Aggies Gear Up for Top 15 Road Matchup vs. Auburn Tigers

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:08 PM CST
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AUBURN, Ala. – The Texas A&M men’s basketball team faces its second top 25 opponent of the season when the Aggies take on the No. 15 Auburn Tigers at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at Neville Arena.

Buzz clearly sees that No. 15 Auburn will be a tough opponent
  • It will be back-to-back SEC road games for the Aggies, who faced Kentucky at Rupp on Saturday. The UK-AUB games are the Aggies’ only back-to-back SEC road matchups in 2022-23.
  • In Texas A&M’s previous bout with a top 25 foe, the Aggies handed then-No. 20 Missouri an 82-64 defeat at Reed Arena on Jan. 11. In the team’s most recent road top 25 matchup, the Aggies defeated No. 25 Alabama, 87-71, on March 2, 2022.
  • The Aggies are 3-1 vs. Auburn during the Buzz Williams era. The two teams split last year with the then-No. 1 Tigers winning the regular season matchup, 75-58, at home and the Aggies emerging victorious, 67-62, at the SEC tournament in Tampa, Fla.
  • Auburn is a “mirror opponent” for the Aggies. The Tigers will be coming to Aggieland in about two weeks on Feb. 7.
  • Texas A&M leads the all-time series with Auburn, 13-6, including a 10-4 advantage since joining the SEC for the 2012-13 season.

TRENDS & STREAKS:

  • While Wade Taylor IV and Henry Coleman III are the team’s overall scoring and rebounds leaders, respectively, transfers Julius Marble and Dexter Dennis have taken over as those stat leaders in SEC play. Marble, from Dallas via Michigan State, paces the Aggies with 15.0 points/g while Dennis, from Baker, La., via Wichita State, leads the way with 9.0 boards/g.
  • Marble is the only Aggie to score double-digit points in every SEC game, although Dennis is close with double figures in the last five SEC contests.
  • Texas A&M is the only team that hasn’t allowed 30 or more FIRST HALF points in SEC play. The last opponent with 30+ points vs. the Aggies in the initial stanza was Prairie View A&M with 32 on Dec. 30, 2022.
  • The Aggies are allowing an average of 21.7 first-half points in SEC play, while limiting opponents to 27.3% FG-FGA / 22.1% 3FG-3FGA in the first stanza.
  • Texas A&M ranks No. 2 in scoring defense in SEC play, allowing an average of 60.7 points/g. The Aggies have lopped nearly 10 full points off their average vs. non-conference opponents (70.4) to SEC foes (60.7).
  • The Aggies have been perfect on free throw attempts in the past two games, making 23 straight freebies.

CLAMPING DOWN IN THE FIRST HALF:

Texas A&M is the only team that hasn’t allowed an opponent to reach 30 points in first half scoring in SEC play in 2022-23.

  • SEC opponents are averaging 21.7 first-half points against the Aggies, who are limiting opponents to 27.3% FG-FGA / 22.1% 3FG-3FGA in the first stanza.
  • The 12 first-half points allowed against Florida were the fewest by a conference opponent dating back to at least 1971. The previous low by a SEC foe was 13 by LSU on 3/12/2016.
  • The combined 30 first-half points allowed vs. SC and UF was the fewest in back to back games since at least 1996-97.

First Half Defense vs. SEC Opponents

Team FG/FGA (Pct.) 3FG/3FGA (Pct.) Pts.

at Florida (1/4) 9-24 (.375) 2-10 (.200) 23

LSU (1/7) 8-28 (.286) 4-14 (.286) 23

Missouri (1/11) 7-23 (.304) 1-10 (.100) 25

at S. Carolina (1/14) 7-24 (.292) 2-11 (.182) 18

Florida (1/18) 2-26 (.077) 1-11 (.091) 12

at Kentucky (1/21) 11-36 (.306) 7-21 (.333) 29

Total 44-161 (.273) 17-77 (.221) 130

SUCCEEDING AMONG THE TREES:

There are 16 total players in the SEC averaging 10.0+ points and 5.0+ rebounds per game. Texas A&M’s 6-foot-2 Tyrece Radford is the SEC’s only 10/5 player under 6-foot-7. (Additionally, according to StatsPASS, Radford is the ONLY player under 6-foot-2 in a “major conference” to average 10/5.)

