February 23, 2010

Aggies set sights on Big 12, seeding

Texas A&M has made the NCAA tournament in each of head coach Mark Turgeon's two seasons in College Station, but it hasn't been easy. In each season the Aggies had to climb out of an early hole created in the Big 12 conference. Two season ago A&M sat at 6-6 after 12 games and had to split its final four games and take a couple in the Big 12 tournament to earn a 9-seed in the NCAA tournament as an at-large bid.

Last year A&M sat at 5-7 at the 12-game mark, but started league play at 3-7 and reeled off six consecutive wins to finish at 9-7 and earn another 9-seed in the tournament.

A&M, however, is sitting at 8-4 in the nation's toughest conference according to conference RPI and in third place in the Big 12. With an RPI of 12, a top five strength of schedule and a strong record against the RPI top 50 A&M is in unfamiliar territory - the Aggies seem like lock for the NCAA tournament with four games and the conference tournament in hand.

"It feels real good. Last year we had to fight out of a hole around this same time to make the tournament," said junior guard B.J. Holmes. "This year it's a lot better to have a little cushion. I think our team is peaking just like year but just with different records."

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