I started this article expecting to follow the typical ebb and flow of an A&M road game preview. The two squads are somewhat equal, yadda yadda yadda, something about free throws, the road is our demise. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But a funny thing happened when I started compiling the stats... I realized KSU is very, very beatable. When you strip away the program's recent prestige, the results this year are pretty darn favorable.
- Lowest RPI (#165) in the Big 12 by 64 spots
- Losses to Arizona (#11), Long Beach St (#57), Tennessee (#68), and Pitt (#103)
- A three point victory over Bradley (#284), and a ten point victory over the UMKC Kangaroos (#286)
Sure, this is probably an over-reliance on RPI... and sure, the loss to Arizona was a pretty close game. But still. There is nothing in this team's recent history that indicates a road beating in our future. And with two cupcakes separating this game from a really difficult (@Bama, Kentucky) start to SEC play, it's time to hit the next gear and take care of business.
Game Preview: Texas A&M vs. Kansas St.
When: Saturday, December 20th at 6:00 PM (CST)
Where: Spirit Center in Kansas City
Three Point Play
1) Height shouldn't be a problem
The Ags don't exactly rely on their height, and they have some pedestrian figures in blocks per game (11th in the SEC) and rebounding per game (10th in the SEC) to prove it. Fortunately, we're lining up against a team that ranks dead last in the Big 12 in both categories. If we have severe rebounding problems this weekend, or if we find ourselves unable to get to the rim... it may be a harbinger of some much, much worse things to come.
2) Take care of the basketball
What used to be a plea for help has quietly become a strength: A&M ranks 3rd in the SEC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, and Alex Caruso leads the conference in assists (5.9 per game). This couldn't come at a better time, as our rebounding woes have placed efficiency at an all time premium. So even though we're likely to not get abused on the glass on Saturday, let's pretend we are so we treat the basketball with all the TLC it deserves.
3) KSU can shoot, and they're 5-0 at home
The Wildcats lead the Big 12 in three point shooting, and even though they've had some shaky wins they haven't lost at home. I know this is technically a neutral site game... but let's be real. It's on the road. If the crowd gets behind them and the shots start falling, we have to be able to withstand the pressure. Too often, when Baylor got rolling we went through a shooting spell and/or steadfastly refused to use timeouts. We don't have that luxury.
The edict is simple: Burn the TO's at the slightest whiff of a run, box somebody out, and come back to College Station with a road victory in your back pocket.