A&M vs. Colorado Basketball Preview

The Aggies must take the road on Wednesday to fight to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive. Texas A&M must make sure and take care of business against Colorado to continue to impress the selection committee, and here is a preview of tonight's game.

Texas A&M Aggies (21-8, 7-7 Big 12)
vs. Colorado Buffaloes (9-19, 1-13 Big 12)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
8:05 p.m. (CST)/7:05 p.m. (MST)
Boulder, Colo.
Coors Events/Conference Center (11,064 cap.)

Record: 21-8 (7-7 Big 12)
Ranking/RPI (SOS): Unranked / 35 (39)
Last Game: Beat Iowa State (87-69) at home on Saturday
Current Streak: Won four straight
Head Coach: Mark Turgeon (Kansas ‘87)
Record: 199-138 (11th year)
at Texas A&M: 46-19 (2nd year)
vs. Colorado: 1-0

Donald Sloan – Jr. (11.1ppg, 3.6rpg)
Derrick Roland - Jr. (5.9ppg, 2.7rpg)
Josh Carter – Sr. (13.9ppg, 4.3rpg)
Bryan Davis – Jr. (10.4ppg, 6.2rpg)
Chinemelu Elonu – Jr. (10.4ppg, 7.6rpg)

Record: 9-19 (1-13 Big 12)
Ranking/RPI (SOS): unranked / 228 (78)
Last Game: Lost at Baylor (75-57) on Saturday
Current Streak: Lost nine straight
Head Coach: Jeff Bzdelik (Illinois-Chicago ‘76)
Record: 96-86 (6th year)
at Colorado: 21-39 (2nd year)
vs. Texas A&M: 0-1

Nate Tomlinson – Fr. (7.5ppg, 2.8apg)
Cory Higgins – So. (17.3ppg, 5.6rpg)
Dwight Thorne II – Jr. (12.3ppg, 3.2rpg)
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson – Sr. (5.5ppg, 3.9rpg)
Austin Dufault – Fr. (8.8ppg, 3.9rpg)

Series Notes

Ø Colorado leads, 9-6, but A&M has won five straight since a 76-70 Buffaloes victory in College Station in 2004.

Ø Colorado has a 4-2 edge in games played in Boulder (all at the Coors Center), but A&M has won two straight -- a 92-77 win in 2005 and an 87-69 victory in 2007.

Ø The Aggies beat the Buffaloes, 86-69, last year in College Station in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Key Game Notes

Ø The Aggies have won four straight and are coming off an 87-69 victory against Iowa State at home on Saturday.

Ø Colorado has lost nine straight and is coming off a 75-57 loss at Baylor on Saturday.

Ø The Aggies are 4-5 in true road games, including a 2-5 mark in Big 12 play, but have won two straight. The Buffaloes are 8-8 at home, with an 1-6 record in conference play.

Ø Josh Carter will make his 100th career start on Wednesday.

Ø A win would hand Mark Turgeon the 200th victory of his coaching career. Turgeon is 199-138 in his 11th year as a college head coach. He is 46-19 at A&M, matching the best start in A&M history and the second-best start in Big 12 history. Kansas' Bill Self started with a 48-17 mark after 65 games in 2003-06. Billy Gillispie was 46-19 at A&M in 2004-07)

Tough Competition

Ø A&M's RPI is 35. The Aggies' schedule is rated as the 37th-toughest in the nation.

Ø A&M has beaten four teams ranked in the top 40 in the RPI. Of the eight losses, four have been against top-40 teams. A&M has not lost a game to a team outside the top 75.

Ø A&M's last three losses were decided in the final minute, including road games at Oklahoma and Baylor. The Aggies took the Sooners to the final minute in both meetings this season.

Ø The Aggies have defeated three teams that have been ranked in the national polls at some point this season -- Texas, LSU and Baylor.

Ø In non-conference play, A&M defeated two top-50 teams in Arizona (47 RPI) and No. 18-ranked LSU (25 RPI). The only loss was to Tulsa (62 RPI) at a neutral site. The lowest ranked team to beat the Aggies has been Kansas State (73 RPI).

About Colorado

Ø The Buffaloes are in their second season under Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik.

Ø Colorado finished 12-20 last year and placed 12th in the Big 12 with a 3-13 mark.

Ø The Buffaloes' lone Big 12 victory was against Iowa State (55-49) on Jan. 27 in Boulder. They have dropped overtime games at home to two upper division Big 12 teams, losing to Kansas State (77-75) and Texas (85-76). Six of their Big 12 losses were decided by five points or less, or in overtime.

Ø Sophomore guard Cory Higgins (6-5) ranks fifth in the Big 12 in scoring (17.3) and second in free throw percentage (.833). Junior guard Dwight Thorne II (6-3) adds 12.3 points and ranks third in the league in three-point percentage (.439) in league play. Thorne is a cousin of former A&M All-American Acie Law IV.

