The Aggie men return home to Reed Arena with hopes of extinguishing the dumpster fire that has been the last two weeks. Tonight, they host Ole Miss and the SEC's leading scorer, Stefan Moody (23.0 PPG). Despite the free fall A&M currently finds itself in, tonight marks the beginning of a 3-game homestead and they are still in the thick of the SEC race.
Let's run through a few keys for the Ags to right the ship tonight.
Against LSU, the combination of Tyler Davis/Tonny Trocha-Morelos/Tavario Miller combined for 2 points in the 2nd half. Surprisingly the 2 points belonged to Miller while Davis put up a blank spot after dominating the 1st half scoring 9 points on 4-4 shooting. One of the biggest questions coming out of Saturday's loss was "why did Tyler Davis stop getting touches after opening the game so well?"
Whatever the reasons were, this trio must find ways to produce lest the offense become more closed-off and dependent on the outside shot. Davis has about 30-40 pounds on Ole Miss's frontcourt, so it should be a prime opportunity for him to gain position underneath the baskets for easy layups.
Plain and simple, Ole Miss on offense runs through Moody, as only he (23.0 PPG) and junior forward Sebastian Saiz (12.2 PPG) average double-digit points per game. The senior can shoot from anywhere on the floor and has the shiftiness to draw fouls and get to the line. If Moody gets into the paint and gets guys like Davis or Jalen Jones in foul trouble, this nightmare of a losing skid may continue for A&M.
The amount of responsibility given to Moody has lead to a high turnover rate (3.9 a game), which could bode well for SEC steals leader Alex Caruso. Moody will get his points, but if the Ags can make him have a 5-20 type night and keep him away from the charity stripe, the Rebels don't have many options to pick up the slack.
Prediction: The streak ends!
It's pretty nerve-wracking to make this prediction and risk jinxing the Aggie men, but there must be a sense of starting fresh by coming back to Reed. It's been a tumultuous couple of weeks where the Ags have looked completely different than the team they were in January, and not long ago analysts were considering this squad as a potential 2-seed. Now they are grasping to keep a NCAA at-large bid.
But for the senior class at A&M, there are only 4 games left at Reed Arena for the rest of their careers. The trio of Caruso, Danuel House, and Jalen Jones has experienced the crushing loss of just missing out on the tournament, and it's tough to imagine this class wanting to do the same this year. Look for the Ags to come out tonight and just let it fly and play like they have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
BTHO Ole Miss