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#8 Texas A&M vs. #25 South Carolina Preview

Texas A&M (18-4; 7-2) has lost two of three, and they need to right the ship at home today against a strong South Carolina squad (19-3; 6-3) with some road woes of their own (3:00pm; ESPNU)

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This sport is more fun when your team wins ten games in a row.

Thursday night's pitiful performance in Nashville was A&M's second defeat in three games, and the schedule isn't doing us any favors over the next 2.5 weeks. With that in mind, we have to take care of business at home.

Let's break it down.


Home, sweet home

Aggie Hoops has had six true road games... and we've really only looked good in one of them.

  • @ Arizona State - I'd rather not talk about it
  • @ MSU - Struggle-bus one point win against the 2nd worst team in the conference
  • @ Tennessee - Miracle comeback victory where we looked quite poor for 36 of 40 minutes
  • @ Georgia - Our players were presumably tricked with Reed Arena tinted glasses or something and wrecked Georgia by 34
  • @ Arkansas - Close loss with a ton of turnovers (writer whistled for an offensive foul)
  • @ Vanderbilt - Buried under an avalanche of threes

By contrast, our Aggies are 13-0 at Reed Arena this year with an average margin of victory in double figures. If we're going to keep laying bombs on the road, we have to protect home court.

A Baylor-esque non-conference philosophy

We've talked at length about A&M's challenging non-conference slate, and our 11-2 run through that gauntlet is going to work very nicely for us come Selection Sunday.

Not so much for South Carolina.

The Gamecocks went 13-0 in non-conference, but their #222 "strength of schedule" ranking suggests that there might be a few (*cough* many *cough cough*) hollow victories in the mix. They are 1-1 against the RPI Top 50, with both games coming against an Alabama squad that's sitting at 3-6 in conference play.

They have yet to play A&M (obviously), Kentucky, LSU, and Florida... and they still have to travel to Arkansas.

In short: They are completely untested. February will tell us everything we need to know about this squad.

A team devoid of stars

Our final point on South Carolina touches on their lack of star power... but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. They've rallied around the "anyone can step up on any given day" mantra, and the result is a squad with five guys averaging double figures.

Michael Carrera (13.8 points; 7.4 rebounds) leads the way, but the Gamecocks can get their points a handful of different ways.


With all that said... this South Carolina team is not one of the best twenty-five teams in the country. They have an extremely back loaded schedule, and they're about to come tumbling down to the middle of the standings.

That starts today. I truly think we win comfortably.