Hate, friends. One of the best parts of collegiate athletics. Perhaps THE best part of collegiate athletics.
College Basketball in the South needs hate. Needs it. Has to have it, actually. The product alone won't pull people in (like football does), so you have to grab the masses with emotion. And with Big XII basketball... we were there. Iowa State, Colorado and Nebraska were about the only opponents that didn't move the needle. We had a bone to pick with Oklahoma, OSU, Tech, and Texas; and our good years lent some extra juice to the Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri games as well.
But Baylor... Baylor was on their own level of hate. If you weren't on campus during the Gillispie/Turge years, you'll find this foolish, but I promise you... by the time we left the Big XII, Baylor Basketball was the most hated opponent on campus.
Sure, we always wanted to beat Texas. And it was fun to dismiss Tech's adorable attempts at basketball. But those Baylor games over our last few years in the Big XII... they were full of raw, unfiltered hate.
With #15 Baylor coming to town this Saturday, let's take a walk down memory lane.
The prologue (by JDMyatt)
To be clear, when it comes to Baylor basketball and its relationship to Texas A&M, nothing will beat The Baptism. The play is arguably the best highlight of the Ag’s Golden Age of Basketball (2005-2011) not associated with Acie Law. No other play or moment encapsulates the rivalry better than Donald Sloan tossing the basketball off the backboard and slamming it home as #classy Baylor fans threw cups and memorabilia onto the floor. But a key moment came just a couple of minutes prior that helped paint the scene for Sloan’s religious experience.
Let's take a second look
A back and forth battle all night, Donald Sloan brought the ball up with Baylor guard Tweety Carter playing full court man. Sloan made a move and sprinted up court with Carter following closely behind him. What Carter did not know was a brick wall, aka The Pride of Normangee, Joseph Jones, waited at midcourt to set a pick. The two collided and Carter collapsed to ground and stayed down. Sloan ended up taking it coast to coast and scored an easy layup to put A&M up eight and essentially put the Bears away for good. What followed was both benches clearing and having to be separated, and a chorus of boos from the Baylor faithful that would last the rest of the game (One of the best parts of the video is despite the boos, the ESPN color commentator says the pick was "definitely clean"). The ending to this game provided the perfect revenge to A&M’s previous five-overtime heartbreaker to the Bears at Reed Arena. That game, plus the pick by Jones and The Baptism that followed officially took the rivalry to another level that made it so memorable until A&M’s departure to the SEC.
The main event (by gigthem08)
Let's reset: At 7-7 in conference, A&M is teetering on the bubble. They head to Waco, where the Bears are 8-6 and looking to punch their ticket as well. It's the return matchup from a five overtime thriller at Reed six weeks prior. It's loud, it's full (with no shortage of Aggies in attendance), the game has slipped away for the home team, and their starting point guard was just murdered on a blind screen and now lays in a crumpled heap at mid court. The benches clear, both teams are held back, and technicals are called on both squads
The Ferrell Center was a tinder box.
As the two squads play out the string, trash is thrown on to the court. The origin of the trash throwing remains unclear, but an angry Old Baylor fan takes it upon himself to run up to two random Aggies and scream in their face. Presumably because they threw the trash (since, you know, happy road fans always throw trash and disgruntled home fans never do).
Things aren't quite ridiculous enough, so a third Aggie sprints down from his seat a few rows away to confront the Old Angry Bear. Booing intensifies, and a riot legitimately appears possible. Security escorts the Aggies out of the building (only the Aggies, of course), which is a BS move but one I also kind of understand from a riot prevention mindset.
The removal of a few Aggie fans by security appears to calm things down.... until the ball finds its way to Donald Sloan at mid court with five seconds remaining.
The best part about the dunk? He planned it. He hated Baylor, and knew he wanted to do it if he got the chance.
The Bears are coming to town this Saturday night, and they whipped us pretty good last year in Waco. Show up (or tune in on ESPNU) this Saturday night at 8pm and get pissed off.
Because hate, for lack of a better word, is good.