COLLEGE STATION – After wrapping up the regular season, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team turns its attention to postseason play this week when it heads to Atlanta’s Georgia Dome for the SEC Tournament. The Aggies will open their run at the event on Thursday at noon (CT) when they face Missouri in second-round action.
Texas A&M (17-14, 8-10 SEC) is the field’s No. 9 seed and has earned a opening-round bye as the tournament’s first session of games gets underway on Wednesday with Auburn facing South Carolina and Vanderbilt taking on Mississippi State.
The winner of Thursday’s match-up between the Aggies and Tigers will advance to the quarterfinal round on Friday, where they will be pitted against top-ranked Florida at noon (CT). For complete brackets and results, click here.
Thursday’s match-up will be televised on SEC TV with Brad Nessler (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (commentary) calling all the action. Fans are encouraged to check AggieAthletics.com/TV for a list of stations carrying the game.
The contest will also be streamed live on ESPN3.com.
Additionally, the game can be heard on the Texas A&M Sports Network with local coverage in the Bryan-College Station area on The Zone (1150 AM).
Texas A&M enters the SEC Tournament looking to get back on track after dropping its regular season finale on Saturday against Auburn. The Aggies seek to regain their form at the defensive end, which throughout the course of the season separated them as one of the top defending teams in the conference.
The Aggies rank third in the league in both scoring defense (62.5 points per game allowed) and field goal percentage defense (.401) while pacing the conference and ranking eighth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense at (.292).
On the offensive end, Aggie standouts Alex Caruso and Jamal Jones will be looked upon to spearhead the quest for a postseason tournament bid after both guards made an impression on the court this season.
During his second year in the A&M program, Caruso led the SEC in both assists (147) and assists per game (4.7) while ranking second in the league in total steals (62) and steals per game (2.0). Jones, meanwhile, has been one of the top scorers in the league, producing seven games of 20 or more points, including a career best-tying 24-point effort on Saturday against Auburn.
Texas A&M will be seeking a measure of revenge against Missouri in Atlanta as the Tigers escaped with a narrow 57-56 win over the Aggies in Columbia, Mo., on March 5 during the teams’ only meeting this season.
The Tigers bring a 21-10 record to the SEC Tournament and feature three players who rank among the top scorers in the league – Jabari Brown (20.7 points per game), Jordan Clarkson (17.2 PPG) and Earnest Ross (13.2).
SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Rd #2
Texas A&M (17-14) vs. Missouri (21-10)
March 12, 2014 · 12:00 p.m. (CT)
TV: SEC TV / ESPN3 (For more info - AggieAthletics.com/TV)
Brad Nessler, Play-by-Play
Jimmy Dykes, Commentary
RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network
Dave South, Play-by-Play
Al Pulliam, Commentary
Local: WTAW-AM 1620 (College Station/Bryan)
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: AggieAthletics.com
• After finishing the regular season with a 17-14 overall record and an 8-10 mark in SEC play, the Aggies turn their attention to the SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome.
• Texas A&M has earned a first-round bye at the SEC Tournament and will be the No. 9 seed, facing Missouri at noon (CT) on Thursday ... Texas A&M and Missouri have previously squared off once this season with A&M dropping a heartbreaking 57-56 contest in Columbia, Mo., on March 5.
• The winner of Thursday's contest will face top-ranked Florida during the tournament's quarterfinal round on Friday.
• The Aggies and Tigers have played four times in postseason tournament play, dating back to the schools' time in the Big 12 Conference, with Mizzou holding a 3-1 edge ... Most recently, Missouri defeated Texas A&M 62-50 during the second round of last season's SEC Tournament in Nashville.
• Texas A&M is 23-36 all-time in conference tournaments with a pair of championships (1982 & 1987).
• Sophomore Alex Caruso ended the regular season as the SEC's leader in both assists (147) and assists per game (4.7)... The College Station, Texas, native also ranked second in the league in total steals (62) and steals per game (2.0).
• On the defensive end, Texas A&M has been solid, ranking third in the SEC in both scoring defense (62.5 points per game allowed) and field goal percentage defense (.401) ... The Aggies have defended the perimeter well, leading the league and ranking eighth nationally with a .292 3-point field goal percentage defense.
• Junior Jamal Jones tied his career high with 24 points during the regular season finale against Auburn on Saturday ... The Wynne, Ark., native finished the regular season averaging 16.0 points per game in SEC play to rank 11th among league leaders.
• Additionally, this week A&M senior Blake McDonald was recognized for his contributions off the court as he was named to the SEC Men's Basketball Community Service Team.
SERIES HISTORY VS. MISSOURI (MIZZOU LEADS 15-11)
• Thursday will be the 27th meeting between the Aggies and Tigers, but the fourth as members of the SEC.
• A&M has won nine of the last 13 meetings between the schools ... Missouri snapped an eight-game skid against the Aggies with a pair of wins during the 2011-12 season.
• On March 5 of this season, Missouri came from behind to hand the Aggies a heartbreaking 57-56 loss at Mizzou Arena in Columbia … Jamal Jones led A&M with 16 points in the setback.
• Last season, the two schools split a pair of meetings with A&M earning a 70-68 victory over the 20th-ranked Tigers in College Station on Feb. 7 ... Missouri avenged the loss with a 62-50 victory over the Aggies at the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
TEXAS A&M IN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS
• The Aggies are 23-36 all-time conference tournaments, spanning previous affiliations with the Southwest Conference (1915-96) and Big 12 Conference (1997-2012) ... A&M held an all-time record of 16-19 in SWC Tournament games and a 6-16 mark in Big 12 Tourney games.
• Texas A&M has claimed two postseason tournament championships - 1980 and 1987, both under the direction of former head coach Shelby Metcalf.
• A&M has advanced to the championship game of a postseason conference tournament five times - 1976, 1980, 1986, 1987 and 1994.
• The Aggies have never played inside the Georgia Dome and have played in the city of Atlanta only once at Georgia Tech on Dec. 15, 1956.
• Last season, the Aggies played in their first SEC Tournament ... A&M defeated Auburn 71-62 in the opening round before falling to Missouri 62-50 in the second round at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
• In postseason conference tournament play, Texas A&M has faced Arkansas six times (2-4), Missouri four times (1-3) and Auburn once (1-0).
• A&M head coach Billy Kennedy holds a 12-9 record in conference tournament play, including championships in 2005 (Southland Conference - SE Louisiana) and 2010 (Ohio Valley Conference - Murray State).