Texas A&M aims for respect in first NCAA tourney since 2011

Texas A&M guard Danuel House smiles during a news conference on a practice day for a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
AP

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Texas A&M has lived up to its lofty expectations in coach Billy Kennedy's fifth season, making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

Now the third-seeded Aggies (26-8), picked in the preseason to finish third in the Southeastern Conference, hope to stick around for a while when they open against Green Bay on Friday.

Led by seniors Danuel House and Jalen Jones, Texas A&M overcame some midseason struggles to close the season by winning eight straight games before a loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship.

The Aggies will face a Phoenix team that earned its spot in the tournament by winning the Horizon League Tournament. It's the first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years for No. 14 seed Green Bay (23-12), which is led by first-year coach Linc Darner.