping the turnovers to a minimum. The lack of turnovers can be attributed to point guard Donald Sloan. Sloan is more than just a passer and he has turned into a dangerous scorer, albeit a pretty inconsistent shooter.
On the glass it is the starting frontcourt duo of Bryan Davis and Chinemelu Elonu that have turned Texas A&M into a solid team in the rebounding department. Davis, a 6-9 junior, is the more proven scorer under the basket, but Elonu is on the verge of breaking out. He was a little raw heading into the 2008-2009 campaign, but Elonu averaged 10.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots on the year. When those two are dominating the paint, the Aggies offense can be dangerous.
Why The Aggies Can Disappoint:
However, even when Davis and Elonu are being productive in the paint and creating good looks for the guards on the perimeter, Texas A&M has trouble making the outside shots. Wing Josh Carter and sophomore B.J. Holmes are the only consistent outside shooters. Holmes is pretty much a shooter off the bench, but Carter brings more to the table. He will do a little bit of everything and is the team’s top scorer. At 6-7, Carter can create shots around the basket when he is not hitting a three-pointer and that versatility makes him the Aggies biggest offensive threat.
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Who To Watch:
Davis and Elonu are a formidable duo in the frontcourt and Carter and Sloan do a majority of the scoring in the backcourt. Yet, it takes more than four or five players to make a successful team, especially during the grind of March. Starter Derrick Roland plays an important role as a shutdown defender and Holmes is the offensive spark off the bench and even freshman Dash Harris has done a decent job as the backup point guard. It is in the frontcourt where the production tends to drop off after Davis and Elonu. David Loubeau and Nathan Walkup are both inexperienced underclassmen and they will have to at least play solid defense and grab some rebounds when Davis and Elonu need a break or find themselves in foul trouble.
Texas A&M By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (113th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.6 (115, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (127, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.0 (150, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (185, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.5 (76, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (161, 8)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (30, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (224, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (77, 6)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to BYU
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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