Basketball at A&M?

No, really, Texas A&M really does have a basketball program! Two of ’em even—men’s and women’s!

Now granted, both programs are a far cry from their respective hey-days (the late ’70s to early ’80s for the men, the early- to mid-’90s for the women), but both programs are slowly but steadily climbing out of their doldrums under the guidance of gung-ho coaches Billy Gillespie (men) and Gary Blair (women).

Though in the men’s case, maybe not so slowly, as Gillespie—in his first year as coach of the Aggies and just one season removed from last year’s 7-21 disaster—and the Aggies upset #10 Texas last night in College Station, 74-63. The win ended an 18-game Big 12 conference losing streak for A&M and was only the fourth win in A&M’s history over a top 10 team.

I was actually a bit surprised by the last bit, but the truth is the only other wins over top 10 foes were:

  • 1978–79 (at #3 Arkansas)
  • 1979–80 (at #10 Indiana)
  • 1982–83 (at #5 Texas)

In fact, it was only the 10th win over a top 15 opponent in history; the others:

  • 1978–79 (#15 UNLV, at #11 Kentucky, #11 Arkansas)
  • 1979–80 (#15 North Carolina)
  • 1986–87 (#15 TCU)
  • 1999–2000 (#12 Oklahoma State)

(Like I said, those teams from the late ’70s were studs.)

The Aggies are now 12-1 for the season (1-1 in Big XII play), the best start for A&M in 45 years. Coupled with A&M’s narrow loss on the road to #2-ranked Kansas, not too shabby for what Sports Illustrated, at the time, called “the worst 11-0 team in history”. (Which only reinforces what’s already known: SI doesn’t know what the hell it’s talking about anymore. Think of it as the Entertainment Tonight—minus John Tesh—of sports.)