No. 17 Aggies take on Nittany Lions in NCAA First Round
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The Texas A&M men’s basketball team returned to March Madness for the first time since 2018 and face 10-seed Penn State of the Big Ten Conference at 8:55 p.m. on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
- 2023 SEC Coach of the Year Buzz Williams is taking his third different program to the NCAA Tournament. He also took Marquette (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and Virginia Tech (2017, 2018, 2019) to the NCAA Tournament.
- The 2022-23 Aggies will be Williams’ ninth team advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
- Williams holds a 10-8 record in the NCAA Tournament.
- In 14 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, Texas A&M holds a 13-15 record in the “Big Dance.”
- Texas A&M leads the series with Penn State, 4-0, with the Aggies logging a 98-87 win at the 2017 Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the most recent meeting.
- The winner of the #7/#10 matchup between Texas A&M and Penn State will face the winner of the #2/#15 clash between Texas and Colgate on 3/18.
- Texas A&M has advanced to the finals of its past 3 postseason tournaments - the 2022 and 2023 SEC Tournaments and the 2022 NIT.
TRENDS & STREAKS:
- Texas A&M enters the NCAA Tournament as the national leader in FTM and FTA with an average of 19.2-25.3. The Aggies average 1.4 more FTM/G than any other team in Div. I college basketball.
- Texas A&M is 1 of 4 teams nationally with 800+ FTA in 2022-23 and leads the way with 860 (next closest is 808).
- Dating back to late February of 2022, Texas A&M is a SEC-best 24-5 in its last 29 games against SEC opponents (includes SEC tournament). Alabama has the second-best mark at 23-6.
- Since the start of 2023, the Aggies have limited opponents to an average of 27.5 points in the first half, with 25 or fewer points allowed in 10 of 21 games.
- Wade Taylor IV and SEC POY Brandon Miller were the SEC’s only players to score 500+ points for the season and 300+ points in SEC play.
- Taylor IV is one of three players in the NCAA field with 500+ points, 125+ assists and 50+ steals while making 85% or better on free throw attempts. Others are Markquis Nowell of Kansas State and Kendric Davis of Memphis.
- Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford were the SEC’s highest scoring guard tandem in league play at 30.9 points/G. Against AP Top 25 opponents, the pair have combined for a 36.8 scoring average.
- Texas A&M is 1 of 6 teams in the NCAA field with two players hitting better than 53.0% from the field (min. 200 FGA): Henry Coleman III (.532) and Julius Marble (.532).
FEARLESS “4″ ON A HEATER:
Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV enters the NCAA Tournament on a heater compared to his full season or SEC-only statistics.
Stat Since 2/7 Season SEC only
Scoring/G 20.5 16.5 16.9
3FG % .423 .368 .350
3-pointers/G 2.7 2.3 2.3
FT/G 7.6 4.9 5.2
FTA/G 8.4 5.6 5.7
Minutes/G 32.4 28.7 30.9
1,000-POINT GUARD TANDEMS
(NCAA Tournament Field)
The SEC’s top scoring guard tandem of Wade Taylor IV and Tyrece Radford are also one of 11 guard pairs in the Tournament field that have scored 1,000+ points. The Aggies will face the third-highest scoring guard tandem in Penn State’s Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy in the first round.
Rk. Players, School Points
1. Terquavion Smith/Jarkel Joiner, NCST 1,143
2. Phillip Russell/Chris Harris, SEMO 1,122
3. Jalen Pickett/Seth Lundy, Penn St. 1,114
4. Souley Boum/Colby Jones, Xavier 1,065
5. Daniss Jenkins/Walter Clayton Jr., Iona 1,055
6. Jaime Jaquez Jr./Tyger Campbell, UCLA 1,052
7. Demetre Roberts/Grant Singleton, FDU 1,040
8. Boogie Ellis/Drew Peterson, USC 1,024
9. Jarod Lucas/Kenan Blackshear, Nevada 1,014
10. Wade Taylor IV/Tyrece Radford, TAMU 1,012
11. Isaiah Wong/Jordan Miller, UM (Fla.) 1,006
HITTING THE FREEBIES
Wade Taylor IV, the SEC leader in free throw percentage at 87.5%, ranks No. 3 among players in the Tournament field with at least 150 FTA.
NCAA Tournament Field Free Throw % Leaders
(Minimum of 150 FT Attempts)
Rk Player, School FTM-FTA FT %
1. Max Abmas, Oral Roberts 156-170 .918
2. Markquis Nowell, Kansas State 162-183 .885
3. Wade Taylor IV, Texas A&M 168-192 .875
4. Souley Boum, Xavier 138-160 .863
5. Jarod Lucas, Nevada 149-173 .861
18. Tyrece Radford, Texas A&M 147-184 .799
While Texas A&M hasn’t participated in the NCAAs since 2018, four players on the Aggie roster have see action in the Big Dance.
- Julius Marble, a transfer from Michigan State, has seen action and played double-digit minutes in three NCAA Tournament games - vs. UCLA in 2021 and vs. Davidson and Duke in 2022.
- In three seasons at MSU, Marble faced the Aggies’ first round opponent Penn State four times with the Spartans winning twice and the Nittany Lions winning twice. On Feb. 15, 2022, Marble scored 14 points and had 8 rebounds in a road loss to PSU.
- Tyrece Radford played 45 minutes and scored 18 points in Virginia Tech’s overtime loss to Florida in the 2021 NCAA first round.
- Dexter Dennis, a transfer from Wichita State, saw action in the 2021 NCAA “First Four” vs. Drake.
- Khalen Robinson saw brief action against Vermont in Arkansas’ 2022 run to the Elite 8.
TOPS IN THE TOURNAMENT
The Aggies go to the free throw line an average of 25.3 times/game in 2022-23, which leads the NCAA Tournament field by nearly two FTA per game.
- Texas A&M is 1 of only 2 teams in the field with over 600 FTM (653) and one of two with 800 FTA (860).
- For the season, Texas A&M’s 19.2-25.3 FT-FTA average leads the nation. The team’s 653 total free throws is a school record (old mark of 594, 2008-09) and 860 FTA ranks No. 2 behind the 892 by the 2009-10 Aggies. A&M’s 75.9 FT% is on pace to break the record of 74.4% by the 1967-68 team.
- In 34 games, Texas A&M has gone to the line 25 or more times 20 times and hit 20 or more FTs 15 times.
NCAA Tournament Team Free Throw Leaders
(Sorted by FT Attempts)
Rk School FTM FTA
1. Texas A&M 19.2 25.3
2. Montana State 17.8 23.4
3. Southeast Missouri State 16.5 23.1
4. Alabama 16.6 22.9
5. West Virginia 16.9 22.8
FOLLOW THE ACTION:
- The game will be televised by TBS with Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Jim Jackson (analyst) and Allie LaForce (reporter) on the call.
- The matchup airs on the Texas A&M Radio Network or locally on 1620 AM/94.5 FM with Andrew Monaco and Dr. John Thornton calling the action.
Copyright 2023 KBTX. All rights reserved.