Big 12 Tournament Preview: No.2 Texas Vs. No. 3 Texas A&M

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10: Nathan Walkup #45 of the Texas A&M Aggies takes a shot over Laurence Bowers #21 of the Missouri Tigers during their quarterfinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

I finally get the Texas A&M Aggies. I have watched countless numbers of their games and even saw the overtime win in Boulder live, but it wasn't until last night that I finally got the Texas A&M Aggies. So when I watch them tonight versus the Texas Longhorns in the semi-finals of the Big 12 Tournament, I finally know what I am watching.

And it wasn't that difficult to understand.

During the season as I was bearish on the Aggies, I kept complaining about their lack of offense and how they were squeaking out games by the skin of their teeth (aside: where does that saying come from? Teeth don't have skin). But last night it finally clicked as to why they are the most unheralded third seed in the history of big conference play.

Everything they do, every move they make, every shot they take is methodical in nature. They don't haphazardly do anything on the court, all a testament to their coach Mark Turgeon.

So when they were winning these games 67-66 and 73-70, I mistook their play, and their narrow victories, as some sort of luck, or being just good enough to overcome. What I saw last night, and what now hits me like a freight train is that they are setting up all their opponents to fail. Sure, there is a sprinkling of luck into any one-basket victory, but what A&M is doing is setting up their opponents to fail instead of what other teams do in setting themselves up to win.

This might be news to me, but it sure isn't news to the Aggies' longtime rival in Austin. Texas is 2-0 against the Aggies this season after splitting the regular season series with A&M for the past six seasons. Texas is designed to play the methodical style of ball A&M dictates. The Horns are 26-6 on the season, ranked 10th in both polls, yet only score 75.1 points per game, good for 40th nationally. While that is six points more than the Aggies average this season, it still is an indication that Texas is fine with playing in the half court. In looking for open shots and not rushing because there is a brief look at an open shot.

So what we'll see tonight is another hard fought game. I think with both teams playing on back-to-back nights, plus the disciplined approach to both teams, that this game will be low scoring and might come down to the wire.

Texas should win, but A&M won't be giving up easily.

The game tips tonight at 8:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN3.com

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