Another senior season for Roland?: Odds are against it happening, but Texas A&M is applying for a medical redshirt for injured senior Derrick Roland.
Roland broke his leg in the 12th game of the season and played over the NCAA's 30-percent limit of team games, which nullifies an automatic medical redshirt. But A&M and Roland can still apply for the extra season and plead their case, something A&M head coach Mark Turgeon said they will do when the season is over.
"He's always thought about it, but the thing about it is there is no guarantee," Turgeon said. "Let's just say we're going to try to get him a redshirt year. I'm not going to sit here and fight it in the media. It's something we are going to try. He wants to try but we are fighting and uphill battle on this one."
Turgeon said if Roland wasn't going to pursue the extra season, he would have let Roland on the floor at the end of A&M's Senior Night game against Oklahoma State.
Roland expects to be able to work out in May.
Exceeding expectations: Turgeon may have loads of confidence in his No. 23 Aggies, but it wasn't long ago he, with help from his brother, was counting Big 12 victories in hopes of getting to eight this season.
"I just remember sitting with about 5 minutes to go in the Nebraska game here at home and thinking, 'Oh, boy, I hope we can win this game,'" Turgeon said. "We were still trying to find ourselves. It was our third game without [Roland], and we couldn't make a jump shot."
After beating Nebraska, Turgeon got a congratulatory text from his brother. Turgeon texted back, telling his brother his concern of finishing .500 in the Big 12, so every time A&M won, Turgeon would get a text indicating how many more wins he needed to get to eight.
"We got to eight quick," Turgeon said.
A&M reached eight victories 12 games into its conference season, finishing at 11-5.
Turgeon happy to see Sloan, Davis get due: Senior guard Donald Sloan made first team All-Big 12, and senior forward Bryan Davis made third team.
"For Sloan to make first team, that makes it all worth while for me," Turgeon said. "And Bryan Davis to be recognized, those two have had unbelievable years, and you don't win 11 [Big 12] games unless you have good players. That's the bottom line."
Some thought Turgeon would be named Big 12 Coach of the Year for leading a team picked to finish fifth to a tie for second.
"Ten years ago I'd have been really mad about things [like that] because I know what we accomplished," Turgeon said. "I was one of those kids that starved for attention. Now the less I get the better."
Getting better on the glass: A&M went from an average rebounding team to the fourth best in the Big 12 in rebounding margin at plus 4.4.
A&M outrebounded its opponents in eight of its last nine games, a period marked by the switch of David Loubeau for Nathan Walkup in the starting lineup.
"I don't know how it happened," Turgeon said. "This was the worst rebounding team I ever had, and like a switch ... it might have been as simple as saying, 'David, you are starting. Nate, you are coming off the bench.'"
The emergence of 6-foot-8 freshman Ray Turner also helped A&M on the glass, as did simply playing better basketball.
"We started shooting the ball better, and we started defending a bit better, so it meant less shots for them to rebound and more for us to rebound," Turgeon said.
Closer to home: Turgeon is still a favorite in Lawrence, Kan., which is 40 miles from Kansas City and this year's Big 12 Championship. The former Jayhawk starting point guard says Kansas City is a great place to host the tournament, but as much as he appreciates the area, he would like for it to be in Texas.
"I'm ready for it to be in Dallas again soon," he said. "It's out of my control, but it would sure be nice to play a postseason game in Texas."
Notes around the Big 12: Baylor (11-5) reached double-digits in conference wins for the first time in the Big 12. It's also the first time the Bears earned a first-round bye; they're the No. 3 seed. ... The Bears' Ekpe Udoh broke the Big 12 single season mark in blocks for all games (123) and conference games (57). ... Iowa State's Marquis Gilstrap was the lone Big 12 player to average double-digits in scoring (15.3) and rebounding (10.3) in conference games. He did not make the All-Big 12 team. ... Kansas is one victory away from becoming the third school to win 2,000 games, joining Kentucky and North Carolina. ... Missouri leads the nation in steals per game at 11.1. The Tigers have 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes a game and have had eight different players lead them in scoring. ... Oklahoma State's Keiton Page has made 23 consecutive free throws and 39 of his last 40. ... A&M led the Big 12 in scoring defense (65.8) for the first time. ... On Thursday, Texas' Damion James broke the Big 12 record for games played with 138. Kansas' Aaron Miles had held the record.
-- Richard Croome
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