Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday's Pregame Beat: Texas A&M looks for revenge

9:00 pm: No. 3 Texas @ No. 16 Texas A&M: Just 12 days ago, the Aggies went into Austin and were embarrassed by the Longhorns. The final was 81-60, but that score doesn't really do justice to UT's dominance. Tonight, the Aggies have a chance to avenge that loss and to prove that they aren't just another team with an over inflated record thanks to a weak schedule and a couple of close wins at home. That sentiment has grown stronger thanks to another embarrassing road loss on Saturday, this time to Nebraska.

A&M is going to need to do a couple of things if they want to win this game tonight. For starters, they need to be stronger inside. Tristan Thompson dominated A&M's bigs early in the last meeting, and as the Aggies focused more and more on Thompson, it allowed Jordan Hamilton space on the perimeter. Hamilton finished with 27 points, including eight quickly at the start of the second half that put the game out of reach.

Texas has proven to be one of the best defensive teams in the country this season (they have actually moved into first in Kenpom's rankings), and A&M isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut. Beyond Khris Middleton, they don't really have many players that can create their own shots. If Middleton isn't scoring, the Aggies are in trouble.

7:00 pm: No. 13 Louisville @ No. 14 Georgetown: There may not be two hotter teams in the Big East than the Hoyas and the Cardinals. Louisville is coming off of last second wins over West Virginia and UConn while the Hoyas have bounced back from a 1-4 start in conference play to win four straight.

For Georgetown, their return to relevancy in the Big East has been the reemergence of Austin Freeman as a go-to scorer. He struggled a bit during their losing streak, but his 30 point performance -- which included a number of clutch shots -- at Villanova was impressive. While Chris Wright has struggled mightily, reserves like Hollis Thompson, Henry Sims, and Nate Lubick have all played well the last few games.

For Louisville, the question of whether or not they have a "star" may have been answered. Peyton Siva was terrific in the clutch last week, hitting the game-winner in the Cardinal's win against West Virginia while also making five or six huge plays down the stretch against UConn.

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