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Friday, March 19, 2010
Battle of the Brazos III still on course

By Jeff Caplan

NEW ORLEANS -- The No. 5-seed Texas A&M Aggies looked strong Friday in their NCAA tournament-opening win over Utah State in Spokane, Wash.

The Aggies to widespread production starting with impressive freshman Khris Middleton, who scored a team-high 19 points and make 5-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line.

And so after Round 1, the anticipated Battle of the Brazos in the Bayou City remains a possibility. A&M and the No. 3-seed Baylor Bears both passed their first tests and are each one victory away from a Sweet 16 spot at Houston's Reliant Stadium, and two wins away from a monumental showdown to move on to the Final Four.

A&M and Baylor split the season series with each winning on their home floor.

The Bears are up next with a second-round matchup Saturday agianst No. 11 Old Dominion at 4:50 p.m. The Aggies will practice on Saturday in preparation for No. 4-seed Purdue, which plays on after a win over No. 13 Siena despite missing star Robbie Hummel.

The Bears are favored to make the program's first Sweet 16 and without Hummel, the versatile Aggies will be a tough out as they seek a second Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons.