A&M is now top hoops program in Texas

In just four short years, the Aggies have emerged as the top program in the state of Texas. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at just how far the Aggies have come.

Texas A&M is known for its rich traditions and sometimes mythical past. Typically, any changes around the A&M take an act of Congress, an act of God or in most recent history, an act of Robert Gates.

But there's been plenty of welcomed change in Reed Arena over the past four years, and during that span, Aggie basketball has surpassed Texas as the premier basketball program in the state.

Some feared that the Aggies would return to the Big 12 basement when former head coach Billy Gillispie left for Kentucky after last year's Sweet 16 appearance. But A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne just went out and hired Mark Turgeon from Wichita State, and the first-year head coach has already shown that the Aggies aren't going anywhere.

But four years ago, the Aggies were on their way to finishing 0-16 in Big 12 conference play (0-17 if you count the Big 12 Tournament), and were underdogs in every single Big 12 game.

Four years ago, they had one nationally televised game all season, but that was only because of the Big 12 Conference television contract.

Four years ago, A&M lost back to back games to Oakland (five points if you knew Oakland is not located in California) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Four years ago, freshman All-American DeAndre Jordan probably didn't know that Texas A&M even had basketball program, much less thoughts of wearing the maroon and white.

Four years ago, A&M's average attendance was less than half of Reed Arena's capacity of 12,500. The word "sellout" was not yet part of the vocabulary in the ticket office, and a student "lottery" probably would have been referred to as "the draft"—randomly selecting students who were forced to attend the games.

Four years ago, Reed Arena resembled the basement of a hospital. It was a sterile environment that was made even worse by the plethora of empty seats. The only thing worse than those empty seats was the "dancing spoonmen" during the Aggie War Hymn on the scoreboard at the west end of the arena.

But those days are over.

This season, the Aggies are off to a 15-1 start—their best start since 1921-22—and will most likely be favored in 15 of their 16 Big 12 games this spring.

This season, the Aggies are guaranteed 15 nationally televised regular season games. Texas is only guaranteed 14 and national title contender Kansas edged the Aggies with 16 nationally televised games this year.

This season, the Aggies have remained unbeaten at home and have the best home winning percentage in the nation over the last four years.

This season, DeAndre Jordan is wearing the maroon and white, and wearing it quite well, leading the nation in field goal percentage and making an appearance as the No. 2 play on SportsCenter's Top Plays segment for an incredible gravity-defying put back against Colorado.

This season, A&M will sell out every Big 12 home game, and students are forced to register days in advance for a chance to attend the games. With an additional 300 seats added to the west end of the arena, attendance records will fall on a weekly basis this spring.

This season, the game day production at Reed Arena is unmatched by any team in the Big 12. With four crystal clear wide screen display video boards, LCD boards on the court and ribbon boards around the arena, the days of the "West Campus ER" are officially gone.

Four years ago, it was about change, but this season it's about tradition. The Aggies are the cream of the crop in the state of Texas, and with Turgeon at the helm, that's one thing that shouldn't change anytime soon.

Aggie Digest Top Stories