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Preview: #25 Texas A&M vs. #11 West Virginia

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Texas A&M Basketball is headed to Germany for a nationally televised season opener, but we're a little short-handed due to suspensions. We can pull this off, but we'll need a special effort from the new guys (5:00pm; ESPN)

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

We're here, gang. We made it. After a mixed showing against Texas and a better showing against Tarleton State, it's time to play for keeps.

While it's insane that this is objectively our fourth toughest non-conference game, it's still a battle that could serve as the toughest in practically any other season. We're going to miss Robert Williams (suspension) and JJ Caldwell (suspension), but we can still do this.

We can do this.

Time: 5:00pm

Place: Rammstein Air Force Base, Germany

TV: ESPN

Line: West Virginia is favored by 7.5

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So, what do we know about West Virginia?

Wait, don't you mean Press Virginia?

Sure, I guess. Yes, West Virginia is affectionately referred to as 'Press Virginia' by the Morgantown faithful... but it's not just a catchy nickname. Bob Huggins presses and traps at full speed for 40 minutes, a strategy he has used to comfortably stay in the Top 25 since his arrival. The Mountaineers led the nation in turnover margin (+7.7) last season, so they've pretty much mastered their frenetic style of play.

So, what do we do?

Our task is simple - take care of the basketball.

We won't have JJ Caldwell, but we'll still have more backcourt legs than we had during last year's trip to Morgantown, so fatigue shouldn't be an issue. I'd imagine that Gilder and grad transfer Duane Wilson will log the bulk of the guard minutes today, but the incoming crop carries a pair of capable backups in TJ Starks and Jay Jay Chandler. If they can provide effective relief in short bursts, we can weather the storm.

It will sting to not have Williams available, as he is basically an auto-bucket after every press break, but we have no shortage of bigs that can finish around the rim. If Davis and Trocha can stay out of foul trouble, we should be able to handle our own down low and gain an edge on the glass.

Can we do it?

I really, truly think we could take West Virginia if both squads were operating at full strength. But that's not the case today, and I fear our missing starters will ultimately lead to a Mountaineer victory.

I'd love to be wrong.

BTHO West Virginia

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