Texas A&M basketball (11-4) travels to Lexington to take on No. 17 Kentucky on Tuesday, January 9 at Rupp Arena in an SEC conference showdown.
If I told you a couple of weeks ago that No. 11 Texas A&M – who at that time was 7-1 with all seven wins coming by double digits – would start 0-3 in SEC play, you probably wouldn’t believe me. And with good reason. The Aggies peaked at No. 5 in the AP Top 25 poll, tying the highest ranking in program history.
Since a 67-64 loss at Arizona though, the Aggies have struggled a bit. Much of that is due to the fact that this team, at the halfway point of the season, still hasn’t played a game with a full roster. Injuries and suspensions have slowed down an otherwise incredible start for Texas A&M.
The Aggies have a legitimate chance to win the SEC this season, but self-inflicted wounds are making it harder than it should be. Texas A&M (11-4, 0-3) has back-to-back road games this week, starting with a big time match up against No. 17 Kentucky at Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats (12-3, 2-1) are perennial contenders in the SEC and the NCAA Tournament and this season is no different. They are coming off a surprising loss at home to No. 23 Tennessee. The Aggies have got to find an SEC win somewhere, and fast.
How to watch
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 9
Time: 6 p.m. CST
Location: Lexington, KY
Venue: Rupp Arena
Keys to Victory
I’m going to be upfront here: it’s going to be very hard for the Aggies to get a win here, regardless of the fact that the Wildcats were just upset at home. Things will be particularly tough if Admon Gilder and Duane Wilson are out for the Aggies. Getting DJ Hogg back for the LSU game was big, and a big plus for the Kentucky game is that Robert Williams should be back. He missed the LSU game due to illness and the difference that made was obvious.
The Wildcats have five players averaging double-digit points this season, four of whom are starters. Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo are each averaging north of 14 points per game. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 12.2. PJ Washington and Quade Green are each averaging 10-plus.
The Aggies help defense has been good this season and they’re going need it to slow down Kentucky. Getting stops and turning that into points are a must for the Aggies this week. The Wildcats are a big team, too: the shortest player is 6-foot. Getting Robert Williams back will be a huge help.
A lot of how this game goes will depend on how long and how much the Aggies can depend on Admon Guilder and Duane Wilson for, if at all. The Aggies hang for a bit, but ultimately their health (or lack thereof) comes back to bite them once again.