Three things to watch in the Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M matchup
COLLEGE STATION, TX – Ole Miss begins a two-game road trip Tuesday night (8 p.m., SECN) against a struggling, but talented, Texas A&M team that has yet to win an SEC game this season. The Rebels are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 78-72 win over Florida, a team ranked in the RPI Top 50.
Ole Miss (10-7, 3-2 SEC) will have another chance for a marquee win when it takes the floor against the Aggies, who have wins over West Virginia and USC. Despite being 0-5 in conference play, Texas A&M still has a solid RPI (34).
Last Saturday, South Carolina, No. 17 Auburn, No. 18 Kentucky, and Alabama each won their league games on the road. The Rebels, who have yet to win an SEC game on the road this season, will need to play with the same energy they play with when they are inside The Pavilion. Ole Miss has protected its home court with a record of 9-3 this season.
The last time the Aggies lost five straight SEC games was midway through the 2015-16 season. In that same season, they went onto to win a share of the SEC title and reach an NCAA regional semifinal.
Tuesday’s game will mark the eighth meeting between the Rebels and the Aggies (11-6). Texas A&M holds a 5-2 record, including a 4-2 record in SEC games and a 2-0 record in College Station.
Three things to watch in this marquee SEC matchup:
1. Bruce Stevens against the post players of Texas A&M
Junior college transfer Bruce Stevens had his way against Florida last Saturday, scoring 22 points and grabbing six rebounds. Stevens’ performance against the Gators marked the seventh game this season the 6-foot-8 Stevens has scored in double figures. However, a bigger challenge awaits him in College Station in the form of Tyler Davis and Robert Williams, two players who are 6-foot-10.
2. Ole Miss’ 1-3-1 zone
Ole Miss’ 1-3-1 zone worked perfectly against the Gators, as Florida went 1 for 7 in the final 4:25 of the game. Hopefully, the Rebels stifling zone defense forces Texas A&M to shoot more 3s and keep the basketball out of Tyler Davis’ hands. Davis is shooting 62.6 percent from the field this season, while the Aggies, overall, are shooting just 46.1 percent from the field, including 34.2 percent from 3-point range, which ranks eighth in the SEC.
3. Take advantage of free throw opportunities
Ole Miss went 22 for 26 from the charity stripe against Florida. In their win over the Aggies this weekend, Tennessee made 20 of 23 shots from the line, while the Aggies went just 6 for 10 from the line in the 75-62 loss to the Vols.
Scouting the Aggies
Heading into this matchup, the Aggies lead the SEC in rebounding (42.3 per game), which ranks fifth in the nation. They are also eighth in the country in blocks per game (6.2).
Texas A&M has four players that are averaging double figures. Junior center Tyler Davis leads the way with 14.2 points per game. Forward D.J. Hogg and guard Admon Gilder are not too far behind Davis with scoring averages of 13.9 and 13.1, respectively. Guard Duane Wilson is averaging 11.6 points per contest.
The Aggies haven’t been at full strength all season, which has been partially to blame for its five conference losses. Wilson came off the bench Saturday against No. 21 Tennessee and had six points and six assists after missing three games with a knee injury. Gilder returned to action last Tuesday against the Wildcats after missing five games with a knee injury.
Saturday’s game against the Vols was Hogg’s third game with Texas A&M since serving a three-game suspension, while forward Robert Williams missed the team’s home game against LSU two weekends ago due to illness.
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.