A funny thing has happened since these two teams started off Big 12 play with a bunch of impressive wins, they came right back to the pack, along with the rest of the conference. Two weeks ago, Texas A&M looked like they might stay with Kansas and Texas all season long. Colorado appeared to be on their way to a surprise NCAA bid, and Tad Boyle was a shoe-in for coach of the year.
Now both teams sit in the abyss that has become the Big 12 standings. A&M at 4-4, Colorado at 4-5. Neither team is in great danger of losing ground with a loss, nor gaining much with a win, yet this game feels like it means something. A&M needs a win badly, they’ve lost three in a row, and even if that hasn’t hurt their standing in the conference too much, they clearly aren’t a confident team right now. The same can be said for Colorado, which means something has to give.
Alec Burks and Khris Middleton are both very skilled players, and should give each other a good test tonight. Burks’ ability to create off the dribble and penetrate will give A&M fits, and probably keep their bigs in foul trouble all night. A&M doesn’t have to worry about getting pounded in the post though, as Colorado is still very much a perimeter oriented team. That means they can concentrate on keep Burks outside the paint, shooting jump shots, where he clearly isn’t very comfortable.
I want to say the winner of this game can use it to build momentum and go on a little winning streak, but that just doesn’t seem likely. A&M’s remaining schedule suggests a lot of wins are on the way, but it wasn’t long ago they lost at home to Nebraska, so who knows. Colorado has some tough games coming up, but they gave Kansas the toughest run of any team not named Texas this season. They seem to play to the level of their competition, so perhaps some tougher teams is just what they need to focus.
For tonight, I’ll take Colorado. They are at home, and like I said, they seem to play to the level of their competition, which means they should play well tonight.
CU 85 TAM 78