The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

What would a move to the SEC mean for Texas A&M basketball?

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

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Right now, there's still nothing more than the words of unnamed, high-ranking sources floating around via several reports, but it seems highly likely that in the next 72 hours, Texas A&M could find itself moving from the Big 12 to the SEC.

As was the case when the conference landscape shifted some a year ago, football is helping drive the bus, and even more schools could change leagues in a domino effect if the Aggies do in fact bolt.

Lost in the mix is what will happen to A&M's fledgling men's basketball program, which next season will have a new head coach in Billy Kennedy and be gunning for its seventh consecutive NCAA tournament berth.

It might be tough for A&M's football program to establish itself as a powerhouse in the SEC West, which includes heavyweights such as Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU. But fortunately for the hoops program, the foes will be mostly just that — football schools.

Take a look at the SEC West from last season. Only two of the six teams finished with winning records in league play (Alabama and barely Mississippi State) and none of them made the NCAA tournament even with an expanded field (though Alabama had a strong argument and ultimately went on to reach the NIT title game).

Alabama is without question a program on the rise under Anthony Grant, Mississippi State always has strong talent and Arkansas should be turned around in a few years with Mike Anderson now at the helm. LSU, Auburn and Ole Miss are, at best, simply middle-of-the-road programs right now.

In other words, if the move happens, A&M likely won't rule the SEC hardwood as a whole, with the East currently pretty loaded, but it could come in and potentially own the league's West division right away. The division is far from a murderer's row, and should stay that way for at least a couple more years. {YSP:MORE}

Just a week ago, Kennedy and his staff took in a commitment from four-star point guard J-Mychal Reese, who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 59 prospect in the 2012 class. It was just another in a recent long line of top-flight gets for the program out of the Houston area. Clearly, that pipeline won't be drying up after the coaching change.

Two days later came a commitment from one of the 2013 class's top guards in Chicago's Kendrick Nunn. Kennedy made a wise hire by bringing in ace recruiter Glynn Cyprien on as his associate head coach, and the talent level in College Station should remain strong as long as they're there.

Since its first tourney berth in the current run in 2006, the program has changed hands twice, with Billy Gillispie (Kentucky) and Mark Turgeon (Maryland) both moving on to traditional powers. Still, there have been no down years over that time, which speaks to the program's current stability.

The talks of the move have plenty to do with Texas A&M wanting to be out from under Texas's shadow (which sounds fairly ridiculous and petty to many). Football-wise, A&M may want to be careful what it wishes for, as life on the gridiron in the SEC could prove to be much more treacherous than it's been in the Big 12.

But the basketball program's success has been steady, and a move to the SEC would hardly hinder that.

Ryan Greene also covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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