December 26, 2006

Above the Rim: A&M starting to roll

The national media anointed Texas A&M as a top-10 team early in the 2006-07 season, climbing as high as No. 6 in the rankings, before the Aggies ever really had a test against anyone. The reasons the Aggies got so high, however, didn't have as much to do with their wins but rather with other teams' losses.

But then the national spotlight fell on A&M as everyone wanted to get a look at just how good head coach Billy Gillispie's squad really was after barely falling in the second round of last season's NCAA tournament. With consecutive road games at then-No. 9 LSU, now No. 17, and No. 1 UCLA, everyone across the country was ready to see what the Aggies were really made of.

A&M dropped both games, but the UCLA loss actually gave A&M a little respect as it was the only team to give the Bruins a run for their money this season, losing 65-62.

And since the Aggies have come back from that road trip, they have dismantled every opponent in their path including a feisty Auburn team on the road. The Tigers aren't a team to take lightly as their previous three losses came at a combined 16 points to top-15 teams Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin.

The Aggies buried them by 29, 87-58.

Now A&M is knocking on the door to the top-10 once again at No. 11 in the Associated Press poll and No. 12 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll. At 10-2, they are the fourth-highest ranked two-loss team in the nation behind Florida (11-2, No. 3), Kansas (10-2, No. 9) and Pittsburgh (11-2, No. 10).

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