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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Aggies focusing on own issues

    Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M head coach
    Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M head coach

    Opponent Analysis

    When Texas A&M men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon played at Kansas from 1984-1987 under Larry Brown, the Jayhawks hardly ever used a scouting report. They’d wait until the NCAA Tournament to really put an emphasis on their opponents’ plays.

    They just showed up and played.

    “”I just remember coach Brown would walk down the bench about five minutes into the game and say, ‘We’re better than this team,'”” Turgeon said at his weekly press conference on Monday. “”And you believed him.””

    And most of the time Kansas was better, going 108-33 while Turgeon was a Jayhawk.

    Then Turgeon was a Kansas assistant from 1987-1992, working for Roy Williams for four seasons.

    “”Same thing. We worked on us,”” Turgeon said. “”Our principles took care of it. We did a scouting report and we started adding a film clip, but we didn’t walk through a lot of plays on the court.””

    Now, in his second season as the Aggies’ coach, he’s incorporated more scouting reports than in the past, but the concentration is the same – when it comes to focusing on teams, A&M’s top priority is itself.

    “”We’re going to approach the Arizona game this week and we’re just going to worry about us because we’ve got a long ways to go,”” Turgeon said. “”And then hopefully our guys will play by our principles defensively and react to what Arizona does to us with their defense and just play basketball. We gotta get Texas A&M better.””

    Tonight’s game in College Station will mark Arizona’s first game in Reed Arena, something that bears a large amount of significance since the Aggies have won 50 consecutive nonconference games at home.

    “”That’ll find the bulletin board for sure,”” UA interim head coach Russ Pennell said of the statistic. “”When you go on the road, the thing you have to do is you have to be very solid. You can’t beat yourself.””

    At this point, A&M is hoping it doesn’t beat itself as well. The Aggies find themselves in a similar situation to the Wildcats as a young squad -ÿ10 underclassmen dot their roster – and they are still trying to find a formula that works well for them.

    “”We’re just not completely together like teams need to be,”” Turgeon said. “”Our leadership’s not there, our toughness isn’t there and our togetherness isn’t there.””

    Needless to say, the Wildcats surely won’t be able to trail by 20 and come back to win like they did in McKale Center last season. And though this season’s UA team is much different, so are the Aggies. It’s a challenge Turgeon welcomes, nonetheless.

    “”Whenever you play a team with the tradition of Arizona, everyone should be excited,”” Turgeon said. “”Hopefully we’ll have a great crowd … because we need it.””

    After losing four players from last season – including DeAndre Jordan, who was drafted early in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft – the Aggies boast three players in double figures in scoring. Senior Josh Carter leads the charge with 14 points per game.

    But the Aggies’ bigger focus will most likely be on their defense.

    A&M’s biggest task will be holding down UA forward/center Jordan Hill, who is averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds per game.

    Turgeon said he’ll use 6-foot-10 Chinemelu Elonu, 6-foot-10 Denzel Bowles and 6-foot-9 Bryan Davis to try to contain the 6-foot-10 Hill.

    “”He hurt us last year,”” Turgeon said of Hill. “”You know, he’s a pro.””

    The Aggies have a lot on the line tonight: The 50-game streak, redemption for last season and their team-centered focus early this season.

    “”We’re not very good right now. It’s pretty obvious,”” Turgeon said. “”But we can be.””

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