Game Preview: Texas A&M

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Who: Texas A&M vs. #22 Washington

Where: College Station, Texas.

When: Saturday @ 1:30pm

Coverage: ESPN2 and KJR 950AM

by: Griffin Bennett

The last true test awaits on Saturday before the Huskies can cruise to Pac-10 play. The Aggies are a well-coached team that wears down their opponents with hustle and fundamentals. They compare very favorably to the Tony Bennett Cougar teams from years past. They rank 27th nationally in rebounding while also being 9th in scoring defense. Those are two impressive numbers that have led them to an 8-1 start. Their schedule has been cake so far with their only impressive win coming against a disappointing Temple team. Let’s take a look at their players.

Aggies 101:

I still have nightmares about Derrick Roland’s leg. I was sitting in the stands on the baseline and you could hear his leg snap like a branch. He tried to pick it up and as his knee rose, his foot remained on the floor. A purely horrific sight. Roland has now graduated along with fellow co-star Donald Sloan. They might have lost their two best players, but their young guys have stepped nicely.

The Aggies spread the ball around really well. Their leading scorers are Khris Middleton (13.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.6 apg), David Loubeau (10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg), BJ Holmes (10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.1 apg), Nathan Walkup (9.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Nothing too scary in terms of numbers, but they maximize their possessions and their totals can be misleading.

Holmes and Walkup are their best 3 point shooters with averages of .42 and .52 respectively. They play a relatively deep bench with 10 players averaging 10+ minutes per game. This team is so vanilla that it’s hard to find anything interesting to write about them. They have a long home non-conference win streak! That’s about it.

Starting Line-up:

PG: B.J. Holmes – 5’11”

SG: Dash Harris – 6’1”

SF: Nathan Walkup – 6’7”

PF: Khris Middleton – 6’7”

C: David Loubeau – 6’8”

Keys to Victory:

  • Rebounding – The Aggies are not small and excel at rebounding, so boxing out and being physical down low will be huge. MBA needs to have a great defensive day because Holiday might struggle getting rebounds. If the Huskies get more rebounds, the game will surely go the Huskies way.
  • Pace – Just like against Bennett’s Cougs, the key is to play fast and get keep the from setting up their defense. My old coach used to tell me “Be the hammer not the nail.” That saying applies to these Huskies.
  • Perimeter shooting – The Dawgs need to continue making it rain. Moving off of the ball and hitting one of the myriad shooters can force their big out of the paint and open up the lanes. It’s important to widen their defense so that Gaddy, IT, Venoy can penetrate effectively.

Prediction:

This A&M team is good, just not Husky-good. The Dawg’s speed and depth can’t be slowed by a team like the Aggies and if the Huskies go fast, they win. Their college basketball’s Ricky Bobby. They’re going to shake-and-bake Saturday afternoon. Huskies win 83-69.