Texas A&M Basketball: Keys to beating Xavier in NIT Championship Game

Texas A&M basketball Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M basketball Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Texas A&M basketball team never got an opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament despite having one of the better at-large resumes. That said, they’ve made the most of their NIT Tournament selection, running through every team on their schedule en route to the championship game, where they’ll face off against Xavier.

For obvious reasons, this is a menacing matchup — Xavier has a strong basketball program.

As a result, this game will have a lot of hype built up around it, as both teams are among the hottest in the nation. But what exactly will the Texas A&M basketball team have to do if they want to bring home its first-ever NIT Championship?

These three keys will help the Texas A&M basketball team take down Xavier in the NIT Tournament Championship

1.) Stop Jack Nunge

The toughest part of the game for Texas A&M is undeniable — stopping Jack Nunge. The Iowa transfer has fit in perfectly at Xavier, quickly becoming their go-to guy in the 2021-22 season.

At 7’0″, Nunge is used to towering over every player on the court. Against Texas A&M, this trend should continue, as the Aggies’ tallest player to receive more than seven minutes per game is 6’8″. A&M may not be able to completely stop him, so they’ll have to attempt to use Henry Coleman’s defensive power to slow Nunge down.

Buzz Williams could try to match Nunge’s height with A&M’s own seven-footer in Javonte Brown but it’s hard to see him making that jump for matchup purposes.

2.) Stop the flow of offense

The Texas A&M basketball team does not have an elite offense of its own — instead, the Aggies play disruptive defense and generally don’t need to score a plethora of points to win. They’ll look to do the same against Xavier.

The tough part here is that the Muskateers move the ball very well. Xavier ranks 45th in the country with 14.8 assists per game. They don’t turn the ball over much either with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.26.

A&M will need to disrupt the flow of Xavier’s offense if they want a chance to win this game.

3.) Feed Quenton Jackson

Aggie fans know this better than anybody — Quenton Jackson needs to have a strong game if the Aggies want to secure a win in the NIT Championship Game.

In games where Jackson scores at least 15 points, the Aggies are 14-3 on the season. That puts them at a much less desirable 13-9 when Jackson scores fewer than 15 points. In the Aggies’ eight-game losing streak, Jackson only scored 15 or more on two occasions.

Quenton Jackson will be an NBA Draft steal. dark. Next

Much like he has been throughout the tournament, the Aggie point guard will have to be the player of the game here.