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Preview: Texas A&M v. Texas Tech

The Texas Tech Red Raiders face the #8 Texas A&M Aggies Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN Full Court and will be shown locally in the DFW area on Channel 52. Let's get to the numbers.

The Numbers:

Team K.P. Rank Off.Eff. Def.Eff. Points/Game Points Allowed Rebounds
Texas Tech 50 32 65 73.8 66.5 32.5
Texas A&M 3 14 3 76/7 53.3 36.1

Players to Watch:

Player Rebounds Assists Points
Acie Law 2.7 5.2 15.9
Joseph Jones 6.8 1.5 13.8
Antanas Kavaliauskas 5.6 1.5 12.2

Keys to the Game:

  1. Make A&M Work on the Defensive End: The Aggies are crazy-stupid on the defensive end and it's not hard to figure out why. Defensively, it starts in the middle where they are blessed to have two athletic centers/forwards who can dominate the glass and severly limit the numbe of offensive rebounds that Tech can gather. Knight is now forced with a decision here. Does he start Plefka nd Suljagic where he knows that there's a strong possibility of the same result at the beginning of the Kansas game or does he start Dora and Suljagic/Plefka? Dora can draw out either Jones or Kavaliauskas to the perimeter make either of them do something they aren't used to doing and Suljagic or Plefka are similar in terms of talent. On the perimeter Carter, Kirk and Law are all incredible athletes, but Tech would be well advised to run them ragged on the offensive end, through as many screens and picks as possible and hope that it affects the Aggies' on the offensive end.
  2. Limit The Aggies Looks: Take a look at the shooting percentages for Law (51.9%), Jones (56.7%), Carter (51.4%) and Kavaliauskas (60.0%). That's your 4 leading scorers for the Aggies, this will be huge challenge for Zeno, Burgess and Jackson to step up and accept this challenge. Tech allowed Kansas to take some outside shots, but Tech would be well advised to limit those outisde shots as much as possible. I also realize that Tech will have to double on Jones and Kavaliauskas in the post, but the perimeter players are going to have to challenge each and every shot on the perimeter.
  3. Jackson Must Find a Rhythm: Knight acknowledged it after the game on Saturday. Jackson has to realize that he's the number one target for every opponent from this point forward. I commended Jackson on Saturday for playing smart basketball, but he's got to show up this game. But Knight said that Jackson has got to get open, something that we all know he's learned how to do in this motion offense over the last 3 years:
    "I don't think that he's fully understood that when whoever we're playing, the first name they mention in their scouting report is Jackson. We're going to work awfully hard with Jackson on doing some things other than just having the ball in his hands."
    It will be interesting to see what Knight does. Remember this, Dominique Kirk is a lockdown defender. He completely shut down Syracuse's Gerry McNamara last year in the NCAA tournament.

Probable Starting Lineups:
Texas A&M and Texas Tech
Josh Carter, F, 6-7, So. / Martin Zeno, F, 6-5, Jr.
Joseph Jones, F-C, 6-9, Jr. / Darryl Dora, F, 6-9, Sr.
Antanas Kavaliauskas, C, 6-10, Sr. / Damir Suljagic, F, 6-8, So.
Acie Law, G, 6-3, Sr. / Charlie Burgess, G, 6-1, Jr.
Dominique Kirk, G, 6-3, Jr. / Jay Jackson, G, 6-1, Sr.

* The Legend: K.P. Rank = the Ken Pomery Rank; Offensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points scored per 100 possessions; Defensive Efficiency = the national rank in terms of points allowed per 100 possession.