|OPPONENT:||Texas A&M Aggies (17-6, 6-3)|
|LOCATION:||United Spirit Arena : Lubbock, TX|
|DATE:||February 13, 2010|
|TIME:||4:00 p.m. CST|
|GAME CAST:||Fox Sports|
The Season Thus Far: After a loss to Oklahoma St., the Aggies have been on a bit of a roll, including a 15 point win against the Red Raiders, a 3 point win against Missouri, and a 7 point win against Baylor. Both Missouri and Baylor being ranked at the time and with the Aggies on their current streak, I think they're probably behind Kansas and Kansas St. as a team on the best streak in the Big 12. The Aggies have lost conference games to the aforementioned Oklahoma St., and two very early losses to Kansas St. and Texas.
The Main Players: It's still and will continue to be the Donald Sloan show for the Aggies. Averaging over 18 points a game, he is the heart and soul of this team, although the last time the Aggies and Red Raiders hooked up it was a question of which post player for the Aggies was going to dominate, as Brian Davis had 15 points and 7 boards while David Loubeau, a guy that averaged 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds, had 19 points and 9 rebounds. We'll get more into this below, but the key to this game will be keeping the Aggies off the boards and keep the Aggies from scoring so easily in the paint.
Control the Paint: As mentioned above, the Aggies absolutely dominated the paint, out-rebounding the Red Raiders by 8 and the TAMU big men just dominated inside. Earlier this week, PF Darko Cohadarevic mentioned that he needs to do a better job defending the post as OU's Tiny Gallon was one of the few Sooners that had a good game earlier this week. Perhaps the difference between this game and the game earlier in the year, it seems as if PF D`walyn Roberts is getting more healthy and C Robert Lewandowski is getting marginally better defending the post, but truthfully, keeping the Aggies off the boards is going to fall to Darko.
Roberson to Lead: Both LAJ's Courtney Linehan and DMN's Chuck Carlton write that the job of this team taking a further step forward falls to PG John Roberson. Head coach Pat Knight says that Roberson's body language and attitude towards the team has improved significantly:
Roberson’s confidence didn’t improve much when Pat Knight took over as head coach midway through his freshman season. Pat Knight says Roberson often pouted and whined in practice, to the point Knight kicked him out of the gym on more than one occasion. He’d become discouraged and physically manifested the feeling, a habit Knight worked hard to break.
"You have to explain it to them, show them tape if you have it, because bad body language against a good team is like throwing blood in the water with sharks," Knight said. "People feed off that. If they see bad body language, they’ll go after you."
Now Roberson uses body language to run Tech’s offense. He’s long grasped the pattern of cuts and screens, freeing up his mind to focus on finding the best shots. He doesn’t need teammates to call out or signal when they break free of a defender, because he reads their body language and eye contact and knows just what needs to happen next.
Get to the Line: The first game against the Aggies, TAMU shot 32 free throws to Texas Tech's 13. The usually reliable SF Mike Singletary only got to the line 4 times, which will obviously need to improve today. Additionally, SG Donald Sloan got to the charity stripe 14 times, which will have to improve, and start out front with either SG's Nick Okorie and David Tairu, making sure that Sloan doesn't get any easy 3-point shots and other players rotating to help if Sloan gets to the paint.