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Texas A&M vs. Texas Tech | Game Preview

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TEXAS TECH (8-16, 1-11)
VS.
TEXAS A&M (12-12, 3-9)
Game Essentials
Date | February 14, 2012
Time | 6:00 pm
Location | Lubbock, TX
TV | ESPN2
Radio | Affiliates

Texas Tech Starting 5
Ty Nurse (6-1/180) | 7.9 PPG | 3.3 RPG
Javarez Willis (5-11/171) | 7.9 PPG | 1.7 APG
Luke Adams (5-9/150) | 4.2 PPG | 1.0 APG
Jordan Tolbert (6-7/210) | 11.7 PPG | 6.0 RPG
Robert Lewandowski (6-10/256) | 7.3 PPG | 3.7 RPG

Texas A&M Starting 5
Jordan Green (6-4/180) | 3.3 PPG | 1.2 APG
Naji Hibbert (6-5/195) | 4.3 PPG | 2.1 RPG
Elston Turner (6-5/220) | 14.5 PPG | 3.5 RPG
Daniel Alexander (6-9/215) | 3.0 PPG | 2.6 RPG
David Loubeau (6-8/235) | 11.0 PPG | 4.4 RPG

NEWSPAPER LINKS

WHAT TO EXPECT

IT FEELS SO GOOD TO GET THAT FIRST ONE | It's just one game, but winning against Oklahoma felt really good and since TAMU has started to become more injured than healthy and been an overall disappointment, I'm thinking that this is a fairly winnable game. With Texas Tech, nothing is guaranteed, but I think that Kris Middleton and Dash Harris will both be out for this game and they're two of the better players for the Aggies. One other note is that the Aggies have really leveled off to similar stats to Texas Tech. The difference is that Texas Tech was nevera top 25 team. TAMU at a 62.0 PPG rate, while Texas Tech is scoring 61.2. Texas Tech is allowing about 7 more points a game than they are averaging, while TAMU is less than 1 point better than their per game average. But that's the sign of a bad team, which is a low or negative point differential.

LEARNING TO WIN | Winning is contagious and the win against Oklahoma could do wonders for this team moving forward. Head Coach Billy Gillisipie said after the OU game that there is still a lot of basketball to be played and a lot can happen. I don't think that Gillispie is thinking that his team is going to make any sort of post-season, but I do think he wants his team continually getting better. DT's Chois Woodman notes that Gillispie said that Texas Tech must continue to get better:

"We played a very complete game the other night," he said. "We made mistakes just like we always do, just like every team does, but we can do a lot better screening. We can do a lot better as far as the pace of the offense. It was still too slow as far as the pace goes, but we did a lot of really, really good things."

I mentioned this above, but there truly is not much that much difference between TAMU and Texas Tech, at least statistically. I think the difference between these two programs is about expectations, while Texas Tech wasn't expected to do much, if anything this year, the Aggies could definitely be a bit down after losing their last four games as well as losing three of their last nine games.

KEY MATCHUPS

TURNER VS. WILLIS | Who else thinks that Willis may have been a bit motivated of the challenge of taking the opposing team's best player. Javerez, meet Mr. Turner. Turner is the leading scorer on the team right now and he's got the size and athleticism to really give Texas Tech problems as they have few players that can matchup with Turner, but Willis can be a problem to cover as well. So long as he takes good shots, the shots that he talked about after the OU game, then I think he'll be fine. It helps to have a player like Adams that can create a bit in terms of creating for space for Willis to find some open spots, but for Willis to be effective, he has to be under control, not force shots and he'll be fine.

TOLBERT VS. LOUBEAU | With Middleton out, I'm guessing that Tolbert will get the call against Loubeau and I think this is the matchup that I'd enjoy watching more as Loubeau is a clone of Tolbert. A bit undersized, but Loubeau is tough and hard-nosed and although he's not a terrific offensive player, he's not bad. I'd love to see Tolbert be more well-rounded offensively than Loubeau, but Tolbert has more than exceeded my freshman expectations.