Typically when a team loses, the fan base is frustrated and everyone immediately points out everything that went wrong during the course of the game. However, Texas A&M‘s loss to the No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats showed a lot of promising signs that the Aggies can hopefully build on moving forward.
With a 6-7 overall record, including 0-2 in SEC, Texas A&M’s season has been a roller coaster so far. The Aggies have lost games to team they had no business losing to like Texas Southern and Arkansas, and, to no one’s surprise, they got smoked by Gonzaga during non-conference play. However, an 85-74 loss to the Wildcats at Rupp Arena told a completely different story.
So what’s the big deal about this game for the Aggies? Well, the big deal is how well the Aggies played against a really good program that probably should have beat them by 30. The Aggies started out very aggressive and hit the ground running to a 10-0 lead and the Wildcats, for a moment, did not know what hit them. Texas A&M did not get the memo that it was supposed to go on the road and get routed.
Kentucky even had to empty the bench to secure this win, with the Wildcats’ bench out-scoring the Aggie reserves 23-9. It was clearly the difference in the game.
The Aggies deserve a lot of credit for playing so hard. The only knock on them was 19 turnovers. If they could minimize the mistakes, they can win a lot of games if they can play this way more consistently.
Here are the three reasons why Billy Kennedy’s system might work in the SEC moving forward.
1. Quick Starts
Texas A&M started the game hot against Kentucky to get out to an early 10-point lead. Every team won’t be able to recover from early barrages of scoring and good shooting will allow the Aggies to jump on on any team in the opening minutes.
2. Dominating Guards
The Aggies got great production out of their guards against Kentucky, with the backcourt scoring 46 of the team’s 74 points. TJ Starks and Jay Jay Chandler each scored 18 points while Wendell Mitchell added 10 points, six rebounds and five assists.
3. Strong Finishes
Despite losing the game, the Aggies did edge the Wildcats, 40-39, in the second half. They shot the ball really well and UK appeared to be gassed. The depth of John Calipari’s bench was the difference and most teams in the SEC don’t have that.
This is the type of production Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy needs on a nightly basis for his offense to work. The takeaway from this game is that not only are the Aggies able to do it, but they were also able to do it against a ranked team on the road.
Fans should definitely feel good about what they saw.