January 28, 2009

A&M, Tech both at the breaking point

Of all the rivalries in the state of Texas, the one that has given Texas A&M the most problems on the hardwood is easily Texas Tech. The Aggies have split with archrival Texas in each of the last four years. They've lost to Baylor just once in the same time span. The Red Raiders, however, have been a different story.

Early during the resurgence of A&M basketball, the Aggies got the upper hand. After losing in Lubbock during the 2004-05 season, the Aggies took the next three meetings with Tech. The Red Raiders struck back with wins in the next three games, including giving A&M two of its three Big 12 losses in the 2006-07 season in which the Aggies advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Tech continued with a 15-point blowout in Lubbock last season early in conference play. A&M, however, struck back in a big way with a 44-point demolition of the Red Raiders on the return trip to College Station later in the season.

"They've got us pretty good the last couple years. I think we split last year and they beat us twice the year before that, so they've had our number recently," said A&M senior Josh Carter. "It's two different teams and two new teams, so hopefully we'll bring the energy we need to get the win."

A lot had happened to Texas Tech between those two games, however, Coaching legend Bob Knight resigned as coach of the Red Raiders and his son, Pat Knight, took over. In Knight's first full season at the helm in Lubbock, his Red Raiders have gotten off to a less-than-desirable start in the Big 12 with a 1-3 record.

A&M is in the same boat. As the first program in the history of the Big 12 to start the season with five games against five of the top six preseason-ranked teams by the coaches' preseason poll, the Aggies are sitting at 1-4. Something will have to budge as the two rivals hook up once again Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at Reed Arena in College Station in a game telecast on ESPNU.

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