The Lone Star Rivalry Returns to the Court
COLLEGE STATION - It's the game that now is talked about in the past tense. Once considered one of College Football's biggest rivalries, Texas against Texas A&M is still spoken in high regard despite the two teams not meeting in the past eight years.
On Sunday, fans will be able to relive the tradition once more, just not in the way all were hoping. The Aggies and Longhorns will meet for the first time since 2015 on the hardwood of Dickies Arena in Forth Worth for chance to bring back one of the game's forgotten rivalries
Despite both schools roster have never faced each other, they understand the importance of the rivalry. Bragging rights are on the line and who knows when either squad will receive a second chance to settle the score.
“I’ve always been on the Aggie side from day one, I try to tell [my teammates] it’s real," senior guard Wendell Mitchell said. "The rivalry’s real.”
This will be the second time the two foes have met on the court since A&M left for the SEC in 2012. In their 2015 matchup, the Aggies shocked the Longhorns, 84-73 in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.
New A&M coach Buzz Williams isn't shy to rivalry either. A former assistant in College Station from 2004-06, his final game at Reed Arena is one Aggie fans won't soon forget. A&M would lead the improbable comeback against No.6 Texas when Acie Law IV would drain a buzzer-beating 3-pointer for the 46-43 victory.
"'The Shot' Acie hit, everyone remembers that in Aggie lore," Williams said during his press conference Thursday afternoon.
Although the rivalry has disappeared, fans will be in attendance, hoping to see tempers flare. Homegrown talent, such as Mitchell, will need to teach some of his teammates about the bitter disdain. Six of A&M's 14 players aren't from the Lone Star State.
Williams stated that he would be teaching his players the importance of a win over their in-state rivals.
“I don’t think they know when we’re swaying back and forth that there’s a reference to t.u.,” Williams said. “So, I want to give them bits and pieces of the history.”
A win for A&M would mean more than bragging rights. Following a 3-1 start, the Aggies would lose three straight in the Orlando Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday. Sitting at 3-4, the team hopes to return to their winning ways in an area they're familiar with.
Guard Quenton Jackson believes that the team will need to take advantage of open lanes and deliver precise shots to win against the Longhorns.
"We've had a lot of wide-open shots and we just don't hit them," Jackson said. "That's the only reason we're in a slump."
The Aggies shot 31.6% from the field and made 25% of their 3-pointers during the team's three-game losing streak. Savion Flagg continues to lead the way offensively, averaging a team-high 10.7 points per game.
Rivalries will always bring out the best in players. It brings out the heat of fans. And with one such as significant as that of yesteryear, A&M and Texas will both be looking for the win.
It's more than just another win. It's a statement across the plains on who is in command when it comes to one of the greatest kept rivalries in sports.
The Aggies and Longhorns will tip-off at 2 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised on the Longhorn Network