The Texas A&M basketball team heads to Kansas on Saturday to take on the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks in a Big 12-SEC Showdown. The Jayhawks lead the series 20-1.
The Texas A&M basketball team heads to Lawrence, Kansas this weekend to take on the fifth ranked Jayhawks in a battle of former Big 12 foes.
Texas A&M is coming off of another disappointing conference loss, having fallen to LSU in Baton Rouge 77-65. The Aggies came out flat and never got anything going. The loss dropped the Aggies to 2-6 in conference play.
In some ways, a break from conference action might be nice, but maybe not if it means having to go into Allen Fieldhouse to try to take down one of college basketball’s perineal powerhouses.
The No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks (16-4, 9-3) come into the game having just dropped a close game to Trae Young and Oklahoma. Even with the loss to a very good Oklahoma team the Jayhawks still sit atop the Big 12 standings, one game ahead of West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
The Jayhawks are unquestionably in the top-tier of the Big 12 just as they always have been. Here is what you need to know about this game.
How to Watch
Date: Saturday, January 27
Time: 3:30 p.m. CT
Venue: Allen Fieldhouse
Location: Lawrence, KS
Keys to Victory
I’ll start by saying this – Allen Fieldhouse can be one of the most intimidating places to play in college basketball. If you let the Jayhawks run away with the game, the Kansas fans will start their somber “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” chant and the result is chilling. Even I have to admit though that it is also one of the coolest traditions in college basketball (as long as it isn’t happening to your team).
If you think Kyle Field is loud and intimidating on Saturdays, Allen Fieldhouse can be just as loud and intimidating during basketball season.
The Aggies will have to find a way to keep the crowd out of the game. That means feeding big men Tyler Davis and Robert Williams and continually taking high percentage shots. Getting Williams involved on the defensive side of the ball will be big too.
A couple of blocks and a couple of alley oops from Williams could do a lot to keep the crowd under control.
The Aggie shooters are going to have to get going as well. Admon Gilder and DJ Hogg were a combined 2-14 for five points against LSU. Both Davis and Williams had double-doubles against the Tigers, but clearly they can’t do it all themselves.
For the Jayhawks, all five starters average double digits. Senior guard Devonte Graham leads the way with 17.8 points per game.
The Jayhawks don’t rebound quite as well as the Aggies – they’re averaging 36 per game compared to the Aggies’ 42 – but they make their shots count. Their team field goal percentage this season is a tick below 50 percent. The Aggies make roughly 45 percent of their shots.
The second chance points – and the chance to steal extra possessions away from the Jayhawks – will be there, but the Aggies will have to capitalize on the opportunities when they arise. They can’t waste extra possessions with quick shots, turnovers, and three-point attempts from post players.
In 2007, the No. 10 Aggies went into Allen Fieldhouse and knocked off the No. 6 Jayhawks 69-66 thanks to a buzzer beating three from Aggie legend Acie Law IV.
That was the first time any team from the Big 12 South had beaten Kansas in Lawrence since the Big 12 was formed in 1996. That is also the only time Texas A&M has ever beaten Kansas. They are 1-20 dating back to 1967. If the Aggies can pull off the upset, it will be a truly historic win.
In that game, four of the five Aggie starters scored double-digit points. It will take a similar herculean effort – from everyone on the floor – for the Aggies to go into Lawrence and walk away with a win again.
On paper, the Aggies have all of the pieces to be a contender both in this game and in the SEC. For whatever reason that hasn’t translated to the floor since conference play began.
The Jayhawks are a better three-point shooting team than the Aggies, so besides getting those 50/50 balls the Aggies will need to avoid giving the Jayhawk shooters open looks from three to stay in the game. It will take a team effort for the Aggies to pick up a W this weekend.
Prediction: Kansas 87, Texas A&M 60
**all stats come from ESPN.com**