Danuel House scored 20 and Tyler Davis added 15 points, including a couple of key second-chance buckets down the stretch, as No. 5 Texas A&M knocked off No. 14 Iowa State, 72-62.
This was a big win for an Aggie team that doesn’t get the same kind of hype as some of the nation’s other top ten programs. There are reasons for that — they’re not a name brand team, they didn’t have much hype in the preseason, they don’t have much in the way of star power, they play in a conference where football matters most everywhere other than Lexington — but it doesn’t change the fact that most people will see A&M with a No. 5 next to their name and think, ‘Really? I wonder who’s on that roster.’
Then today happened.
And the Aggies took down one of the most visible basketball programs in the country, picking off an Iowa State team that beat No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 4 Kansas in the last 13 days.
I’m not trying to say that this win should automatically make the Aggies the favorite to win the national title. Putting this into perspective, they beat a team ranked lower than them on their home floor on a night where that opponent’s best players either struggled shooting the ball (Monte’ Morris was 4-for-14) or dealt with foul trouble and a bruised hip (Georges Niang). In other words, no one that watched that game will definitively believe that Texas A&M is better than Iowa State.
But it was a marquee win that came on national television. It gave the nation a chance to see just how talented House is, how much of a handful Davis can be on the block, how difficult it is for opposing forwards to matchup with Jalen Jones.
They earned some respect on Saturday, which is almost as important as the conference landing another high-profile win in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. That may not seem significant, but big non-conference wins like this help the computer profile of the league as a whole.
All in all, it was a good Saturday in College Station, as Texas A&M entered with some question marks and left as the definitive favorite to win the SEC.