Texas A&M will face the Texas Longhorns in a rivalry matchup in the newest installment of the Lone Star Showdown.
This will be the first regular-season meeting between the Aggies and the Longhorns since Nov. 25, 2015 when A&M defeated Texas in the quarterfinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis. With the high tension of a rivalry game looming over both teams, the Aggies look to overcome a recent three-game losing streak while the Longhorns are on the opposite end of the spectrum with three consecutive wins.
A&M has struggled since Thanksgiving week, dropping games to Harvard, Temple, and Fairfield in the Orlando Invitational. The Aggies now have a 3-4 record and are relying on young players to turn the season around. A&M also lost junior guard TJ Starks to the transfer portal after a string of suspensions, further limiting the Aggies’ roster depth.
Junior guard Quenton Jackson said his team needs to be more aggression to overcome its slump.
“I honestly think that as a team we need to fight more,” Jackson said. “We don’t have enough fight in us yet, so when we come out we got to be ready to give 100 percent effort to the game, and be ready to rip the other team’s head off. We got to come out with some energy, some controlled energy though.
Despite these issues, coach Buzz Williams and his players seem to be embracing the opportunity to play a fierce rival in the Longhorns. Williams said he has been preparing his team to face Texas by informing them of the history of the rivalry, while some of his players from the state are helping to explain the significance of the game to out-of-state players.
“I want to give them a little bit of history,” Williams said. “Not just of men’s basketball, but just the rivalry in general. I don’t think they [out-of-state players] know when we’re swaying back and forth that there’s a reference to t.u., so I want to give them bits and pieces of the history, and kind of have it planned out.”
Senior guard Wendell Mitchell said he has always been a big fan of the rivalry between A&M and Texas.
“I told them that it’s important that we win this game,” Mitchell said. “It’s huge to me honestly, being an hour from Austin and an hour from College Station. I’ve always been on the Aggies side from day one, so I try to tell them it’s real. The rivalry’s real.”
The Longhorns will provide a challenge to the Aggies, as they are currently 7-1 and lead the Big 12 Conference. Texas has won three straight against UAB, McNeese State, and California.
The Lone Star Showdown will be hosted in Dickies Arena in Fort Worth on Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ABC.