#751 Louisiana State University Tigersvs.#752 Texas A&M University Aggies
Wednesday, January 1 2017, at 8:30pm EST
Written by Chuck D
Louisiana State Tigers 9-5 (5-7 ATS) at Texas A&M 8-6 (4-7 ATS)
When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 11, Reed Arena, College Station, Texas 8:30pm EST (SECN)
Spread: Texas A&M -9; Total: 150.5
Two squads struggling to find their footing in the Southeastern Conference collide on Wednesday night in College Station. Texas A&M is still winless through three games in league play while Louisiana State enters the contest with a 1-2 mark in the conference. This will be the 35th meeting on the hardwood between the two schools with the Tigers leading the overall series 18-16 but the Aggies are coming off of a 71-38 victory over LSU in the semifinals of last season’s SEC tournament.
The post-Ben Simmons era has gone about the same as the Ben Simmons era. The team did not exactly take on the most ambitious non-conference schedule but still suffered setbacks to Virginia Commonwealth, Wichita State, and Wake Forest. None of their wins were really noteworthy but their victims included the likes of Southern Miss, Old Dominion, Houston, and the College of Charleston. League play began with a home loss, followed by an 11 point win in Columbia over a Missouri team that is still winless in the conference. Last time out the LSU fell at home again, this time by 17 points to Mississippi State.
The team dismissed Craig Victor III before the conference opener vs. Vandy for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Forward Aaron Epps has started in his place and scored 16 points and 12 rebounds in the three league games. In Saturday’s loss to the Bulldogs, forward Duop Reath recorded his third double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The team is allowing 77.2 points per game, second to last in the SEC and turnovers are killing the team. The Tigers are giving up an average of 23.3 points per contest off of turnovers through the three conference games.
After starting last season with a 17-2 mark, the Aggies have won just eight times in 14 contests to this point. Perhaps what is worse is they are winless in Southeastern Conference play and have committed 25 turnovers in their last two loses. Like LSU, the Aggies lost just three times in non-conference play. Oddly, all three defeats came against PAC-12 schools in the form of setbacks against Southern Cal, UCLA, and Arizona. One reason for optimism however, was that all three of the losses came by single digits. Optimism has since been dashed as they have dropped all three SEC games by double-digits. Firs came teh 10-point home setback to Tennessee followed by an embarrassing 100-58 defeat at home to Kentucky and then most recently, the 79-68 loss at South Carolina.
After a tough outing vs. Kentucky, D.J. Hogg scored 25 points and seven 3-pointers against South Carolina. Forward Robert Williams got his first career start vs. the Gamecocks and scored 12 points while recording a career-best 14 rebounds. The team is ranked second in the conference and 14th nationally in offensive rebounding with 13.9 per game and Tyler Davis leads the league in field goal percentage at 60 percent. The team has scored 68 points or fewer in their last three games.
Texas A&M is:
Both teams have had a rough go of it in league play to this point, but the Aggies should have a bit of an advantage getting this game at home. However, that advantage should not translate to a double-digit victory. A squad that has yet to record a win in the conference should be getting nine points in any contest at this point.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.