Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday's Pregame Beat: Big 12 play kicks off

Game of the night: Texas A&M @ No. 5 Baylor

Texas A&M is a conundrum this season. While Khris Middleton is back and healthy, the Aggies are currently playing without Kourtney Roberson (ankle), Jamal Branch (transfer) and with Billy Kennedy still battling Parkinson's. The Aggies certainly haven't been bad this season, but they also haven't looked like a team that will be able to compete with Baylor, Missouri and Kansas at the top of the Big 12.

Baylor, on the other hand, is deservedly sitting in the newest edition of the top five. They have their own issues -- Pierre Jackson thinks he's Allen Iverson far too often and Perry Jones III spends far too much time deferring to Jackson like he is Iverson -- but the Bears are in the same league as Kentucky, North Carolina and UConn when it comes to a combination of talent, size and athleticism. That makes them a Final Four contender and the easiest pick to win the conference.

It will be interesting to see if the Aggies can snap out of their funk. They are not a good offensive team by any stretch of the imagination, but they have the size to matchup with Baylor and the defense to give them fits.

Be sure to keep an eye on:

7:00 pm: No. 23 Virginia @ LSU: The Cavs can legitimately be considered the third best team in the ACC right now, which probably says just as much as the ACC as it does about Virginia. LSU is coming off of a win over then-No. 10 Marquette in Baton Rouge, meaning that the Tigers are not a pushover this season by any stretch of the imagination.

7:45 pm: Coastal Carolina @ Campbell: The Chanticleers are probably the best team in the Big South this season, but Campbell is no pushover. They have some athletes and they are currently 2-0 in the Big South.

8:00 pm: Miami (OH) @ Vanderbilt: The Commodores looked like a completely different team when they went into Milwaukee and knocked off Marquette. Is that change for real? Or is this just another tease for fans in Nashville.

Other notable games:

- 3:00 pm: Old Dominion @ James Madison
- 7:00 pm: Robert Morris @ Ohio
- 7:00 pm: Drexel @ Georgia State
- 7:00 pm: VCU @ Hofstra
- 7:00 pm: Chattanooga @ Tennessee
- 7:45 pm: Belmont @ North Florida

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