January 22, 2009

Aggies find themselves in a familiar position

Starting 1-3 in Big 12 conference play isn't what teams want to do, and Texas A&M doesn't like being in the position. But it's all too familiar territory for the Aggies who have started 1-3 four times now in the past five years in Big 12 play.

When Billy Gillispie took over as head coach of A&M, his Aggies started 1-3 before finishing 8-8 in Gillispie's first season and earned an NIT bid. A&M repeated the start the following season, but rallied for seven straight wins after an eventual 3-6 start in conference play to squeak into the NCAA tournament. Gillispie's 2006-07 team is the only team not to start 1-3. They started 4-0 and eventually made it all the way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.

A&M head coach Mark Turgeon's first A&M squad started 1-3 last season in much worse fashion by getting blown out on the road at Texas Tech and Kansas State before losing a five overtime thriller at home to Baylor. Most teams would have folded, but the Aggies reeled off five straight wins and eventually made the NCAA tournament once again.

Now the Aggies are in that position once again with archrival Texas on the horizon waiting the Aggies in Austin for a Saturday showdown. The fifth game on the conference slate has historically, at least over the past five years, been the game where the Aggies have always seemed to get out of their funk. A&M hasn't started the conference 1-4 since the resurgence of Aggie basketball.

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