Texas A&M basketball head coach Billy Kennedy apologized to the 12th Man after the team’s effort against Missouri; are you here for it?
Anyone who expected Texas A&M basketball to make the tournament after losing three starters to professional basketball, another major role player to graduation, and another to injury was kidding themselves.
As much as we wanted to believe in a magical run with a new, imaginative offense with shades of Duke, Villanova and Michigan to feature guard play, the truth is the talent doesn’t match up to the rest of the SEC. That is what happens in a short-term business like college basketball. You need recruits that can contribute right away. The 120th-ranked 2018 recruiting class was never going to get it done.
The team’s 7-8 start was even worse than detractors could have predicted. The Ags lost to UC-Irvine, Texas Southern, and Arkansas at home, along with five other losses to definitely better opponents.
The loss to Missouri put a stamp on this disastrous start. In a game the Aggies were favored, and after a loss in which the opposing team’s star player called out Texas A&M’s effort, Billy Kennedy’s squad came out completely flat. Missouri parked themselves in the paint and dared the Aggie guards to make shots.
They couldn’t, and the effort went completely downhill from the get go. Kennedy sent a message to his starters by giving walk-ons double digit minutes for the game, mostly in the second half. It was apparently a reaction to the in-game effort plus a bad week of practice. Kennedy apologized to the fans after the game.
"“I want to apologize to our fans, and the 12th Man. I thought our effort was obviously poor. I don’t want to take anything away from Missouri, I thought Missouri, defensively, was very hard to score against; they disrupted us, but obviously I’ve done a poor job getting our guys to play at the level I think we’re capable of playing.”"
Are you here for this apology, 12th Man? I struggle with it. As much as I respect Kennedy for how much talent he brought in for the previous three-four seasons, this season makes me look back and wonder if even those teams didn’t ascend as high as they should have.
The Aggies had plenty of talent to be their first Elite 8 team in history when they won the SEC regular season championship in 2015-16. They squeaked by Northern Iowa with a remarkeable come-from-behind victory to get to the Sweet 16, but were blown off the floor by Oklahoma.
They underachieved in 2017-18 with a lottery pick and at least two players who’ve been given a shot at the professional level, making their road to the Elite 8 or Final Four much harder as a No. 7 seed and were blown off the floor by Michigan.
If there was something you couldn’t say about Kennedy’s teams is they lack effort. That’s probably why the 23-point loss is so difficult to swallow. Even he admits he didn’t get the team ready for the game, and maybe that’s the sign Scott Woodward needs to make a change.
It’s one thing if a player or two get out of sync with a coach and his voice falls on their deaf ears. It’s quite another when most of the team stops buying in. It feels like it’s time for a change.