And then there were three

With a 44-point win, the Aggies keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive--while possibly ending Texas Tech's. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at the NCAA Tournament resumes of A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma, along with predictions for the remaining week and a half of Big 12 Conference play.

The Aggies' NCAA Tournament hopes live to see another day after an incredibly impressive 98-54 win against Texas Tech, which also pretty much killed any chance that Texas Tech had of reaching the Big Dance this year.

The final score may have come as a surprise to just about everyone, but Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight said afterwards he wasn't surprised to see a resurgent Texas A&M team.

"(Texas A&M) is one of the better teams in our league that just hit a bad spot like we did last year," said Knight, after falling to 3-4 as head coach of the Red Raiders. "I kept stressing to our guys that we had to get out to a good start. (A&M had) lost three in a row and if we can jump on them, they're thinking, "here we go again,' we could have messed with their minds a little bit.

"This is a really good team. You can look at the really good conferences and some really good teams will hit a dry spell. Who knows what the reason is, but you know they're dangerous. It was only a matter of time before they got back on their feet. It was unfortunate it happened tonight. I think you're going to see some pretty good things from Coach Turgeon's team from here on out."

Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon hopes that the new head coach and son of legendary head coach Bob Knight knows what he's talking about, or his school-record 21-7 start for a first-year head coach will all be for naught.

After three straight losses, the Aggies were heading into Wednesday nights game in a do-or-die situation and they came through. What started with a players-only meeting on Sunday night, ended with a change in attitude and a 44-point drubbing of in-state rival.

On Monday, Turgeon told the team that the guys who defend the best during practice the next two days were going to get a chance to play and they responded by playing well on both ends of the court.

"We changed our attitudes," Turgeon said. "We changed some things offensively and we played with a deeper bench, and it made us more of a team. It seems like a month since we won, but more importantly than winning, we needed to play well," Turgeon said. "Offensively, we were good most of the night. Once we got our defense going we were pretty good. I'm proud of our guys."

But Turgeon also knows that his team still has a lot of work to do in order to be invited to the NCAA Tournament for a third-straight year—something that's never happened in Texas A&M basketball history.

"It's just one night, but it's a start," Turgeon said. "We need to go on the road and play well Saturday."

That might be the understatement of the year from Turgeon, who showed a totally different side of himself in Wednesday night's win, running up and down the bench, jumping up and down, barking out orders to the Aggies all night.

The Aggies are in another must-win situation against Oklahoma on Saturday, followed by another must-win situation on Wednesday against Baylor. Here's a look at where these three teams stand heading into the final three games of the season, along with what they need to do and predicted finishes in each game.

Baylor (19-8, 7-6) – No. 33 RPI

The Bears have won two in a row after losing six of their last seven and are trying to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years. They've probably got the easiest remaining schedule among the three Big 12 teams still looking for an at-large bid as well. The Bears have got home games against Missouri and Texas A&M and will go to Lubbock to face Texas Tech in the season finale. But after a 44-point disaster against A&M, the Red Raiders face Texas at home on Saturday (who beat the Tech 73-47 in Austin this year) and then travel to Kansas two days later for probable back-to-back beat downs. Don't think they'll have much fight left in them for next Saturday's game against Baylor in Lubbock with the Bears in a position to finish 9-7 or 10-6. But the game to watch on Baylor's calendar is next Wednesday's game against Texas A&M, which is setting up as the biggest game in Scott Drew's young coaching career.

Remaining Schedule:
March 1 - Missouri (15-13, 5-8) 3pm - ESPN Plus
March 5 - Texas A&M (21-7, 7-6) 8pm - ESPN2
March 8 - @ Texas Tech (15-12, 6-7) 12:30pm - ESPN Plus
Remaining opponents' combined record: (51-32, 18-21)
Quality wins (vs. top-50 RPI teams): Notre Dame (No. 21 RPI), Kansas State (42), Texas A&M (43)
Remaining game against Top-50 RPI teams: Texas A&M (43)
Prediction: Baylor beats Missouri and Texas Tech but falls at home in a heart-breaker (payback by the Aggies) to Texas A&M and finishes (20-9, 9-7).

Texas A&M (21-7, 7-6) – No. 43 RPI

The Aggies rose from the proverbial dead on Wednesday night in the 44-point pounding of Texas Tech. The question now is, can Turgeon and the Aggies consistently play that way for the next three games. They've been sporadic on the road, and they have zero room for error in back-to-back road games against Oklahoma and Baylor. The trip to Waco on Wednesday night will be an especially hostile environment as Baylor fans try to make it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 20 years. It's a big test for Turgeon and the Aggies, but if they play like they did on Wednesday night, they could get hot heading into postseason play.

Remaining Schedule:
March 1 - @ Oklahoma (18-10, 6-7) 1pm ESPN
March 5 - @ Baylor (19-8, 7-6) 8pm - ESPN2
March 8 - Kansas (25-3, 10-3) 3pm - CBS
Remaining opponents' combined record: (62-21, 23-16)
Quality wins: Texas (4), Oklahoma (31), Ohio State (50)
Remaining games against Top-50 RPI teams: @ Oklahoma (31), @ Baylor (33), Kansas (8)
Prediction: Texas A&M continues it's aggressive style of defense to finish the season and beats Oklahoma and Baylor on the road. But I just don't think they have the firepower to beat Kansas. Aggies finish (23-8, 9-7).

Oklahoma (18-10, 6-7) – No. 31 RPI

The Sooners need to win on Saturday to avoid being swept by Texas A&M for the season and holding the trump card over Baylor with a season sweep of their own. If A&M beats Oklahoma, it will give A&M a season sweep over Oklahoma and Oklahoma a sweep over Texas A&M, with the Aggies playing in Waco trying to avoid the sweep by the Bears. If Oklahoma can hold serve against the Aggies at home this weekend, they would finish the season with a split against the Aggies and a sweep over Baylor, which has to look good in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament committee. Of the three teams vying for NCAA Tournament berths, OU is currently the highest rated team in terms of RPI as well, so they may have the inside track. However, Wednesday night's loss to No. 93 Nebraska may sting a bit if they are unable to knock off Texas A&M at home this weekend.

Remaining Schedule:
Texas A&M (21-7, 7-6) ESPN
@ Oklahoma State (15-12, 6-7) ESPN Plus
Missouri (15-13, 5-8) ABC
Remaining opponents' combined record: (51-32, 18-21)
Quality wins: Baylor (33) twice, Gonzaga (35), Arkansas (45), USC (No. 39)
Remaining game against Top-50 RPI teams: Texas A&M (43)
Prediction: Oklahoma loses to Texas A&M but beats Oklahoma State and Missouri to finish (20-11, 8-8)

Texas Tech (15-12, 6-7) – No. 60 RPI

Texas Tech is all but eliminated from NCAA Tournament talk, but in the event the Red Raiders are able to pull off back-to-back miracle wins against Texas and Kansas then knock off Baylor in the season finale, here is a look at their NCAA Tournament resume.

Remaining Schedule:
Texas (24-4, 11-2) CBS
@ Kansas (25-3, 10-3) ESPN
Baylor (19-8, 7-6) ESPN Plus
Remaining opponents' combined record: (68-15, 28-11)
Quality wins: None
Remaining games against Top-50 RPI teams: Texas (4), Kansas (8), Baylor (33)
Prediction: Texas Tech loses out, finishing the year at (15-15, 6-10)




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