February 12, 2009

Aggies hoping to repeat magic from the past

Under a second year head coach, Texas A&M headed into the season with high hopes of an NCAA tournament bid and after promising a one-loss non-conference season things looked bleak with a 3-6 record in the Big 12 conference. The Aggies had played tight with opponents on the road, lost two games at home that they wish they could've had back and were definitely on the outside looking in when it came to NCAA tournament talk.

Sound familiar? It should, but I'm not talking about the current 2008-09 season. Instead, flashback to 2006 and remember what it was like to see a promising young coach in Billy Gillispie frustratingly wonder what was going on with his Aggie team that many predicted to make its first Big Dance in 19 years. They were in the basement, but something funny happened.

After losing to Texas in Austin in a game that wasn't ever a blowout but wasn't really all that close either (hmm, another similarity perhaps?), the Aggies started to go on a tear. Playing with nothing to lose the Aggies picked up a win and another and another, and all of a sudden without anyone really taking notice the Aggies had won five straight games with No. 6 Texas heading to College Station.

Now before you say that A&M had Acie Law, and it did, remember that it wasn't until that fateful March 1 that Law became Captain Clutch and went down in Aggie lore by drilling what has come to pass as "The Shot," giving A&M a 46-43 win over the Longhorns. Two more wins before narrowly falling to Texas, 74-70, in the Big 12 semifinals got A&M an at-large berth to the tournament, but barely as the Aggies were a No. 12 seed.

Current A&M senior Josh Carter was on that Aggie team. He was a freshman, playing sparingly, but that year A&M climbed what at one time seemed an insurmountable mountain to scale and Carter knows how that feels.

"Coach Turgeon brought it up actually, and Junior was here as well but he redshirted that year," Carter said. "We have to take games one game at a time and it's never easy. We had some tight ones like the game here against Texas and some other close ones. I think we've let some get away from us this year as well, so every game is going to be close and it's going to be hard to do. We've just got to stay focused and take one game at a time."

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