SEC 10.0 Pts./G + 5.0 Rebs/G (6′ 8″ or shorter)

(Sorted by Pts./G)

Rk Player, School Ht. Pts Reb

1. Kobe Brown, Missouri 6-8 15.7 5.6

2. Anthony Black, Arkanas 6-7 12.7 5.2

3. Tyrece Radford , Texas A&M 6-2 12.7 5.2

4. Jaylin Williams, Auburn 6-8 10.9 5.3

5. Julian Phillips, Tennessee 6-8 10.3 5.5

6. Myles Stute, Vanderbilt 6-7 10.2 5.5

STRAW THAT STIRS THE DRINK:

Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV, the 6-foot do-it-all dynamo from Dallas, Texas, ranks in the top 10 in the SEC in a wide array of statistical categories:

Statistic Average SEC Rank

Points 14.8 No. 10

Assists 3.8 No. 6

Assist/TO Ratio 1.59 No. 10

Steals 1.8 No. 8

Free Throws 73 total No. 7

FT% 82.0% tNo. 6

3-pointers 2.1 No. 9

3-point attempts 114 total No. 7

SEC ONLY NOTABLES:

  • Julius Marble is tied for No. 9 in scoring at 15.0/g and No. 4 in FG% at 53.8%.
  • Dennis Dennis ranks No. 3 in rebounding at 9.0/g and No. 3 in defensive rebounds at 6.7/g. He’s also hit 16-of-17 FTAs to rank No. 2 in the SEC with a 94.1 FT%.
  • Wade Taylor IV ranks No. 5 in assists at 4.5/g and ranks No. 6 in assist/turnover ratio at 1.42. He is hitting 93.8% of the FTA (No. 3), while hitting 15-of-16 from the line.
  • Henry Coleman III is tied for No. 4 in offensive rebounds at 2.7/g.
  • Boosted by a 48-16 rebounding advantage vs. South Carolina, the Aggies lead the SEC with a 9.3 rebounding margin.
  • The Aggies rank No. 2 in field goal % (.459) and field goal % defense (.364)

HCIII leading the way:

Junior F Henry Coleman III, along with women’s basketball player Jada Malone, represent Texas A&M as members of the SEC Basketball Leadership Council. The council serves as a conduit of communication from student-athletes to the conference office on issues related to student-athlete experience and wellness and to provide feedback on proposed rules governing the SEC and NCAA.

  • Coleman is an avid fisher and hunter. “Fishing and hunting teach you to be calm under pressure,” Coleman said. “When you set that hook on that fish, you can’t just start reeling it in. You’ve got to be a little bit calm and kind of work it in. When you’re hunting and you see a buck right in front of you, you have to wait a little bit. I know you want to pull the trigger as soon as you see it, but you have to wait for the right time. It teaches you to be calm in the moment and stay in the moment.” (Source: 12thMan.com)
  • Coleman’s father, Hank, was a standout defensive end for Virginia Tech and started for the Hokies’ 1995 Sugar Bowl Champion team. HCIII told the Bryan-College Station Eagle (Jan,. 7, 2022), “‘Enter Sandman’ is one of my favorite traditions. A&M football is fun, but Virginia Tech football is deep in my heart.”
  • Coleman transferred to Texas A&M from Duke prior to the 2021-22. Former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said of HCIII: “I hope I’m around when he’s stopped playing to see who he becomes, not just as a player. I just think he’s going to be a very special guy in our country. He’s that good.” (Source: USA Today Network, Nov. 18, 2020)
  • In SEC play, HCIII is averaging 2.7 offensive rebounds per game.

SEC Offensive Rebounds Leaders

(SEC games only)

Rk Player, School ORebs/G

1. Oscar Tshiebwe, Kentucky 6.7

2. Tolu Smith, Mississippi State 4.1

3. Johni Broome, Auburn 2.71

4. Henry Coleman III, Texas A&M 2.67

Matthew Moncrief, Georgia 2.67

Random notables:

  • Dexter Dennis’ 16 rebounds vs. Florida on 1/18 was the most by an Aggie vs. a SEC opponent 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 37.2% 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 eight games. For the season, the fivesome is 8-2 with losses to Boise State and Kentucky.
  • The defensive-minded duo of Andersson Garcia and Andre Gordon have been the first players off the bench either individually or as a pair for the last seven 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 ESPN2 with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Ron Slay (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.