Texas A&M Basketball dropped out of the Top 25 in the AP and coaches poll after losses to Florida and LSU. Can the Aggies right the ship and bounce back?
A&M fell to Florida 83-66 on Jan. 2. The Aggies would lead early before the Gators shot the lights out in Reed Arena. Florida would finish the game shooting 33 of 64 and 17 of 28 from three. I never thought I would see a team win on the road by double digits and not make a free throw in the game. The Gators were 0-of-1 from the line.
In the LSU game, the Aggies started extremely slow. The Tigers raced out to a 10-0 lead before the Aggies rallied to score the next 12 points to take the lead. From there the game was back and forth before Tremont Waters hit a three with 44 seconds left in the first half to give the Tigers the halftime lead.
In the second half, the Aggies had a six point lead once and a five point lead at least four or five times. Each time LSU needed to make a play they did. The last five point lead hurt the most, with the score 68-63 after a Tyler Davis jumper with 19 seconds left, Waters did what he did to end the first half. His first three from some 25-27 feet went in to cut the lead to 68-66.
After an LSU timeout, Tyler Davis received the inbounds pass (why?) and was fouled. He would miss both and LSU would call another timeout with three seconds left. Waters would catch the inbounds pass off a curl and hurled up the shot and of course it went in with less than a second remaining. This would propel LSU to a 69-68 win and send the Aggies to 0-3 in SEC play.
Fallout in the polls
These two results make this week super important. A&M hits the road for both games, the first against No. 21/20 Kentucky in Lexington and the visit over the weekend against No. 24/23 Tennessee in Knoxville.
In the AP poll, the Aggies are technically receiving votes and would be No. 28 if the poll kept going. They are behind Notre Dame and Florida.
In the coaches poll, the Aggies are again receiving votes and would be No. 27 in this case behind Florida State.
As for other SEC teams, Kentucky dropped to No. 21 in the AP and to No. 20 in the coaches. Auburn moved into the AP at No. 22 and No. 24 in the coaches. Tennessee moved down to No. 24 in the AP and No. 23 in the coaches. Besides the Aggies, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi State are receiving votes in at least one of the polls.
This week the Aggies visit Kentucky and Tennessee in two games they need to win to avoid a potential 0-5 start in conference play. The Florida game is Jan. 9 at 6:00 p.m. CT on ESPN. The Tennessee game is Jan. 13 at 5:00 p.m. CST on the SEC Network.
DJ Hogg returned from suspension, but the Aggies were still without Admon Gilder and Duane Wilson for LSU. Robert Williams also missed the LSU game due to illness. All three remain day-to-day so we’ll find out before the tip against the Wildcats if any will play. The Aggies need to fix things quickly because the conversation is slowly changing from being a No. 1 or 2 seed to potentially missing the tournament all together.