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Basketball Takes on Familiar Faces in Houston

Emanuel Miller, last year’s leading scorer for the Aggies, brings the Horned Frogs to Houston in a battle of 7-1 teams at the Toyota Center

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 29 Orlando Invitational - Temple v Texas A&M Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a 10-day stretch with no games, the Aggie men’s basketball team returns to the court to take on the Jamie Dixon’s TCU Horned Frogs at the Toyota Center in Houston. The matchup between A&M and TCU will be second game in a doubleheader dubbed “The Battleground 2K21” and tips off at 5:30. The opening game at 3:00 will feature Sam Houston taking on UTSA. Good seats are still available for as low as $15.

DraftKings Sportsbook has TCU as a 2.5-point favorite* in this game. Both teams sport 7-1 records, but the Aggies have a slightly higher strength of schedule. kenpom.com narrowly rates the Aggies as the better team and a 1-point favorite.

* Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

The Horned Frogs opened the season with home wins over McNeese State, Southern Miss, and Nicholls. They went 1-1 in the SoCal Challenge over Thanksgiving week, losing by 19 to Santa Clara before bouncing back with a 9-point win over Pepperdine. TCU picked up wins over Austin Peay and Oral Roberts at home last week and a 14-point victory over Utah at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth on Wednesday night. Utah (80) and Santa Clara (86) are the Horned Frogs’ (72) only opponents ranked in Ken Pomeroy’s top 100.

TCU’s leading scorer is sophomore Mike Miles Jr. from Lancaster who averages 17.1 points per game. Miles is clearly the engine for TCU offensive, also averaging 4.6 assists per game. In the matchup against A&M last year, Miles scored 15 points and dished out 5 assists. This game will certainly be a special one for TCU’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, Emanuel Miller. Miller is a familiar face for Aggie basketball fans as he led the A&M scoring and rebounding during the 2020-21 campaign. After a disappointing season for the Aggie basketball team, Miller took advantage of the NCAA’s new transfer rules and followed former A&M Associate Head Coach Jamie McNeilly to TCU. Miller is averaging 10.6 points and 7.1 boards per game for the Horned Frogs.

Head Coach Jamie Dixon is in his sixth year in Fort Worth, compiling a 103-72 record over that time. The Horned Frogs have only made the tournament once in Dixon’s tenure, earning a 6 seed before in 2018 suffering a first-round upset to 11 seed Syracuse. This season’s TCU team plays a slower tempo similar to the Aggies. TCU has a higher offensive efficiency rating that A&M thanks to their lower turnover numbers (13.6 - 12.5). However, A&M is a better scoring team with a higher effective field goal percentage (50.9 - 47.1). The Aggies also have a better slightly defensive efficiency rating (93.4 - 95.3) and force opponent turnovers at a higher rate. The Horned Frogs are a strong team on the boards, especially on the offensive end where they rate 7th nationally. This could be a problem for the Aggies, who struggle on the defensive glass.

This will be an exciting matchup between two teams who appear even on paper, and there will certainly be extra motivation on both sides with the close ties between the two programs.