Three keys for Texas A&M basketball to pull off the March Madness upset of a lifetime

Here are three areas for Texas A&M basketball fans to track closely in tonight's huge matchup.

Dec 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies forward Henry Coleman III (15) and Houston
Dec 16, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies forward Henry Coleman III (15) and Houston / Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
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Three keys for Texas A&M basketball to knock off the Houston Cougars in March Madness

Game day is finally here for Texas A&M basketball. The matchup that most Aggie fans have been watching out of the corner of their eyes ever since the bracket was announced has come to pass, with the Aggies facing off against the Houston Cougars tonight.

The Cougars have ridden a top-shelf defensive unit to a lofty ranking throughout the course of the year. Their toughness and physicality, combined with their individual on-ball prowess, has been too much for most teams to handle.

Of course, the Aggies faced off against the Cougars earlier this year. In that matchup, the prodigious defensive talent was not enough to prevent Wade Taylor from absolutely lighting up Houston to the tune of 34 points. Oh, and the Aggies didn't even have Tyrece Radford in that four-point loss—and they may as well have not had Manny Obaseki, given his transformation from then until now.

This is a huge opportunity for the Aggies. This is a matchup they can win. To do so, though, they need to prevail in three key areas.

Keys for a Texas A&M basketball victory: Crashing the offensive glass

For however dominant the Cougars have been in a lot of areas, they are a weak defensive rebounding team. They rank a lowly 285th in defensive rebounds per game. This seemingly pitiful ranking, of course, should be tempered by the note that defensive rebounding is predicated on a team actually shooting the ball, so a team that forces as many turnovers as Houston will have this number artificially deflated. Still, though, this is an area that the Aggies must exploit against Kelvin Sampson's squad.

Of course, this aligns well with one of the foremost strengths of the Aggies: their offensive rebounding. They are absolute monsters on the glass following missed shots. This is an area where they didn't take advantage of the Cougars in the previous matchup. If Andersson Garcia can follow up his poor performance in Friday's game with a huge game on the glass against the Cougars, you have to feel great about A&M's chances.