Aggies, Horns to hoop it up in Fort Worth
Texas A&M's non-conference basketball slate for 2019-20 hasn't been fully released, but one opponent is definitely on it: Texas.
Dickies Arena in Fort Worth is scheduled to open in November, and one of the first events the 14,000-seat facility will host will be a matchup between the hated rivals, who have only played a handful of times since 2012. The news of the renewal of the Lonestar Showdown was made by the arena's staff by Twitter Friday morning.
Both teams are coming off disappointing 2018-19 seasons. The Aggies went 14-18 and missed the postseason, and fired coach Billy Kennedy shortly afterward. He was replaced by Buzz Williams, who has revamped A&M's 2019 signing class and now has it in the top 15 nationally.
Texas, which came into 2018-19 with high hopes, ended up 21-16 and missed the NCAA Tournament. It did, however, win the NIT. The Longhorns' top player, C Jaxson Hayes, declared for early entry to the NBA Draft and will not return.
Both sides said they were ready to face off on the hardwood.
“I’ve seen the Texas A&M-Texas rivalry first-hand, so I know how important this game is to our players, coaches and fans,” first-year Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “We’re also excited about getting the opportunity to play in front of our Metroplex alumni in the new Dickies Arena. This is one of those games that generates passion from both sides and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
For Texas coach Shaka Smart, this will be the first time he has coached against A&M in a regular season game.
“This is a terrific opportunity to renew an important rivalry for the fans in the great state of Texas,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “We’re excited about the chance to play in a first-class arena in front of our fans in the Metroplex.”
The last time the Aggies and Longhorns played in a regular season game was 2015, when A&M beat Texas 84-73 in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. The two teams played in exhibition game at Rice University's Tudor Fieldhouse in 2017 to raise funds for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts; Texas won that game 73-69.