For the last three years, the Texas-Texas A&M basketball game has meant more than the annual football contest, and once again, the two teams will both be ranked for tonight's nationally televised match up at Reed Arena.
The biggest difference this year around? Billy Gillispie will not be raising his hands on the A&M bench as students rush the court after any last-second heroics. Instead, Mark Turgeon will try to keep the tradition alive, as the Aggies have won three straight at Reed Arena against the Longhorns.
"A&M's rise the last three years has made this a national game," Turgeon said. "The game in Austin last year was a heck of a game and was fun to watch as a fan. I'm excited. We're playing against a really good team and a coach that I've known for a long time."
Turgeon may meet someone else that he's going to know for a long time tomorrow night—Texas point guard D.J. Augustin.
Augustin is the heart and soul of the Longhorns squad this year and makes the wheels turn for Texas. Without him, A.J. Abrams wouldn't be averaging nearly 18 points per game and Connor Atchley wouldn't be shooting 55 percent from three-point range.
"I don't know who's better at the point than him," Turgeon said. "There are a lot of good ones out there, but he's pretty darn good. Is there an ideal answer (to neutralize him)? No. You just hope you guess right. He's fast enough to go by anybody and then when you have a jump shot to go with it, it's tough to guard."
The Aggies will try to keep Augustin out of the paint, but with a 48 percent field goal percentage, that's not likely to keep him from scoring points. Through Saturday's game against Texas Tech, Augustin is averaging 20.7 points and 5.9 assists per game.
"You've got to try to make him shoot jump shots and keep him out of the paint as best you can," Turgeon said. "Instead of letting him in 20-25 times, maybe you can get him in there 10-12 times, then you hope he misses jump shots and keep him off the foul line."
Turgeon is also afraid that the All-American candidate will also cause problems for the Aggies' rebounding abilities much like Baylor.
"You're always off kilter (when you're worried about guards)," Turgeon said. "The reason Baylor outrebounded us was because we were out chasing around their guards. He makes them a better rebounding team too. He makes guys better, that's what good point guards do."
But Augustin does all that and more.
"I think DJ is definitely in control of the game offensively," Turgeon said. "He knows when to score, he knows when to get the ball to his guy. He's smart on top of talented. That's a good recipe."
Turgeon is hoping that the Aggies' defense can cook up a recipe of their own to slow down Augustin enough to earn their fourth straight win at home against the Longhorns.
"Our backs are kind of against the wall," Turgeon said. "It's a big game because it means a lot to the people around here. Our players know it our coaches know it. I'm looking forward to an outstanding atmosphere on Wed night."
• Donald Sloan will probably be assigned to try and slow down Augustin as best he can to start the game, but he knows he'll also need help from his teammates. "He is one of their key players, if not the key player," Sloan said. "It's a tough match up but I know I have help with D Ro (Derrick Roland) and our big men. He comes off a lot of ball screens so I know I'll need that help from our big men."
• Turgeon met Rick Barnes at one of John Calipari's camps eight or nine years ago. Barnes spoke to the coaches in attendance at the camp and Turgeon remembered Barnes being a big Larry Brown fan—which makes two of them. Turgeon played for Larry Brown at Kansas.
• Texas is one of five schools in the nation to have a pair of candidates on the 30-player list of Naismith Award candidates (A.J. Abrams and D.J. Augustin).
• Donald Sloan said that he believes Texas' guards may get preferential treatment by the referees. "I know they're going to get calls because they're premier guards and all this, when you've got a guy that's a candidate for Player of the Year? Why not?" Sloan said. "But if we come out as a team and play defense as a team, we'll be able to handle anything they throw at us." He added that all of the talk surrounding the Texas guards gives the Aggies' a bit of a chip on their shoulder.
Aggies hope to 'slow down' Augustin
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