Ø Colorado ranks second in the Big 12 in free throw accuracy, making 72.9 percent.

Last Time They Met

COLLEGE STATION (AP, Jan. 12, 2008) -- Dominique Kirk scored 15 points and freshman DeAndre Jordan added 14 as the 11th-ranked Aggies got their eighth straight win by defeating Colorado, 86-69. A&M coach Mark Turgeon was unhappy that Colorado shot 62 percent from the field, a figure bolstered by a 77 percent effort in the second half. The only time the Aggies (15-1, 1-0) trailed in this one was when a 3 by Cory Higgins made it 3-0 in the opening minute. They led by 15 points at halftime and had built their lead to 61-42 after a layup by Bryan Davis about eight minutes into the second half. Higgins had 15 points for the Buffaloes and Xavier Silas and Richard Roby added 14 apiece. Colorado had trouble defending A&M's balanced scoring attack, which featured six players in double figures. Along with Jordan and Kirk, Davis, Josh Carter, Joseph Jones and Donald Sloan all scored at least 10 points.

Last Time in Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. (AP, Jan. 13, 2007) - Acie Law IV scored 21 points to lead No. 8-ranked Texas A&M to an 87-69 victory against Colorado. The Aggies (15-2, 3-0 Big 12) were led by Joseph Jones, who scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds. Josh Carter scored 19 - including five 3-pointers - before fouling out late. Antanas Kavaliauskas finished with 15 points. Colorado (4-9, 0-3) was led by Dominique Coleman with 17 points. He also had a career-best 13 rebounds. Richard Roby, who came in averaging 25 points in Big 12 play, scored 11. Jermyl Jackson-Wilson, who sustained a mild concussion against Oklahoma earlier this week, finished with 13 points.

Iowa State Recap

COLLEGE STATION (AP) - Josh Carter had seven 3-pointers and a career-high 29 points to lead Texas A&M to an 87-69 win over Iowa State on Saturday. The win is A&M's fourth straight and Iowa State's 15th consecutive Big 12 road loss. The Aggies used a 14-4 run in the opening minutes of the second half to stretch a seven-point lead into a a 58-41 advantage. A&M (21-8, 7-7 Big 12) made five 3-pointers in the next six minutes to push the lead to 73-46 with about nine minutes left. Carter was 7-of-10 from 3-point range and finished just one shy of his career-high of eight 3s. Chinemelu Elonu added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies, his ninth double-double of the year. Iowa State (14-15, 3-11) was led by Craig Brackins who had 20 points. "My teammates set up some great looks for me, and that enabled me to make some shots," Carter said. "I am more aggressive right now than I have been. I am taking shots that I wasn't taking previously. There is a thin line between winning and losing, and we have been on both sides this season. When we were on our losing streak, I knew I was going to have to step up and start playing better." The Aggies made 52.5 percent from the field, their best since a win over Kent State in last November. A&M dominated inside, scoring 32 points in the paint and posting a 38-24 rebounding margin.

Hoops Success

Ø A&M has posted its fifth straight 20-win season. Before the 2004-05 season, A&M had only six 20-win seasons in its entire history.

Ø A&M, Kansas and Texas are the only three Big 12 schools that have won at least 20 games in each of the last five years. Only 23 schools in the nation won at least 20 games in each of the previous four seasons.

Ø A&M is looking for its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Prior to this streak, A&M had never made consecutive NCAA appearances. Including the 2005 NIT, A&M has advanced to postseason play four straight years.

Ø A&M is 4-3 NCAA Tournament play in the last three years. Prior to that, A&M was just 3-7 in NCAA Tournament games in its history.

Ø A&M's three NCAA losses in the last three years were by an average of 1.7 points with each game decided in the final 10 seconds.

Ø A&M is one of just eight schools that have advanced past the first round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons.

Ø A&M is the only Big 12 school -- and one of just four schools nationally -- to win at least one postseason game in each of the last four seasons (1 NIT/3 NCAA Tournaments). The others are North Carolina (4 NCAAs), Georgetown (1 NIT/3 NCAAs) and Memphis (1 NIT/3 NCAAs).

Home Court Advantage

Ø A&M has won 56 of its last 63 home games, including 21 of its last 28 in Big 12 play.

Ø The Aggies are 15-2 at home this season, their fifth straight season with at least 15 home victories.

Ø The Aggies have won 56 straight regular-season non-conference games at Reed Arena, including wins against Arizona, Alabama and LSU. The last loss was to A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 13, 2003 (82-80). A&M is 77-9 all-time in non-conference games at Reed (.895).

Ø The Aggies are 49-6 (.890) at home the last three seasons and are 82-12 (.872) in the last five years, the second most home wins in the country (Memphis has won 88).

Ø A&M is 122-53 (.697) in its 11th season at Reed Arena. The Aggies were 41-41 (.500) in its first six years at Reed.

