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Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M
When and Where: Wednesday, March 13, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn., 9:30 p.m. EST.
After earning the dubious distinction of being the first school to go winless in conference play in 65 years, Vanderbilt looks to pull a first-round surprise in the SEC tournament as they make the short trip to Bridgestone Arena to face Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
‘Dores first since 1953-54 Georgia Tech to post SEC goose egg
It has been a rough season for Bryce Drew and the Commodores (9-22), who lost all 18 of their league games in being the first team since the 1953-54 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to go winless in SEC play. Vanderbilt has lost a school-record 19 straight overall, but Drew has a sense of optimism in the conference tournament providing his team a second chance to find a positive to build on for 2019-20.
— Vanderbilt Men's Basketball (@VandyMBB) March 10, 2019
“It’s a fresh start for our guys. We’re excited to get out and begin a new season,” Drew told The Tennesseean. “There has been a lot of weight on our shoulders, especially the last few weeks. To be able to have a fresh start, everyone is 0-0 right now.”
The Commodores capped their regular season with an 80-59 pounding administered by No. 10 LSU on the road Saturday. Saben Lee and Yanni Wetzell were the only players in double figures with 16 and 11 points, respectively, as Vanderbilt allowed the Tigers to hit 12 3-pointers and shoot 50.9 percent.
Freshman center Simi Shittu was held to three points and six rebounds as he missed all six of his shots from the field. Shittu, who missed out on the SEC All-Freshman team, is averaging 11.1 points and 6.8 rebounds but has totaled 11 points and nine boards in his last two games.
Vanderbilt is trying to avenge a 64-57 loss at Texas A&M on March 2 in which Wetzell had 15 points off the bench and Shittu totaled 11 and 10 rebounds. The Commodores, however, were 5 for 30 from 3-point range as Joe Toye missed all 10 of his tries from beyond the arc.
Aggies facing first sub-.500 finish since 2012
Texas A&M (13-17) is the 11th seed after finishing 6-12 in conference, and there are reports coach Billy Kennedy’s job is in jeopardy one season after guiding the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals and dismantling North Carolina in the second round.
— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) March 12, 2019
Kennedy has guided Texas A&M to a pair of NCAA Tournaments and four postseason appearances in his eight years at College Station and feels he has done enough to warrant a chance at turning things around in 2019-20.
“I think we’ve done a lot of good things in this program when you look at winning a (league) championship, our guys academically are doing well and our program is in good shape,” the coach told the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve got a good (recruiting) class coming in, and we’ve got some solid guys returning who’ve proven they can win in this league.
“I feel very confident about where we’re at as a program.
Texas A&M’s lone win in four games was its victory over Vanderbilt, and it dropped back-to-back games to close the season. The Aggies were outclassed 92-81 at Mississippi State on Saturday when the Bulldogs strafed Kennedy’s team for 16 3-pointers while shooting 52.4 percent overall.
Savion Flagg, who averages a team-high 13.1 points, finished with 23 as the sophomore cleared 500 points for his career. He has four 20-point games in his last seven, including 22 in the win over Vanderbilt, and has averaged 18.0 points while shooting 43.9 percent from beyond the arc in that span.
The Aggies’ 3-point defense has been atrocious the last two games, with South Carolina and Mississippi State combining to make 29 of 57 from 3-point range. Texas A&M has allowed opponents to hit 33.4 percent of their long-range shots, but Vanderbilt enters this contest connecting at only 31.7 percent from deep.
Texas A&M is:
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a straight up loss.
- 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games after giving up 90 or more points in the previous game.
- The under is 7-3 in its last 10 games vs. SEC opponents.
- The under is 4-1 in its last five neutral site games.
- The under is 9-4 in its last 13 games following an ATS loss.
- 3-13 ATS in its last 16 neutral site games.
- 0-4 ATS in its last four games vs. SEC opponents.
- 5-16-1 ATS in its last 22 games after a straight up loss by 20 or more points.
- The under is 16-5 in its last 21 games vs. SEC opponents.
- The under is 6-0 in its last six games following an ATS loss.
- The under is 10-1 in its last 11 games following a straight up loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
If the opponent was anyone other than Vanderbilt, it would be tempting to pick against Texas A&M given the swirling rumors regarding Kennedy’s status. Yet the Aggies should be able to survive at least one game against a historically inept Commodores side that has never put it all together in the same 40 minutes.
In some ways, this may be the game to jump on Texas A&M to win and cover since it can be argued Kennedy could be getting a raw deal if let go considering three player declared early for the NBA Draft after last season’s NCAA Tournament run.
Prediction: Pick: Texas A&M -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Since the Aggies joined the SEC, their matches against Vanderbilt have often skewed to the under, with the total surpassing 140 just twice in 11 matchups. The teams combined for 121 earlier this month, and its lone SEC tournament matchup in 2017 resulted in 107 points as Vanderbilt won 66-41.
Once more, an over/under took a nose-dive since opening as the line has dropped 3.5 points to 133. That is a sizable enough gap from the first meeting between the teams to keep confidence in the pick.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 136.5 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
This has the look of a sucker bet since the ‘Dores have not scored more than 61 points in any of their last eight games and were held to 57 at College Station. Yet there is enough confidence in the Aggies to believe they will keep Vanderbilt down for a second straight meeting.
Prediction: Pick: Vanderbilt UNDER 65 points
Half-Time Side Pick
This pick is essentially a toss-up given the Aggies have trailed at halftime in five of their last six games and were down four at the break versus Vanderbilt. But one gets the sense Kennedy’s players will rally around their coach and figure out a way to grab a lead after 20 minutes.
Prediction: Pick: Texas A&M -2
Half-Time Total Bet
This is a pick against Vanderbilt’s offense more than anything else given the teams combined for 54 in the first half in this month’s earlier meeting There does not figure to be much separation between the teams, which makes the under the pick.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 61.5 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
The Commodores have failed to reach 30 points in the first half of their last seven games, though they did come close in the first meeting with 29. They scored 30 or fewer in six of their nine SEC road games and failed to score more than 35 in the first 20 minutes in any of those nine contests outside Memorial Gym.
Prediction: Pick: Vanderbilt UNDER 30 points