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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

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

‘On the fifth Sunday…’: Men’s basketball prepares for Arkansas matchup

Head+coach+Buzz+Williams+smiles+as+the+team+shoots+a+3-pointer+during+a+game+against+A%26amp%3BM+Kingsville+at+Reed+Arena+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+4%2C+2022.

Head coach Buzz Williams smiles as the team shoots a 3-pointer during a game against A&M Kingsville at Reed Arena on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022.

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Texas A&M basketball left the Bud Walton Arena with its second loss since the start of the SEC season; a margin of deficit the Aggies haven’t faced since their Dec. 3 loss to Boise State in Fort Worth.
“We weren’t our best that game,” sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV said. “Nobody was and even Coach [Buzz Williams] said he wasn’t. Our routine was thrown off but that isn’t an excuse.”
Fortunately for the maroon and white, they have been gifted a second chance to avenge their loss in the Natural State.
On Wednesday, Feb. 15, A&M will compete in its second “mirror” game of the season in front of its home crowd at Reed Arena. However, some areas of the program must be tweaked and fixed before this matchup.
“Finishing at the rim and finishing free throws,” Taylor said. “We didn’t match those guys’ energy and we matched the energy too late. We have to be the aggressors. Come in from tip-off and just play our hardest and our best… We only had four turkeys and that’s nowhere near where we need to be to win the SEC championship.”
This may seem like a dialect unfamiliar to the average basketball fan. Junior forward Henry Coleman III translated the statement made by his teammate, and said the team has a distinctive play style.
“Just play A&M basketball,” Coleman said. “When we play our style of game we have a really good chance at winning.”
The loss aside, the Aggies have found themselves in a position that the basketball program has not been in since joining the SEC in 2012. A&M’s 10-2 start is the best conference start for the program in 12 games since joining the conference. The last 10-2 start was Billy Gillispie in 2007 when his team finished 13-3 in the Big 12 and danced all the way to the Sweet 16.
“Thankful to be in the position,” Williams said. “How can we just focus on right now? How can we just be our best and be accountable and responsible for what we should do today and get better?”
The Aggies’ last six games of the regular season feature a gauntlet of stiff competition with five Quadrant 1 opponents, two of the teams ranked top 10 in the nation. Taylor said the back end of the regular season is a stretch of games the team has prepared for all season.
“This is what we dreamed of as little kids,” Taylor said. “Growing up being able to play on national television. This is something we worked towards every day. A lot of opportunities.”
When asked about the final stretch to finish out the season, coach Williams said he would like to keep it “fresh,” the same way his church back in Greenville would on the fifth Sunday of every month.
“I grew up in the country with no stoplights and it was a big deal on the month of the fifth Sunday,” Williams said. “On the fifth Sunday, you will have a guest preacher at the church and you will have a fifth Sunday singing from a book you don’t typically sing out of.”
“One of my good friends is a preacher and I will always tell him that I don’t want a microwaved message; I want you to serve fresh bread,” Williams said. “On the court and this final stretch, we need to keep it fresh physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Arkansas is an SEC opponent that is jam-packed with NBA-caliber players who can flip the switch whenever. Coach Williams said he and his staff have recognized and prepared for these players, but are reminded of what it takes to win at the collegiate level.
“The goal is not how many NBA players you have, the goal is how good of a program you can have in college,” Williams said.
The Aggies will tip-off at 8 p.m. against Arkansas at Reed Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 15, for its fourth “mirror” game of the season and its second game against the Razorbacks.

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