The fact that the only prior meeting occurred in the NCAA Tournament isn't the only commonality with Saturday afternoon's match-up. That game was also held close to one of the team's campus, but it was Texas A&M that had the benefit of close proximity in 1980 - this time it is Louisville that will have a home crowd atmosphere.
The common thread continues. In 1980 it was the Cardinals that boasted of having a consensus All-American guard in Darrell Griffith. Now it's Texas A&M that is led by an All-American, guard Acie Law IV. In 1980 it was Louisville that was among the nation's leaders in multiple team statistical categories, while in 2007 the Aggies rank in the top ten in six different categories.
Denny Crum, a young, game-changing coach, directed U of L from the sidelines in the prior meeting, while Billy Gillispie has transformed a team that went 0-16 in Big 12 the year prior to his arrival to one that finished the season ranked 9th in the nation.
Prior to last season's win against Syracuse, A&M's last NCAA Tournament win came in 1980, when the sixth-seeded Aggies beat No. 3 seed North Carolina, 78-61, in double overtime in Denton, Texas. A&M then fell in the Midwest Regional finals to eventual national champion Louisville, 66-55, in overtime.
Texas A&M Notebook:
Click the link below for selected images from Texas A&M's win over Penn on Thursday afternoon.
Just a few minutes following his team's NCAA first-round victory over Penn, Texas A&M head coach Billy Gillispie commented on facing Louisville next...
"I haven't seen them play much. I saw them play a little bit today and totally impressed. As far as Coach Pitino, he's been one of the guys that I've watched and studied for a long, long time. I have great respect for him, as a fan. As a young, inexperienced coach, I try and [learn] how to coach the game. I've probably got all the tapes he ever made, and he made several. I've watched all his teams play. I'm a big fan of the way he goes about coaching and winning and everything. This particular team I've watched a little bit and I know quite a few of their players, personnel-wise. And they're great. I was very surprised, when you put the pencil to it, or whatever, and you're thinking, ‘Well, this team is going to be this seed or that seed.' I think everyone was pretty shocked when they were considered to be a six seed. I thought they were a three or a four, at the absolute worst. [They are] a really, really, really good team, great coach. It ought to be a very, very difficult challenge for us on Saturday. But we're glad to be playing them; because that means that we advanced."
|1||Acie Law IV||17.9||3.2||All-American also averages 5.3 assists per game|
|22||Dominique Kirk||6.5||3.2||Big 12 All-Defensive Squad selection|
|23||Josh Carter||12.6||4.0||Leads the nation in 3pt accuracy (.516)|
|30||Joseph Jones||13.4||6.6||Had 14 pts, 11 rbds in win over Penn|
|44||Antanas Kavaliauskas||12.3||6.5||Big 12 All-Improved selection|
|3||Derrick Roland||0.9||1.1||Averages 6 minutes per game|
|5||Bryson Graham||1.4||0.2||Has appeared in 10 games this season|
|15||Donald Sloan||5.3||1.9||Freshman plays more than 17 minutes per game|
|20||Logan Lee||0.7||0.3||Plays an average of 5 minutes per game|
|32||Beau Muhlbach||1.1||0.8||Arizona transfer sees limited action|
|34||Bryan Davis||2.0||2.8||2 pts, 2rbds against Penn on Thursday|
|41||Chinemelu Elonu||1.9||2.0||Redshirt freshman plays an average of 5 minutes a game|
|42||Marlon Pompey||3.6||2.6||Played 22 minutes against Penn|
|12||Brian Blackburn||0.4||0.1||Has played in 7 games|
|14||Josh Johnston||0.6||0.3||Has seen action in 8 games this season|
|31||Chris Chapman||0.0||0.0||Plays sparingly|
|40||Slade Weishuhn||0.3||0.1||Has played in 8 games this season|