Expectations were as high as they have ever been for both Texas A&M football and basketball in 2011, with the Aggies projected as a pre-season contender for the Big 12 title in both sports.
However, just as the football team sunk to a disappointing 7-6 finish, the basketball team has dramatically under-performed pre-season expectations.
The transition to new coach Billy Kennedy's system became far more difficult when it was revealed that the former Murray State coach would miss the entire pre-season while battling with the onset of the early stages of Parkinson's Disease. On the court, star SF Khris Middleton, a pre-season first-team All Big 12 pick who would have likely been a first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, has struggled with a knee injury that has robbed him of his explosiveness and kept him in and out of the line-up all season long.
As a result, Texas A&M has struggled to a 3-7 conference record, ahead of only Texas Tech in the Big 12 basement.
However, just like the football team, they have a chance to ruin Texas' season when the Longhorns make their final trip to College Station Monday night.
Texas, at 4-6 in the conference, has struggled integrating six freshmen into their rotation and is only a game up on the Aggies. A loss to Texas A&M may effectively ruin their chances at being on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Both teams have played better in recent weeks, pushing Big 12 favorites Baylor and Kansas State to the brink in tough road losses, but neither has been able to break through for a signature victory.
Barring a re-match in the Big 12 Tournament, Monday's contest could be the last basketball game between the two programs for a very long time. And while it won't take the sting out of Texas dramatic 27-25 victory in Kyle Field which cost head coach Mike Sherman his job, Aggies fans would certainly enjoy ending Rick Barnes streak of 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
With Middleton and point guard Dash Harris still out with injuries, Texas A&M will try to slow the pace of the game to a crawl and pound the ball inside to David Loubeau, as they don't have the firepower to match the Longhorns improving young back-court in a shoot-out.