DJ Augustin v. Dominique Kirk- The guard match up might decide the outcome to this game. DJ is obviously the best point guard in the Big 12 and Texas' offense is predicated on his effectiveness. DJ has come through almost every time this year, but has on occasion taken some poor shots that hamstrung the Horns. Kirk has had the impossible task of following Acie Law as Aggie PG. Kirk has been wildly inconstant and the Aggie offense has struggled. They have been waiting for a leader to step up and make the big plays Law did. Reed Arena will be rocking and the PG that performs the best under pressure will lead his team to victory.
A&M and the Free Throw Line- To say the Aggies struggle at the foul line is an understatement. They shoot the most FTs per game, but hit at the lowest percent in the Big 12, at 60%. Aggie free throws already cost them the Baylor game and they show no signs of improving from the charity stripe. This is going to be a close game that could easily come down to late free throw shooting. Texas will have the advantage here.
AJ Must Continue Hitting- Half way into Texas' game against Texas Tech, AJ Abrams had missed his last 9 three point attempts. However, he exploded from his mid season slump to score 15 in the Tech second half. AJ hit threes and was able to create his own shot several times. If Texas has any shot in stealing a victory in College Station, AJ will have to on his game and hitting from the outside. With their smaller line up, Texas may struggle to get points in the paint and have to rely on AJ to open things up in the middle.
Texas Quickness v. Aggie Strength- DJ Augustin, AJ Abrams, Justin Mason & Damion James against De'Andre Jordan, Joe Jones and Bryan Davis. Texas has strong guard play and A&M has a dominant interior. Jones is a constant for A&M, as you can expect 10 & 10 most nights. So far, it is safe to say that Jordan has not lived up to his hype. He has shown signs of his potential, but is now out of the starting lineup. If Jordan can assert himself, then Texas will have a hard time containing the Aggie front court. Similarly, Texas has the back court and speed advantage. Texas must penetrate with the ball and attack to basket against the slower Aggie defense. If they can get the foul prone Aggie big men into foul trouble, A&M will lose its one advantage.
Whichever team can dominate in these points of the game is going to come out of College Station with a huge victory. The Reed Rowdies will be out in full force, but this Texas team is used to dealing with hostile environments, having already played at Oklahoma State, UCLA and Michigan State. Texas' guards will have to out play the Aggie front court and hold the damage in the paint to a minimum. Connor Atchley and Big Dex maybe called on for some big time interior defense. Look for Texas to do just enough and hit be able to hit a few key free throws to finish off the Aggies.
Prediction: Texas 78, Texas A&M 75