The Texas Aggie basketball squad played their first true road game of the season tonight against Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona. We'll get to the basketball in a second. Have you ever made a trip to the bars around Tempe, Arizona? No? I highly recommend it. There's also some great hiking in the area, but yeah, maybe use the hiking as an excuse to go to Tempe or something. So, about that basketball game...
1. Tough day for the old resume
The Aggies came out of the Battle for Atlantis with a great early season resume. That was essentially all wiped to a blank slate today. Gonzaga, picked in the preseason to be a Final Four team, lost their second game in the first month of the season. Syracuse lost and looks like they will struggle while their head coach serves his suspension. Arizona State isn't a terrible team, they're a bubble team, but A&M should have and needed to win this game. This was the type of game you have to win if you want to be taken seriously as an NCAA Tournament team. This wasn't an embarrassing loss, but it was one that has been all too familiar in the Kennedy era.
2. Talent, coaching, officiating
There's a Venn diagram or something in the making with this. It's possible to win with some combination of these three, but not all combinations of these three. Tonight, the officiating was very bad. Now it's easy to point at officiating in a loss, but it was really bad in this game. Coach Hurley seems to carry the magic of his father in the eyes of the officials tonight. I get that there are crews that want to call games tight, especially with the rule changes, but holy hell it wasn't even close to being called both ways. Please don't point to the final box score, the calls evened out late in the game once a lot of the damage was done. Arizona State was in the bonus less than two minutes into the second half. Anyways, with coaching that can't adjust and get it done, and bad officiating, a herculean effort is needed from the talent side. It just wasn't there for the Ags tonight.
3. That talent thing
Early foul trouble has a way of taking teams out of their game. The Aggies got in early foul trouble in both halves and just seemed to not play with the intensity of other games we've seen this season. It was just a terrible night on the court for the Aggies. The Aggies were shooting in the 23% range at the half, and were only able to improve to 31% by the end of the game. Those free throw things, yeah, the Aggies shot 10-21 from the charity stripe. The only won the rebound battle by two to an undersized team playing a small lineup for most of the game. That tops in the nation team in assists per game, only 11 tonight to compare to 14 turnovers. Looking at topic #2, you definitely aren't going to win a game when you get none of the three going in your favor.