Texas A&M-Iowa State Preview


 Date:  February 2nd, 2012

Time:  3:00 PM CST

Where:  Hilton Coliseum

TV:  Big 12 Network

Spread:  Iowa State (-7.5)

Know the Foe:  Texas A&M has been the most disappointing team this year in the Big 12.  In the preseason, they were picked by Big 12 coaches to win the title (along with Kansas).  The Aggies have looked like everything but a Big 12 championship caliber team this year.  On the season they are 12-11 and only 3-8 in Big 12 play.

Good news for the Aggies, Preseason All-Big 12 player Khris Middleton and senior guard Dash Harris are returning for the Aggies.  Khris Middleton has only played 11 games this year and that is a large reason the Aggies are where they are.  In the 11 games that he did play, Middleton averaged 12.4 points and 5.4 boards per game.  Cyclone fans shouldn’t be that worried over the return of Middleton as he shouldn’t be at full health.  Also, Middleton played against ISU when the Clones drubbed them in College Station.  In that game, Middleton only scored 6 points.

Elston Turner has been “the guy” for the Aggies this year.  Elston Turner averages 14.5 and is just under 40% from behind the arc.  David Loubeau is third on the team averaging 10.9 per game, but only had 2 against ISU earlier in the year.  Ray Turner averages 9.9 and leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game.  After that, the scoring drops off and it tells in games; A&M ranks 9th in the Big 12 in scoring.

Without Khris Middleton, the Aggies have lost some close games over the last two weeks.  They lost by 2 against Texas, lost by 9 on the road against KSU, and Baylor escaped College Station with a 3-point win.  I’m positive the Aggies will play much better than they did against ISU the first time around.

Prediction:  A lot of people are putting the “magic number” for Iowa State to make the tournament at 10 Big 12 wins.  Right now, the Clones have 7, but have a tough second half left.  This game, Texas Tech (home), and Oklahoma (home) are the most likely wins.  Besides those games, ISU has Baylor twice, at Mizzou, and at KSU.  In those games, ISU probably will be the underdog.  All of that means this game is huge.  I’m putting this in the “must-win” category, ISU can’t afford to lose this game.

Like I said, don’t expect the Clones to win by 24 today.  A&M played an awful game and I don’t believe that they can play that bad again.  As you know, Royce White had a triple-double in that game.  Here is my bold prediction: Royce White will have another triple-double.  Going through the second round of Big 12 play, teams are adjusting and double-teaming Royce.  Royce’s passing game has become even more important.  He was on pace for a triple-double at halftime against Oklahoma State on Tuesday.  A&M is supposed to be about to be about defense, but I don’t think they can stop Royce from getting in double-digits in scoring.  I think it is inevitable that White will get 10 boards (had 18 against A&M) and I think he may just break 10 dimes today.

Besides my Royce White prediction, I think the Clones will win this game.  They know how big of a game it is for their tourney hopes.  Add the fact that Hilton will be sold out and you have a winning combination.

Texas A&M – 58

Iowa State – 69