It was just two weeks ago that these two teams faced off to see who is the best in Texas. Now, the Longhorns are not just the best team in the state of Texas, but the best team in the whole Big 12 conference. Meanwhile, the Aggies have struggled a little since then, and their struggles finally led to a tough loss against Nebraska on Saturday.
Tonight’s Big Monday game represents one of the last times this season Texas won’t be favored to win. Even if they win tonight, I won’t pick them to go undefeated in conference play, but I will sure believe it’s possible. For Texas A&M, they could use this game to get them back on track, and the loss will probably mean they can finish no higher than third in conference.
Last time these two teams played, Texas wrote the script on how to beat the Aggies. Pound them inside, beat them on the boards, and force their guards to shoot jump shots. Khris Middleton held his own last time, but the rest of the Aggies struggled, including a total no-show from Nathan Walkup. Walkup will need to have a big game in order for the Aggies to win tonight.
Texas will continue to ride Tristan Thompson inside, and Jordan Hamilton everywhere else. Those two have been stellar recently, and so has Dogus Balbay, who totally commands both sides of the court despite having no jump shot at all. The Longhorns calling card is their defense, and it has been really fun to watch them lock down some high-octane offenses this conference season.
If the Aggies want to win, they need to attack Thompson off the dribble early, and try to get him in foul trouble. Texas doesn’t have a ton of depth inside, and can be vulnerable when Thompson goes to the bench. On defense, A&M has to force Balbay to shoot. When he attacks off the dribble, it sets up a world of possibilities for Texas, none of which end well for the other team.
A&M is at home, and has a lot more on the line, but I just don’t see Texas losing right now. They are playing too well defensively, and haven’t shown any sign of slipping up recently.
Texas 78 Texas A&M 72