Texas A&M basketball (11-1) will begin their conference schedule on the road against Alabama. Here’s what you need to know for this game.
Texas A&M basketball has looked impressive in their first 12 games of the season. They’ve successfully navigated their way through a tough non-conference schedule, and have been rewarded with the No. 5 ranking for doing so. They’ll be looking to build on that momentum as they begin conference play.
Alabama is a much better team than their 8-4 record suggests. They have the talent of a top 25 team. The Crimson Tide are coming off of what was essentially a home loss to an unranked Texas team. This will be their SEC home opener, and they’ll be hungry for a win against a top five opponent to keep their tournament hopes alive.
Here’s how to watch Texas A&M take on Alabama:
Date: Saturday, Dec. 30
Time: 6:00 p.m. ET
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Venue: Coleman Coliseum
TV: ESPN 2
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Keys to Victory
Alabama is led by their young but talented backcourt, which is headlined by Collin Sexton. He’s projected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA draft. So far he’s done nothing to suggest otherwise. He is Alabama’s primary ball handler and go to guy. He’s not an elite defender, but he more than makes up for it with his ability on offense. If Alabama needs a bucket late, expect this guy to have the ball in his hands.
The other notable member of the Crimson Tide’s backcourt is freshman guard John Petty. For those who are unaware, Petty made headlines earlier this year for making 10 three-point field goals in a single game against Alabama A&M. But don’t let that fool you, Petty is not just a pure three-point marksman, he, like Sexton, is an elite scorer. Thankfully for Texas A&M, he has cooled down from beyond the arc as of late, shooting just 37 percent from three on the season.
The Aggies will have their hands full with these two. It’s certainly the most talented backcourt they’ve faced this year. And it doesn’t help that Texas A&M is missing their best on-ball defender in Admon Gilder who is currently out with a knee injury. They will also be without their leading scorer DJ Hogg, who will be sitting out the second game of his three game suspension.
Despite being on the road and missing two of their key players, Texas A&M has more than enough fire power to win this match up. Alabama may have the better backcourt on paper, but Texas A&M undoubtedly has the better frontcourt, even without Hogg. The Crimson Tide do not have a player who matches up well with either Tyler Davis or Robert Williams. If Davis can continue his offensive dominance, and Williams the same on defense, the Aggies will be in good shape.
Now that they are the No. 5 team in the nation, Texas A&M will have a target on their back. The Alabama crowd will surely be rowdy, making this a tough environment for the Aggies. I predict that the crowd will help Bama to keep it close, with Texas A&M ultimately pulling away late.
Prediction: Texas A&M 67, Alabama 59