Texas A&M Basketball Blows Out Volunteers; Are The Aggies Locks for the Big Dance?
Last night's game for Texas A&M basketball was, without a doubt, the biggest win of the season. That title was previously held by the overtime win vs Kentucky, but recent results from the Wildcats have made that look less impressive in recent times. Tennessee, on the other hand, is still the 6th-ranked team in the NET rankings, so a double-digit win is—and will likely remain—a huge feather in the cap for the Aggies.
Is that enough, though, to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament? After the way things have gone in the previous few years for the Aggies, that's a tricky proposition.
The good news is that the Aggies, after the game last night, have moved up in the NET rankings to 38th—they were previously 47th. A nine-point jump after one game this late in the season is no small feat. The bad news, though, is that they're still far enough down in the NET that a couple of unfavorable results could cause them to tumble back down into bubble territory—an area that, per Joe Lunardi, they are out of for the moment.
The remaining schedule for the Aggies presents some opportunity. They face three Quad 1 games between now and the end of the season. One—a game on the road vs NET 58 Ole Miss—is right on the cut line between Q1 and Q2, while the other two are road contests vs NET 5 Alabama and the same Tennessee team that they just faced—who will doubtless be looking for some revenge.
Texas A&M basketball sits at 5-4 in Q1 games at the moment. No one has more Q1 wins than the Aggies, and if they are able to go 1-2 in the three remaining games that fall in this category, they'll be in good shape. The win over Florida could end up moving into this category as well, as the Gators—one of the nation's hotter teams—are right on the line for being considered a Q1 win.
They also face three Q2 games: home contests vs NET 44 South Carolina and NET 35 Mississippi State, as well as a road game vs NET 94 Georgia. The Aggies are currently at 3-2 in Q2 games, and I think a 5-3 record there would look a lot different than a 4-4 record. They have to go 2-1 there.
The Q3 results are the Achilles heel for the Aggies' tournament case at the moment. A paltry .500 record at 2-2 does not exactly recommend great confidence in the Ags' quality. They have two more games in this category (home vs. Arkansas and Tuesday's game at Vandy), and desperately need to go 2-0 to detract from this talking point.
So that's about it. A 5-3 record down the stretch should rubber stamp the Aggies to have their name called on Selection Sunday, in my book. That's not even considering Tournament results, which could still further build up the case for Texas A&M basketball. I think this squad can manage that mark, as it seems they are decidedly on the upswing in this latter part of the season.