Instant reaction: Texas A&M basketball falls at Tennessee; now needs perfect close

Night is quickly falling for this Texas A&M basketball team, who now needs a miracle to make the NCAA tournament.

Feb 24, 2024; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) moves the
Feb 24, 2024; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Texas A&M Aggies guard Wade Taylor IV (4) moves the / Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
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There's not a whole lot more I feel like I can say about this Texas A&M basketball team that I feel like I haven't already. At some point, you are what you are.

I've given a lot of ifs every time I talk about this team, and I think that has to do with the lack of consistency. The roller coaster of watching Texas A&M basketball in 2023-2024 is enough to make you doubt even the things you are most sure of in the world.

And so, I keep having to hedge with if. If we can keep this level of scoring up from the guard position... If we have figured out how to defend the three-point line... If we can play consistent defense... and on, and on, and on.

It was mentioned tonight that no team with six Quad 1 wins has ever missed the NCAA tournament. That's not exactly the kind of history we envisioned Buzz Williams making when he was hired here. Of course, there's still time for Ohio State to slide down to a Quad 2 game, or something along those lines.

The maddening character of this squad was on full display up in Knoxville tonight. Going down by 8 early on, the Aggies swiftly shot themselves back in the game behind some deep makes by Wade Taylor.

He proceeded to do almost nothing the rest of the night.

Even so, the Aggies kept things close for the rest of the first half. The score was 26-24 Tennessee not long before the first period came to a close—but an 11-3 run made things 37-27 at the break. It didn't take long for the Vols to go up by 20. And then by 30.

It just feels hard to diagnose the problem with this team sometimes. It feels like it changes every single game. Usually, though, it comes down to shooting (less than 30% from the field tonight, by the way). This is just plainly a poor shooting team. Previous Buzz teams have been this way, but those teams were gritty, and consistently played hard. You can't even say that about this squad outside of a couple of players.

This year is just looking more and more like a disaster with each passing game. If the Aggies go undefeated down the stretch, maybe they make a play-in game. Maybe they suddenly catch fire and win the conference tournament. But probably not.

Rather, this is most likely a team that gets bounced in the first round of the NIT. That's painful, but it's seeming more and more like it's true.

The Aggies play again this Wednesday at Reed, against the South Carolina Gamecocks, who in many ways are having the season the Ags should have had. Maybe they can put us out of our basketball misery.

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