Team of the Week: Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M Men's Basketball
Texas A&M Men's Basketball | Image by Texas A&M Basketball/Twitter

A Texas A&M team is The Dallas Express Team of the Week for a second straight week.

The Aggies men’s basketball team is in the midst of the NCAA Tournament and has gone on quite the run over the last two weeks, reaching closer to its potential at the start of the season.

A&M entered last week’s SEC tournament in Nashville as ESPN’s projected “First Team Out” of the 68-team March Madness field but came up with big wins over Ole Miss and Kentucky to reach the SEC semifinals and earn a No.9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

After following that run with an impressive 98-83 win over Nebraska in the first round, which was never really a close game, the Aggies have won six of their last seven games and have a chance to reach the Sweet 16 in Dallas as they prepare to play No.1-seed Houston on Sunday night, a team to which A&M lost 70-66 in December.

“It’s two Texas teams trying to play in Texas next week,” A&M head coach Buzz Williams told the media on Saturday. “We’re just doing it in Memphis. Our group has been somewhat used to playing in road game environments, and I anticipate that’s what it’ll be tomorrow.”

Tyrece Radford, Wade Taylor IV, and Henry Coleman III were considered the team’s standout players to start the season and have played well throughout, but sophomore guard Manny Obaseki has really stepped up lately. Obaseki only averaged 6.7 points and 1.4 rebounds on the season and saw a massive decrease in playing time throughout the year, yet he has scored in double figures in each of the last eight games since rejoining the starting lineup — including 22 in the win over Nebraska.

“He’s just very diligent, and he’s very consistent. I know it’s not the sexiest thing to say, but I actually think part of why this has turned favorable for him is how he handled the failure,” Williams said of Obaseki. “He didn’t complain. He didn’t go meet with compliance and turn his name into the transfer portal. … There’s a level of respect that’s harder and harder to find. Players know when they’re being held accountable. Player to player, they know, and he never backed away from any of it. He has changed our team because he’s back on pace, but I actually think it’s turned back around because he wasn’t trying to dodge it.”

Texas A&M looks to continue its NCAA Tournament run against No.1 seed Houston in the South Region at 7:40 p.m. CT on Sunday. The winner will join Marquette and North Carolina State in the Sweet 16 in Dallas and face either James Madison or Duke on Friday.

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