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Gotera: Aggies ready to make some noise in "Big Dance"

Gotera: Aggies ready to make some noise in

Credit: AP

Texas A&M head coach Mark Turgeon looks on the sidelines during the second half of a NCAA college basketball game against Colorado on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

by Daniel Gotera / 11 Sports

Posted on March 18, 2011 at 1:05 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 18 at 10:58 AM

CHICAGO – I am going to say it right now…Texas A&M got real lucky with their NCAA draw.

No, I don’t mean that they get to play Florida State. That is tough. I mean WHERE they will get to play them.

Chicago truly is a great city. These folks up here love their basketball and they like to show off their success.

The only problem is the NCAA doesn’t really much care for it.

I spent 20-30 minutes chatting with the guys of Texas A&M, asking them what it would feel like to take the floor inside "The House Jordan Built". They, of course were excited to see all the banners in the rafters and feel that Bulls championship spirit.However, when they walked on the floor and looked up…all that they could see were black curtains…


Now, I know they want to make sure this is an NCAA event, but seriously, covering the banners? So, is Michael Jordan’s retired number going to distract B.J Holmes? I was shocked…

The players didn’t seem to care as much as I did, which is a good thing. They were running through an open practice session and the Aggies looked loose, relaxed and ready to right last year’s wrongs.

David Loubeau and Khris Middleton told me before shoot-around that last year’s loss to Purdue in the second round (which is now the third, but used to be the second and still should be the second…) stayed with them for a while.

This year, this team was left for dead, which was also a shock to me because they returned several key pieces. They have played with a chip on their shoulder and I think whether or not Seminoles star Chris Singleton plays really won’t be a factor.

After being around them the last day or so, you can sense this particular group wants to make a splash.

And if they did, well, that would be the first thing NOT to shock me on this trip so far.