Team preview: Texas A&M

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 5:29 PM ET
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Editor's Note: Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, long known as the Bible of college basketball, to provide a comprehensive look at all 326 Division I teams.


If there was ever a coach considered to be a perfect fit for Texas A&M, it's 45-year-old Billy Clyde Gillispie.

The Aggies' new boss, who replaced Melvin Watkins, is a native Texan who built a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the Southwest while serving as an assistant at Tulsa and Illinois under current Kansas coach Bill Self.

That's important for a school that set a dubious school-record by losing its final 17 games last year, hasn't had a winning season in a decade, and has missed out on the NCAA Tournament 17 consecutive times.

Gillispie is the type that thrives on the challenge of turning yet another program around, and excels in doing the impossible. Quick evidence points to his most recent stint at UTEP, where he took the downtrodden Miner program from worst to first in the WAC in just two years.