Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark. might be Texas A&M’s least favorite place to play a basketball game. The site of the “fastest 40 minutes” of basketball has not treated the Aggies kindly since they joined the SEC, and Tuesday night was no different.
Arkansas handed the No. 5 Aggies their first loss of SEC play and snapped their 10-game winning streak with a hard-fought 74-71 victory. Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy conceded after the game that Bud Walton Arena is the hardest place to play in the SEC.
“I think here at their place – this place is the toughest place to play in our league,” Kennedy said according to Gatehouse Media’s Eric Bolin.
The Aggies succumbed to Arkansas’ fast pace of play for the third consecutive time. They committed 21 turnovers, shot a paltry 39.6 percent from the floor and led for only 34 seconds\.
“You can’t turn the ball over 21 times and expect to win in a tough place like this,” Kennedy said according to Bolin.
Arkansas presented Texas A&M’s biggest challenge in two weeks. The Aggies had breezed through their last three conference games by a combined margin of 61 points, but buckled under Arkansas’ frantic pressure. Kennedy said he could do a better job of preparing his team for crunch time situations.
There might be something in the water in Fayetteville that throws Texas A&M off of its game. Last season, Arkansas topped Texas A&M 81-75 and the Aggies proceeded to lose three of its next four games to miss the NCAA Tournament. The Razorbacks also got the best of the Aggies during the 2012-13 season in a 73-62 home victory.
Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson’s formula for beating the Aggies isn’t a complex one. Whatever it is, it has caused them fits as of late.
“It’s special,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to describe, it’s just two hours of organized chaos.”