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Texas A&M defeats Vanderbilt 76-67; clinches first conference title since 1986

We outplayed the hottest team in the SEC, and we made it look easy. The net result was a stress free second half and a party thirty years in the making.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

What do you do when your favorite team breaks a thirty year title drought?

First, you do nothing. You stare. You watch the teams shake hands while staffers hurriedly set up for Senior Day. Then you see a ladder. Wait, why is there a ladder? Oh, shit. They're gonna cut down the nets. That's how this works. The realization begins to set in because OH SHIT THE NETS ARE COMING DOWN. THERE'S A LADDER OUT THERE AND LADDERS DON'T BELONG ON BASKETBALL COURTS SO THAT MUST MEAN THE NETS ARE COMING DOWN.

Second, the emotion kicks in. But not the all caps kind. The real kind. The "I had made peace with the fact that I might never see this happen and now it's happening" kind. You start to see how much it means to the players. The coaches. The families. The players are now wearing SEC Championship shirts. The cardboard SEC logos are being brandished. The emotion slowly shifts to celebration.

Third, normalcy kicks in. You watch everyone climb up the ladder to cut down the nets, because that's what the ladder is there for. You and the ladder now have an uneasy understanding. What seemed impossible ninety seconds ago is now somehow normal, because everyone has a championship shirt and there's a ladder on the court. So this is what happens next. You've seen it on TV, so you pretend that it's old hat. The players climb up one by one to grab their piece. Coach Kennedy climbs the ladder with his wife to cut down the last piece because he's the nicest guy ever. The security folks leave, and the court opens up.

Fourth... you still don't leave. Why would you leave? The inside of Reed Arena has happy conference title things, and the outside of Reed Arena does not. So you stay. You make your way down to the court and walk around. Everyone down here is happy. Players are taking photos and signing everything in sight. Coaches are relaxed and loose. Families are chatty as well, with some noticeable red eyes for those associated with Seniors. You talk to everyone who will listen. Everyone left has the same idea in mind - find a way to extend this moment. Find a way to hang around and live in the atmosphere of a fresh conference title for just a few more minutes.

Eventually, it dissipates. You walk outside and try to process the afternoon. You repeat the phrase in your head a hundred times. It still sounds weird, but maybe it will make sense next time. Surely.

"We just won the SEC."

"We just won the SEC."

"We just won the SEC."

Let's break it down


Find the shooter

We did a fantastic job on defense today - Vandy shot 40% from beyond the arc, but for the most part they were heavily contested. We fell asleep for a few minutes in the first half, but aside from that we played their shooters really well.

And we dumped the zone. A team like Vandy lives to destroy the zone, and we (smartly) played a ton of man today while aggressively fronting down low.  We were burned a couple times for an easy layup, sure, but the net effect was overwhelmingly positive.

It was a smart game plan, and it was well executed.

Feed Davis the rock

The SEC's leader in field goal percentage continues to (finally) get an increased workload on offense. Davis was excellent again today, dropping 16 points on 6-9 shooting while anchoring the defense with three blocks.

We have a good one on our hands, guys. He could really develop into something special.

Unlimited Efficiency

The Aggies were excellent on offense for the third game running, dropping 21 assists to only seven turnovers. A Vanderbilt team that shot pretty well (40% from deep, 100% from the line) simply couldn't keep up.

This team is peaking at the right time, and they capable of doing some real damage over the next couple of weekends.


My two favorite moments came when the Seniors addressed the crowd in the immediate post game ceremony. First, from Danuel House, who was overwhelmed with emotion when he grabbed the mic. We saw about twenty different emotions flash across his face before he simply said, "Man... today's a good day."

The second was Alex Caruso - who reminded everyone that this is not the end all be all of the season. This squad truly believes they can win the dang thing in Atlanta and advance out of any opening weekend pod thrown at them.

It's going to be a fun few weeks, y'all.

BTHO The SEC Tournament