The A&M women's basketball team can take the half-empty or half-full approach to the NCAA tournament.
First the half-full. A&M gets a first-timer in North Dakota in the first round, then likely will catch Gonzaga in the second round. Gonzaga is a solid program but doesn't play in a power conference. There's also the revenge factor. Gonzaga beat A&M four years ago.
And if the Aggies take care of business at home when they arrive in Lincoln, Neb., more than likely second-seeded Duke will be waiting. Duke, which has lost five guards this season, can be beat.
Now for the half-empty. With top-ranked Connecticut in the region everyone else is playing for second, probably a distant second. Little hope of reaching the Final Four can create a defeatist attitude.
Bottom line: A&M needs to embrace the thought of meeting Uconn, much like it treated Baylor in 2011. It wasn't about Baylor, it was about the Aggies. A&M focused on each opponent, rolling through them, talking about Baylor as they advanced. It can do the same this year because Uconn will be waiting.
A&M needs to play Uconn this year, next year, and the year after that, adopting that time of attitude.
A&M will have to lean heavily on its fans to sell tickets. James Madison which is located in Harrisonburg, Va., is the closest of the three teams sent here, 1,293 miles away. That's just a little closer than North Dakota located in Grand Forks, N.D., which is 1,322 miles from College Station. Then there's Gonzaga located in Spokane, Wash., a whopping 2,031 miles away.
It's payback time for Gonzaga which had stayed home for the initial rounds for the last five years, including 2010 when the Zags beat A&M in the second round in Seattle.
“I'm going to guess that half to three-quarters of my team has never been to Texas,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves told the Spokesman-Review. “How can we complain when we've played five straight NCAA's in the state of Washington?”
Kudos to A&M women's basketball coach Gary Blair for picking the 64-team field, so did ESPN's Charlie Creme. Creme does a great job and I enjoy his bracketology, but it's hard to seed and place the teams, almost impossible.
Creme had 17 teams in the right region and two of them were locks (Stanford, Notre Dame). He had 37 of the teams seeded correctly, including A&M. He typically missed by only one. His biggest miss was BYU (a 12, he had them a No. 9). He also had James Madison as a No. 9, two off.