Busting Brackets

Texas A&M Basketball: Aggies season was a disappointment

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Head coach Billy Kennedy of the Texas A
CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 16: Head coach Billy Kennedy of the Texas A /
CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 16: Head coach Billy Kennedy of the Texas A
CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 16: Head coach Billy Kennedy of the Texas A /

Texas A&M ended their season on Thursday with a 99-72 loss to Michigan. And while a Sweet Sixteen appearance was a good ending, the journey itself was a big disappointment.

In the 2016-17 season, Texas A&M was considered one of the biggest disappointments in all of college basketball. Many pegged the Aggies as a surefire NCAA Tournament team, but the young group couldn’t handle expectations, finishing 16-15 and missing out on postseason play.

But when projected lottery pick Robert Williams unexpectedly decided to return for his sophomore season, the following year looked much more promising, with everyone else returning.

This season started off with a bang, with Texas A&M stopping West Virginia to open the season. They looked great in non-conference on the court, taking just one loss.

Problems in the locker room

But things were unraveling off the court, with a number of players at one point or another serving suspensions for various reasons. JJ Caldwell, who was supposed to be the starting point and the missing piece for the team, ended up getting kicked out of the program. The problems spilled onto the court, with the Aggies lost six of their first seven SEC games.

But with freshman TJ Starks being inserted into the lineup, Texas A&M made another run to get themselves into the NCAA Tournament. Once Billy Kennedy’s team got into the Big Dance, their last two games resembled the entire Texas A&M season.

Highest high and lowest low

While the final score and big lead throughout the North Carolina upset surprised some, the fact that the Aggies were able to beat the Tar Heels shouldn’t be a huge shocker. From a talent perspective, only Kentucky could rival them in the SEC. And only Duke, Florida State, Kentucky, a couple of others have a chance at matching up with both Williams and Tyler Davis down low in the frontcourt.

The Michigan game wasn’t too much of a surprise either, as it looked like a bunch of individuals playing basketball rather than a team. The Aggies kept turning the ball over in the first five minutes, leading to three-pointers on the other side. And once the Wolverines got a double-digit lead, the Texas A&M players took bad shots, failed to get back on defense, and thus the floodgates were opened.

What makes this such a disappointing season isn’t the losses, but rather how it occurred.  A team with far less talent like Loyola-Chicago have made it to the Elite Eight. Kansas State hasn’t even had their best player and they made it to the same spot.

Williams declared for the draft after the game, so there will be a void at the center position. Duane Wilson and Tonny Trocha-Morelos will be graduating as well, but there is still talented remaining. Along with both Davis and Starks, Admon Gilder and DJ Hogg will be seniors, so the hope is that maturity will prevail in the offseason.

Next: Elite 8 being invaded by lower seeds

For the second year in a row, Kennedy’s team has underachieved, and he has to take responsibility for that. The SEC had a great year overall, and with Kermit Davis going to Ole Miss and Tom Crean coming to Georgia next year things will only be tougher. How the Aggies perform on – and off the court will have a big impact on Kennedy’s future with the team.