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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

A&M heads to the Big Apple to take on Washington State in NIT Quarterfinals

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Photo by Photo by Ishika Samant

Junior Tyrece Radford (23) shoots a basket on Wednesday, March 23 in Reed Arena

Welcome to New York.
The Texas A&M men’s basketball team has arrived in the Big Apple, and only one opponent stands between the Aggies and the National Invitational Tournament Finals.
On Tuesday, March 29, No. 1-seed A&M will take on No. 4-seed Washington State in the sports mecca of Madison Square Garden, and the winner will advance to the NIT Finals on Thursday, March 31. Neither team has ever reached the Finals in their respective program histories.
A&M and Washington State are two of the few teams in the nation playing postseason basketball. In fact, they are the only teams still alive in the SEC and Pac-12.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity to still be playing for one,” junior guard Tyrece “Boots” Radford said. “It’s a dream come true, too, because a lot of things have happened in [Madison Square Garden]. We just want to go there and win.”
A&M’s season has been one of the crazier stories of college basketball. Starting off 4-0 in SEC play, the Aggies fell into an 8-game losing slump. The team’s fight and resilience clawed them higher in the SEC ranks and have won 10 of their last 11 matchups.
After being excluded from the NCAA March Madness tournament, the Aggies have made a splash in the NIT, defeating Alcorn State, Oregon and No. 2-seed Wake Forest. Graduate guard Quenton Jackson leads the Aggies’ scoring efforts, averaging 14.5 points a game, and aggressive Radford leads in rebounding, averaging 6.2 a game.
Washington State’s deep NIT run is powered by senior guard Michael Flowers, who averages 14.4 points per game, but put up 27 points last week when the Cougars dominated BYU in the quarterfinals. Junior guard Tyrell Roberts is right behind Flowers, averaging 11.3 points a game. In the paint, 6-foot-10 sophomore forward Efe Abogidi averages 5.7 rebounds per game. The Cougars have defeated Santa Clara, No. 1-seed SMU and No. 2-seed BYU to earn their way to Madison Square Garden. Washington State has won eight of its last 10 games.
“They have a top-70 offense and a top-30 defense,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “They are ranked ahead of us in nearly every category. [They have a] distinct offense [and] incredibly effective defense.”
A&M has beaten teams taller and statistically more talented than Washington State; however, the Cougars are not a team to underestimate. The two teams match up fairly evenly in every statistical category.
Texas A&M and Washington State will take the floor of Madison Square Garden on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. CDT, competing for a spot in the NIT Finals. In the past decade, four teams who have won the NIT have returned the following year with a March Madness appearance.
“We gotta bring our own energy,” freshman guard Wade Taylor IV said. “Going in there and being resilient and doing all the things that we’ve been doing so far on the road.”

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