Texas A&M (14-1, 1-0) hosts OSU (13-12, 1-0) Wednesday night at 7.
OKLAHOMA STATE: As we mentioned earlier in the weekly poll, the story for Oklahoma State is the potential emergence of sophomore forward JP Olukemi. He totaled 22 points and 11 rebounds against a Kansas State front line that ought to be pretty good even when Curtis Kelly isn’t there. He and Marshall Moses will have to carry much of the rebounding responsibility so that the Cowboys aren’t dominated following missed shots. Ray Penn (5’9″) and Keiton Page (5’10”) together make the Cowboys’ backcourt extremely small.
TEXAS A&M: The No. 14 Aggies have been excellent in two distinct areas this year: rebounding and defense. Four significant players (David Loubeau, Khris Middleton, Nathan Walkup and Naji Hibbert) are at least 6’6″. This has likely helped them defensively, as taller players are naturally harder to shoot over and they can also force more turnovers with good fundamentals. Teams must not waste possessions against the Aggies, who allow less than 60 points per game so far this season.
They are also an outstanding rebounding team, ranking 2nd nationally behind Pitt for rebounding margin. The opponents will get stronger, sure, but A&M should have a distinct advantage on the glass against Oklahoma State and again on Saturday against Missouri. What’s also nice is that no one player gets all the rebounds for A&M.
I think Oklahoma State will have to shoot a high percentage to win this game. They will be challenged if Texas A&M extends his defense out, because of the possibilities of deflections and turnovers. Inside, Marshall Moses is a strong player who can impact this game with some help. Being on the road will not help the Cowboys much, though any talent disparity between the teams is pretty small.
I’d guess A&M wins a game in the 60s, by maybe eight or ten points.