College Basketball - Texas A&M Aggies (-3, 131) at Texas Tech Red Raiders 8:00 PM EST
With one notch already in the belt of having spoiled a Big 12 team's dream of a unblemished conference season, Bobby Knight's crew tries for two in a row in the western part of Texas. As opposed to Kansas whom they knocked off the perch of the unbeaten, this is a gritty, tough minded experienced band of Aggies who welcome the chance to take to the road and prove their worthiness as rugged hombres ready for battle.
This year's Texas Tech squad is known for excellent guard play with three different components all contributing. The college basketball world would be raving about Jarrius Jackson if he played somewhere other then Lubbock since he is averaging better the 20 points per game again this season.
Martin Zeno at 6'5 plays more like a point forward then a point guard scoring 16.3 points a game, averaging 3.5 assists and finding time to hunt down almost five rebounds a contest. JC transfer Charlie Burgess adds another scorer and will hustle to find track down loose rebounds. In the upset of Kansas, 6'9 senior Darryl Dora erupted for 19 points and was the key facilitator. If the Red Raiders are going to be the surprise team of league, coach Knight will need more efforts from Dora on a game by game basis.
At the top of the Big 12 standing sits Texas A&M at 4-0. To understand how truly rare this is, this is the first time it has ever happened in Aggieland. To say coaching doesn't matter at the collegiate level, all anyone needs to know is this Texas A&M team was 0-16 in conference play just three years ago.
Billy Gillispie is a high energy coach who has orchestrated a reclamation project for the ages. Deep in football country, just attracting people to watch basketball games and grab a NIT berth every now and then would be good enough. Instead the Aggies are off to best start in 37 years at 16-2 and have the number six ranking. The only losses have come at well respected LSU and at UCLA.
The cornerstones off the program are Mr.Inside and Mr. Outside. James Jones is a force in the paint, who plays bigger then 6'9 with a soft touch around the rim, decent shooting range and a nose for the ball. Guard Acie Law is the complete package. He is a good outside shooter, exceptional skills driving to the basket, who finds the open shooter and is a solid defender. When the game is on the line there may not be another player in the country who is more clutch then Law.
Texas Tech will once again be a home underdog facing the elite of the Big 12, this time by 2.5-points at sportsbook.com. Great contrast of offense and defense in this contest. The Red Raiders work to get good shots and knock down 49.2% at home, while being the third rated three point shooting team in the land at 43.8%. They will face the most menacing and tenacious defensive team in the country in Texas A&M. The Aggies are defensive numbers read more like football then basketball. First in the country in field goal percentage, first in three point defense and second in points allowed at 53.3. If that wasn't enough, they also are 4th in the nation in offensive field goal percentage at 51.1%.
Texas A&M has won and covered the last three games against Texas Tech and is 10-2 ATS in road games against Big 12 opponents over the last 2 seasons. The Red Raiders are 9-1 at home this season and coach Knight teams are 26-16 ATS in home games against conference opponents in Lubbock.
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