Another look at Texas A&M

Bumped. Thanks again to hoo for the great post. Makes dealing w flight delays (snow storm in Chicago?) easier. GO BRUINS. -N

Another game, and another installment of my look through the numbers of our upcoming tournament opponent. Today, Texas A&M. Unlike last night's opponent, I imagine that A&M will keep us all focused on the game at hand.

Texas A&M currently has a 25-10 record (24-10 against D-1). The team finished 6th in the Big XII's regular season, and defeated Iowa State and Kansas State in the Big XII tourney, before losing to Kansas by a score of 77-71. A&M received an at-large NCAA bid as the West's #9 seed, and defeated BYU last night to advance to Saturday's game with UCLA.

UCLA and Texas A&M have faced three common opponents: Arizona, Texas, and Washington. A&M split its season series with Texas, winning at home, 80-63 while losing in Austin by a 77-50 score. They defeated Washington by 14 points at Madison Square Garden in November, and lost to Arizona by 11 points in Tuscon in early December. Entering the tournament, A&M had played 12 games against other teams that made the tourney, with a 5-7 record in such games.

A&M entered the tournament on a cold streak of sorts, having lost 6 of its final 10 games. 4 of those losses came against NCAA tournament teams, including a loss at Texas, and 2 losses to Kansas. 2 of the team's wins in that span came against tourney teams; @ Baylor, and Kansas State at the Big XII tourney. While the regular season did not end well for A&M, they have rebounded in the postseason, having first advanced to the Big XII semifinals, and then defeating BYU in the first round of the NCAA's.

For a look at the ratings:
RPI UCLA: #4; A&M: #41
Pomeroy rating: UCLA: #2; A&M: #17
Sagarin rating: UCLA: #3; A&M: #23

You may notice a couple of things about the ratings:

  • Texas A&M's ratings in the RPI greatly differ from the computer ratings derived by Pomeroy and Sagarin. A&M is one of the extreme examples of how such ratings differ (Kansas State differs in a similar manner, while Vanderbilt has an equal, but opposite difference in the ratings). Other than looking to last night's K-State/SC game, I am not sure of what, if any correlation exists between the spread between RPI and other ratings and tourney success (whether RPI or Pomeroy/Sagarin is the more accurate predictor in such circumstances).
  • Under the Pomeroy and Sagarin ratings, A&M is fairly closely matched to UCLA, particularly for a "1-9" matchup (its computer profile compares to many 5 and 6 seeds). While it has been said that UCLA has the easiest path to San Antonio (and Duke's performance as the West's #2 team provides little challenge to the notion), it also has the toughest second-round game looming of the #1 seeds.
While the RPI may say otherwise, Texas A&M is prospectively the best team that is poised to play a #1 seed in the first weekend of the tournament. UNC has a chance of playing a similarly-ranked Indiana team (if both make it through today's games) on Sunday, though IU's profile must be considered in light of the Kelvin Sampson affair, and the disruption (and inconsistent play) surrounding the program after his dismissal.

There is no perfect analogue in the Pac-10 for A&M's computer profile, in regards to efficiency. The best comparison in that respect is Southern Cal, but with a slightly more efficient offense, playing at a slower pace.

As I did for the Miss Valley game, I will break down the efficiency stats.

Texas A&M

  • Offense: 114.9 points/100 possessions (#33 in D-1)
  • Defense: 88.2 points/100 possessions (#15 in D-1)
  • Pace: 63.5 possessions/40 minutes
  • Offense: 120.2/100 possessions (#6)
  • Defense: 82.8/100 possessions (#3)
  • Pace: 65.6 possessions/40 minutes
For more on the Aggies read on after the jump ...

Texas A&M tends to play at a somewhat slower pace than does UCLA - a pace that bears some resemblance to that of Arizona State, though with a greater efficiency.

Using the above efficiency measures, together with the average pace of the two teams' play, the average game score of each team, based upon an equal schedule composed of average Division 1 teams would be:

  • UCLA: 79-54
  • Texas A&M: 73-56
The first thought that jumps out is: wow, that looks a lot closer that the MVSU scores from the start of the week. Next is the realization that this looks to be quite a tight game; to me, this looks more like a 2-7, or even a 3-6 matchup than the 1-9 that it in fact is. Both teams feature top-level defenses; while UCLA's offense is statistically superior, A&M's is certainly good enough to take advantage of any openings that our defense may give. Pomeroy projects a 7-point UCLA win, which sounds reasonable to me. While this is a game that we should win, it is also a game that we could very well lose if the team does not come out right.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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