Aggies Face Tough Road Test vs. Wildcats at Rupp Arena

KBTX News 3 at Six(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:55 PM CST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Texas A&M men’s basketball team makes the first trip to Rupp Arena of the Buzz Williams era for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday.

  • After five straight games vs. first-year SEC head coaches (all wins), the Aggies face a UK squad led 30-year coaching veteran John Calipari.
  • Two of Texas A&M’s four total wins over UK have been at Rupp: 73-69 on 1/22/1978 and 83-71 on 1/12/2013.

TRENDS & STREAKS:

  • Texas A&M has opened SEC play with a 5-0 record for the second time in program history. The only other Aggie squad to start SEC play with five straight wins was the 2015-15 team.
  • Transfers have been key in the 5-0 SEC start with Dexter Dennis (Wichita State) slashing just shy of a double-double (11.6 pts/9.6 rebs) and Julius Marble (Michigan State) averaging a team-best 15.6/g.
  • The Aggies have won nine straight SEC regular season matchups dating back to 2021-22, which is the longest since joining elite league. It’s the Aggies’ longest in any conference since an 11-game streak against Southwest Conference foes more than 40 years ago (last two of 1978-79 and first nine of 1979-80).
  • In the 5-0 SEC start, the Aggies have trailed for a combined 5 minutes and 25 seconds. The Aggies have not trailed in the past 107 minutes and 36 seconds dating back to a 14-13 lead by Missouri at the 12:24 mark of the first half on 1/11.
  • The Aggies are allowing an average of 20.2 first-half points in SEC play, while limiting opponents to 26.4 FG% / 17.9 3-PT% in the first stanza.
  • The Aggies’ seven-game winning streak is the team’s longest since closing out the 2021-22 regular season with four victories and winning three games to reach the 2022 SEC tournament final.
  • Texas A&M and Alabama go into the weekend tied for the longest active winning streak by a SEC team (Nation’s 8th-longest active win streak).
  • The Aggies have used the same starting lineup (Coleman III, Dennis, Marble, Radford and Taylor IV) for the last seven games.
  • During the 7-game win streak, Tyrece Radford is team’s leading scorer at 14.3 points while hitting 52.2% of his FGs and 37.5% of his 3-pointers. In the 11 games prior, Radford was slashing 10.8 pts/31.5%/27.5%.
  • In the ‘straw that stirs the drink’ category, Wade Taylor IV leads the team in points, 3-pointers, free throw %, assists and steals.

FIRST HALF CLAMPS:

Texas A&M has limited its past two opponents to a combined 30 points in the first half -- 18 at South Carolina and 12 vs. Florida.

  • In research dating back to 1996-97, the combined 30 first-half points allowed vs. SC and UF is the fewest in back to back games. Similarly it’s the first time that the Aggies have allowed fewer than 20 first-half points in consecutive games (since at least 1996-97).
  • In fact, the Aggies have been consistently stingy in the first half of its five SEC games, allowing just 101 points (20.2 avg) and limiting shooters to 26.4% on FGs and 17.9% on 3-point tries.

IN SEC GAMES ONLY:

  • Julius Marble ranks No. 9 in scoring at 15.6/g and No. 3 in FG% at 53.4%.
  • Dennis Dennis ranks No. 2 in rebounding at 9.6/g and No. 2 in defensive rebounds at 7.0/g.
  • Wade Taylor IV is tied for No. 4 in assists at 4.0/g and ranks No. 7 in assist/turnover ratio at 1.33. He is hitting 93.8% of the FTA (tNo. 2).
  • Henry Coleman III is tied for No. 3 in offensive rebounds at 3.0/g.
  • Boosted by a 48-16 rebounding advantage vs. South Carolina, the Aggies lead the SEC with a 12.6 rebounding margin.
  • The team ranks No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing just 57.6 pts/g. The Aggies are the only team to allow fewer than 300 points in SEC games (288 points).
  • The Aggies rank No. 3 in scoring margin at +15.4 and tied for No. 4 in scoring offense at 73.0 pts/g.

Random notables:

  • Since trailing Northwestern State for the first 21:35 of the 12/27 meeting, by as many as 15 points at one point, the Aggies have trailed just 7:43 since over next 257 minutes and 54 seconds.
  • Dexter Dennis’ 16 rebounds vs. Florida on 1/18 was the most by Aggies vs. a SEC opponents since Robert Williams had 16 vs. Missouri on 2/8/2017. Interestingly, Texas A&M Radio Network analyst John Thornton had 17 rebounds against Baylor on 2/14/1974.
  • Easily the Aggies’ most prolific shooter from deep, Wade Taylor IV has improved his 3-point % by nearly .10 from last year. Taylor is hitting 36.7% in 2022-23 after making 27.8% as a freshman.
  • The Aggies’ starting lineup has a definite Pelican State flavor with at least two Louisiana natives in it for every game so far this season - Tyrece Radford (Baton Rouge) and Dexter Dennis (Baker).
  • The Aggies have used the same starting lineup (Coleman III, Dennis, Marble, Radford and Taylor IV) for the last seven games (all wins). For the season, the fivesome is 8-1 with the lone loss coming to Boise State on Dec. 3.
  • The defensive-minded duo of Andersson Garcia and Andre Gordon have been the first players off the bench in five of the last six games.
  • The Aggies’ 2022-23 roster was bolstered by the addition of six newcomers in the offseason -- five transfers and one scholarship freshman. Headlining the group was Dexter Dennis, who was the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year at Wichita State in 2021-22, and Julius Marble, who helped Michigan State advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Both have earned spots in the starting five.
  • A nugget in the Jan. 12, 2021 Associated Press recap of Virginia Tech’s win over Duke included legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski describing Radford’s 18-point, 12-rebound, 6-assist effort in the victory: “The kid Radford was the best player on the court. Double-double, but his intensity, how hard he played really helps their team immensely.”

FOLLOW THE ACTION:

  • The game will be televised by ESPN with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (color) on the call.
  • The matchup airs on the Texas A&M Radio Network or locally on 1620 AM/94.5 FM with Andrew Monaco and Dr. John Thornton calling the action.