Busting Brackets

SEC: What Happened To The Texas A&M Aggies?


On February 21st Texas A&M finished off the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road 62-52 and the future could not have been brighter. The Aggies stood at 19-7 and 10-4 in the SEC. A 20+ win season, top four finish in conference (earning them a double-bye for the conference tournament) and a solidified NCAA Tournament spot all seemed assured with a relatively easy final four regular games and then the conference tournament.

Fast forward almost a month later and the Aggies are reeling. They finished those four regular season games at 1-3 and then dropped a shocker against the regular season last place Auburn Tigers yesterday in the second round of the SEC Tournament.

Their NCAA Tournament hopes now appear dashed and players, coaches and fans are left wondering: what happened? Below is a break down the struggles of the Aggies over the last five games and try to find some answers.

The Loss of Junior Small Forward Danuel House

The loss of All-SEC first team Danuel House cannot be understated. The multi-skilled player averaged 14.8 points per game and nearly 4 rebounds in 32 minutes of play. His 6’7″ length posed troubles defensively for guards on the perimeter.

After A&M’s loss to Alabama on March 7th, Aggies coach Bill Kennedy called House a, “leader of our team,” and one that, “makes plays for us offensively and defensively.” The Aggies simply have not been able to adjust to his absence in the final three games. His replacement, Davonte Fitzgerald, a 6’7″ sophomore forward, only averaged 6.5 points per game and 1.5 rebounds. House’s loss and ability leads into another one of A&M’s problems, a lack of scoring and scoring options.

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Lack of Consistent Scoring Options

While the Aggies have not set the world on fire with offense this season, House’s injury exposed A&M’s lack of offensive ability and complementary players to consistently step up the scoring load.  A&M junior and All-SEC Second Team guard Jalen Jones is their next best player, but even he saw a dip in his production as he became opponent’s main defensive target. Jones’s production has dipped to 11 points per game over his last three games (13.3 is his season average) on 9-29 shooting (31%). This includes a 5-point, 2-7 shooting performance with four fouls against Auburn in the SEC tournament.

Jones does not deserve to shoulder most of the blame. Collectively, junior guard Alex Caruso , senior guard Jordan Green and senior forward Kourtney Roberson all needed to increase their play for the Aggies to be successful. While there was a slight uptick in points per game, other facets suffered. Caruso increased his scoring average to 10.3 during House’s time away, but committed 15 turnovers, including 10 (yep, 10!) against Auburn. Green increased his scoring average, but was plagued with an 18 minute foul troubled performance yesterday. Finally, Roberson maintained his scoring and rebounding averages, but did not provide enough of a scoring punch the squad needed.

With the lack of scoring options the Aggies have averaged only 60.3 points per game while on their current three game losing streak. Scoring droughts have been particularly troubling in each of the three games. For their loss at Florida on March 3rd, the Aggies, even with House in the lineup, scored four points in 7 minutes in the middle portion of the first half after a dominating start. Against Alabama, A&M controlled most of the first half in strong fashion, scoring 36 points and playing suffocating defense.

The second half started with A&M’s offense going stagnate and the Crimson Tide jumping all over them. Billy Kennedy’s team scored six points in the first ten minutes and then four points in the last 5:53. The Auburn game told a similarly frustrating story. The Aggies again jumped out to a 10 point lead at the break, but then had one made field goal in the first 11 minutes of the second half. The Tigers pounced on the Aggies and never looked back, using that time span to go on a 27-10 run. With the lack of a consistent second scorer, the Aggies offense has gone from inconsistent but manageable to totally unreliable.


Turnovers have been a problem for Texas A&M all year. They average nearly 13 a game and that is good for 179th in the country. This number has risen to 15.6 turnovers (good for 344th out of 348 teams) during their three game losing streak. As fellow Busting Brackets writer Courtney Smith pointed out, A&M’s turnovers yesterday (20 total) led to 19 points for Auburn. A similar story can be told in their loss to Florida. Even with House in the lineup, A&M turned it over 16 times and that led to 16 points for the Gators. In a close loss, those points can be all the difference. The Aggies carelessness with the ball has only perpetuated their offensive woes.


Unfortunately for Aggies fans, yesterday was the final nail in the coffin on their NCAA Tournament hopes. It appears that the limited depth and offensive abilities of the team was magnified and put on display by the injury of top player Danuel House. Injuries are part of the game, but it continues a long line of Aggie heartbreak when the calendar turns to March.

Next: SEC Tournament: Shockers in second round of SEC tourney

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