A&M can solve 2 issues with one Dash

Texas A&M point guard Dash Harris is going to try to play Friday when the No. 5 Aggies open the NCAA tounament against No. 12 Utah State in Spokane, Wash.

Harris missed both Big 12 tournament games with a bone bruise on the outside of his right wrist. A&M coach Mark Turgeon said Harris saw a hand specialist on Saturday and returned to practice on Monday. Harris' wrist won't be pain-free, but the 6-foot-1 sophomore from Los Angeles will just have to deal with that.

His return helps the Aggies in two key areas: defensive pressure and offensive balance. Harris typically guards the opponent's top scoring guard, and with the ball in his hands he sets up A&M's halfcourt offense which allows B.J. Holmes, Harris' replacement in Kansas City, to concentrate more on scoring off the bench.

"Offensively, we flow better," Turgeon said.

Turgeon believes the Aggies are a different defensive team with Harris on the floor. A&M allowed opponents to shoot 41.1 percent during the regular season, so Turgeon was displeased in Kansas City after Nebraskas shot 50 percent and Kansas shot 56 percent. In their regular-season matchups, A&M limited Nebraska to 37 percent, while Kansas shot just 43.5 percent, using a late to run to overcome the Aggies.

"If we want to have any chance this weekend," Turgeon said, "we need to have Dash back and healthy."