Aggies' Magic Numbers

Throughout the conference season, it would not be a stretch to think of the A&M team being affected by some strange form of magic. Some nights, the Aggies looked charmed, with every shot falling and each player entering into a trance-like rhythm to cruise to an easy victory. Other nights, Texas A&M looked cursed to be mediocre, and fell to teams with lesser talent in an often embarrassing fashion.

While fickle rabbit's feet and Donald Sloan voodoo dolls could be one explanation, Aggie Websider attempts to find the magic in the stats, and pinpoints the top five magic numbers to look for that should indicate an A&M victory in the tournament.

To try and make sense of the Aggies Jekyll and Hyde, 8-8 conference record, the stats were taken from all the Big 12 games, separated by wins and losses, and ordered to find the key differences in the stats, as well as the "magic number", or the point past which A&M normally pulls out a victory.

For the simplicity of reviewing this, we threw out A&M and Baylor's five OT game in College Station. While this game would have been very useful in determining the points-by-guards-named-Jerrells to win ratio, it would have skewed everything else, and, short of some kind of reverse Rapture in the NCAA West Region, this stat would do us little good for future matchups anyways. Without further adieu, this is A&M's five magic numbers, the omens of Aggie wins.

#5 - Team Turnovers

Avg. TO in wins: 10.38
Avg. TO in losses: 14.57

This first one should be obvious to anyone who has watched the Aggies in conference this year. Nothing has stopped more runs by A&M or extended the other teams' then a lazy pass, careless dribble, or miscommunication that ultimately leads to a steal and two quick points for the other team.

Aggie Magic Number for Turnovers: 12

Record below magic number: 5-1
Record above magic number: 2-5
Record at magic number: 1-1

#4 - Field Goal Percentage from the SF Position

Avg. FG% in wins: 47.6%
Avg. FG% in losses: 33.5%

As A&M is traveling down the court to set up their offense, you could pause the game and circle where everyone on the team will end up. Sloan and Kirk will start near the top of the key, their focus on starting the motion offense. Our 2 big men will set up shop on the blocks, fighting for position or getting ready to flash or set a pick. Finally, it is the 3 guard's responsibility to be the threat from the wing, able to consistently hit the three from the corner off a screen, or dribble and sink the mid-range jumper.

Unfortunately, A&M at times has been unable to get the production from this man, which normally results in an Aggie loss. Whether Carter or Muhlbach, the small forward on the court must have a hot hand to ensure victory.

Aggie Magic Number for SF FG%: 41.7%

Record above magic number: 6-1
Record below magic number: 1-5
Record at magic number: 1-1

#3 - Points from Dominique Kirk

Avg. points in wins: 10.63
Avg. points in losses: 5.86

Largely overshadowed by the production inconsistencies of Josh Carter, Kirk's point total is nevertheless a sign of A&M's current confidence in their offensive abilities. In times where the Aggie O become stagnant, Kirk seems to become unwilling to take the confident shot, unfortunate since he is over 40% on the year from behind the arc. When Kirk is taking more shots the Aggies are almost invariably better, and for them to go far in the tournament Kirk will have to cap off his senior year with some high scoring performances.

Aggie Magic Number of Kirk Points: 9

Record above magic number: 4-1
Record below magic number: 2-5
Record at magic number: 2-1

#2 – Points in the Paint

Avg. points in wins: 29.38
Avg. points in losses: 19.14

This stat may be surprising, since at times it seems that the only consistent area on the Aggie team is their ability to pass the ball inside and get solid looks and points. This is mainly due to Joseph Jones, the overly dependable senior who has scored between 10 and 14 points in 13 of his last 20 regular season games. However, the fact still remains, when Texas A&M wins, they control the inside as a team.

Aggie Magic Number of Paint Points: 23

Record above magic number: 6-0
Record below magic number: 2-7

#1 – Rebounding Advantage

Avg. rebound differential in wins: +10.5
Avg. rebound differential in losses: -1.1

To some this may be only slightly less obvious of a stat than if the number one magic number was "total point differential". However, the difference in the way A&M controls the boards between wins and losses is startling, and for the Aggies to stand a chance against big teams like BYU and UCLA, they must limit second chance shots and easy put backs.

A&M has not won a conference game all year with a rebounding advantage of less than seven, and that number might need to be even higher if the Aggies move on against the interior presence of freshmen star Kevin Love in round two.

Aggie Magic Number of Rebounding Differential: +6

Record above magic number: 8-1
Record below magic number: 0-6

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