Ø The $23 million, 68,000-square-foot Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball was officially dedicated on Jan. 17. The addition includes practice gyms, locker rooms, film rooms, a weight room, training facilities and offices.

Ø Reed Arena is in its 11th season as the home of Texas A&M basketball. The 12,500-seat facility opened in 1998 and was named for Houston veterinarian Chester J. Reed '47 and his wife, Billie Jean, who contributed the nucleus of the assets used to fund the facility.

Ø The top 14 single-game attendance marks in A&M history (and 18 of the top 20) have been set in the last four years. The top 14 non-conference attendance marks also have been set in the last four seasons.

Ø A&M is averaging 10,728 fans per game in Big 12 play this season.

Academic Success

Ø When the NCAA adopted the Academic Progress Rate (APR) as its standard for measuring the academic success of its member schools in 2004, Texas A&M did not meet the minimum score of 925 and lost a scholarship for the 2004-05 season. The program's APR for 2007-08 improved to a perfect score of 1,000.

Ø All nine Aggies seniors have graduated in the last two seasons and seniors Josh Carter and Bryson Graham are on schedule to graduate this year.

NBA Presence

Ø A&M has produced three NBA Draft picks in the last four years. , including first round choices Acie Law IV (2007, Atlanta Hawks) and Antoine Wright (2005, New Jersey Nets). DeAndre Jordan was a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008.

Ø Prior to 2005, A&M had not produced an NBA Draft pick since 1987. A&M's never had more than one active NBA player before now.

Ø Law, Wright and Jordan have each started in NBA games this season.

Coach Turgeon

Ø A former player and assistant coach at Kansas, 44-year-old Mark Turgeon is in his second season at Texas A&M. He cut his coaching teeth at Kansas under legends Larry Brown and Roy Williams.

Ø Turgeon's 46-19 record matches the best coaching start in A&M history and the second-best in the Big 12's 13-year history. Kansas' Bill Self was 48-17 after 65 games in 2003-06 and Billy Gillispie was 46-19 at A&M in 2004-07.

Ø Turgeon led the Aggies to a 25-11 record last year, the third most wins in school history. A&M advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, dropping a close 51-49 decision to No. 1-seed UCLA.

Ø Turgeon's 25 wins last season were the most by a Big 12 coach in his debut and tied for the most by a first-year coach in the history of any Big 12 school. Tom Penders went 25-9 in his first year at Texas in 1988-89 prior to the Big 12.

Ø Turgeon has led his teams to at least 21 wins in five of the last six seasons (His WSU team won 19 games in 2006-07). His teams have advanced to postseason play five times in the previous six years. His record in the last six years is 134-63 (.680).

Player Notables

• JOSH CARTER: will make his 100th career start on Wednesday ... scored a career-high 29 points (7-of-10 three-pointers) vs. Iowa State ... made game-winning three-pointer at buzzer against Nebraska ... has scored in double figures in nine straight games ... has made 14-of-19 (.737) three-pointers in the last three games ... A&M is 95-35 (.731) since Carter joined the program, tying him with Joseph Jones (2004-08) and Dominique Kirk (2004-08) as the winningest players in school history ... one of only two players in A&M history to score at least 1,500 points with 400 rebounds (488) and 200 assists (235), joining Bernard King (1,990/490/550) ... owns school record for career three-point field goals (290), No. 4 in Big 12 history ... with 1,502 career points (7th in A&M history), needs 92 points to move into top five ... leads Big 12 in free throw accuracy (.851) ... chasing school record of .865 set by Mike Floyd in 1974-75 ... ranks third in career percentage at .801 ... has played in all 130 career games and is on pace to break the school record for games played (132 by Dominique Kirk, 2004-08) ... A&M is 65-15 when he scores in double figures, including an 18-4 mark this season.

• BRYAN DAVIS: All-Big 12 candidate ... see page 10 for 2008-09 highlights and game-by-game stats ... second on team in rebounding (6.2) and blocks (35), and is third in scoring (10.4) ... ninth in the Big 12 in rebounding, fifth in blocked shots ... earned all-tournament honors at the South Padre Island Invitational, where he scored 15 points with 13 rebounds in the final-round win vs. Kent State ... ranks eighth in A&M history in career blocks (85) ... team is 25-5 in his career when he scores in double figures.

• DONALD SLOAN: All-Big 12 candidate ... see page 15 for 2008-09 highlights and game-by-game stats ... leads team in assists (3.0), ranks second in scoring (11.1) and is third in steals (21) ... has committed just 45 turnovers (with 87 assists) in 879 minutes of action this season (one every 19.5 minutes) -- last year, he averaged a turnover every 13.3 minutes ... is 25-of-29 (.862) on free throws in "crunch time" this season (games within 10 points in the final two minutes) ... making 75.2 percent from the free throw line, a marked improvement over last season's .673 mark ... leads the team in free throws made (91) and attempted (121) ... Aggies are 37-6 in his career when he hands out at least 3 assists.

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