It’s Senior Night in Auburn, Alabama. It’s truly the end of an era with 5 players playing their final game in Auburn Arena tonight. The opponent is Texas A&M who I will admit haven’t watched a whole lot of this season. So I figured it would be a good time to do a Q&A to learn more about the Aggies. My thanks to gigthem08 from our sister site from Texas A&M Good Bull Hunting for joining me to answer my questions.
1. First of all, it’s our first look at Buzz Williams as Head Coach of the Aggies. Personally, I think he has done a fantastic job considering the expectation level for Texas A&M this year. Just talk about the impact he has made in his first year at the helm?
On the court, the difference is extraordinary. Buzz is flying around on the sidelines, we’re playing really hard defensively, and you can tell there’s complete buy-in from the entire roster. That was my most important goal in year one, and we nailed it. Off the court, the difference is almost as stark. Kennedy didn’t exactly hold the most interesting press conferences, while Buzz seems truly invested in making sure the fans understand his preparation (and his thoughts on the results) at the conclusion of each game. We’re a program that has struggled to acquire support at times, so it really helps to have someone charismatic off the floor.
2. I have not watched a ton of Aggies Hoops this year but if you would have been told before the season, and then after going 0-3 at a Thanksgiving Tournament in Orlando, that A&M would enter the final week of the year 8-8 in the SEC, what would you have thought about that?
I would have laughed you out of the room. The mood around College Station was dire after that loss to Fairfield, as some (myself included) were wondering if we really needed to blow it up to that extent to achieve our desired results. And the metrics... my word. A handful of models were calling us the worst team in P6 basketball, and one in particular had us almost 100 spots below the next worst P6 team. We now know that it was all worth it, but that was an interesting couple of weeks on the message boards, to say the least.
3. The Aggies seem to play just as well, if not better on the road than they do in College Station, is there any particular reason for that?
They appear to thrive on energy in the building, even if that energy is directed against them. Our extremely slow start sent large portions of our fanbase into “wait for next year” mode, and it’s been a slow grind to get those people to recognize this season’s improvement. Our last two home games have had better support, so hopefully that can translate to next season.
4. Last year’s leading scorer, Savion Flagg and Josh Nebo are the two guys that lead the Aggies in scoring this year. Just talk about their development and how they have evolved in their first season under Buzz?
These guys have had two very different seasons. Nebo has been solid as a rock all season, but Flagg has had some pretty significant fluctuations. We appear to be in an upswing, however, as he’s 10-12 from beyond the arc in his last two games. He’s starting to show the form that made him a preseason All-SEC 2nd team selection, and he’ll have to continue to do so if we’re going to have a chance in this one.
5. A&M has won in Tuscaloosa and they have won in Knoxville. What does A&M have to do tonight in order to have a chance to win in Auburn? Do you have a score prediction?
Honestly, my prediction for this one ain’t great. The Tigers are looking to put a bow on an undefeated season at home, and I can tell that’s something y’all take very seriously. Pearl has built a great environment over there, and I imagine Senior Night will only heighten the festivities. We’re going to do our best to slow this sucker down and try to win a rock fight, but I don’t think it’s in the cards.
Prediction: Auburn 74, Texas A&M 65