On the Road Texas Style

Alabama Men's basketball team (3-1) will travel to College Station, Texas this Wednesday (11/28/07) to take on the No.9 Texas A&M Aggies (6-0) at 8pm CST in Reed Arena.

With first year coach, Mark Turgeon, Texas A&M captured the Pre-season NIT Championship by beating Ohio State 70-47. In a another true road test, the Tide will take on an Aggie team that returns three starters from last year's 27-7 Billy Gillispie led squad.

Even though the all-everything guard Acie Law has moved on to the professional ranks, A&M returns senior NBA prospect Joseph Jones (6-9, 250 pound power forward), senior defensive stopper Dominique Kirk (6-3, 185 pound guard), and junior three-point marksman Josh Carter (6-7, 195 pound small forward).

Sophomore point guard Donald Sloan (6-2, 210 pounds) will try to fill Law's shoes along with Texas A&M's most heralded freshman recruit ever DeAndre Jordan (7-0, 240 pound center) to round out the starting five.

The Aggies are the most complete team the Tide has faced so far with the balance of outside shooting and inside presence.

Offensively, the Aggies average 75.5 points per game with Carter leading the way at 13 points per game. A&M's shooting percentages are 48.9% from the floor, 38.4% (38-99) from the arc, and 58.4% from the foul line. The Aggies distribute the ball at the rate of 13.67 assist and 14.5 turnovers per game.

Defensively, Texas A&M gives up 58 points per game to their opponents. The Aggies average 43.8 rebounds, 4.33 blocks, and 4.67 steals per game. Opponents shoot 36.5% from the floor and 31.5% from the three-point line while averaging 30.7 rebounds per game.

For Bama on defense, look for them to play more man-to-man with special attention to two areas.

First, the Tide should press the ball extremely hard as it looks like A&M does not distribute the ball well. Second, Jones and Jordan need to be fouled if they are shooting it at point blank range, because both struggles at the charity stripe at 67.7% and 18.2% respectively.

Coach Mark Gottfried could possibly insert Justin Knox into the starting line-up to offset the size advantage the Aggies will have. Alabama has been a good rebounding team to this point, but needs to be the aggressor to keep the numbers balanced.

For the Tide on offense, the Aggies will probably use a zone to pack in around Hendrix and company. Bama's outside shooters will be burdened with the task of opening up that zone.

Shot selection will be crucial as the Tide will likely not get a second chance on every trip. Again, Bama should be the aggressor with their athleticism and quickness (driving the ball) in order to keep this one close.

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