Pregame Breakdown: OSU vs. Texas A&M

Go Pokes breaks down Oklahoma State's matchup with the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Aggies won the first meeting this season by 15 in College Station.

Overview

With three games remaining in the regular season we still don't know what to expect from this team on a game-to-game basis. One thing we have learned is that Oklahoma State is still hard to beat in Gallagher-Iba Arena. After an impressive win against Texas last Saturday, OSU turned in arguably its worst performance of the season to date in a 77-64 loss to an Oklahoma team that had lost six straight going in. OSU scored a team Big 12 record low 12 points in the first half. The Cowboys (13-15, 6-9 Big 12) host another struggling team on Saturday when Texas A&M (13-14, 4-11) comes to town. The game is set for a 1 p.m. tip and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Oklahoma State

1) OSU leads the all-time series with Texas A&M 30-17, including a 14-5 advantage in Stillwater. However, A&M has won nine of the past 13 meetings and has won four straight overall. The Aggies have won in three of their past five trips to GIA. The Aggies won the first matchup this season, taking a 76-61 victory in College Station in January.

2) Le'Bryan Nash's status for Saturday's game is uncertain. He is listed as "doubtful" for the game with an injured left arm. He left Norman in a cast on Wednesday. If there is any hope for him to possibly play, it's the fact that he injured his nonshooting hand. However, a source did speculate that Nash would be out for the remainder of the season.

3) Senior captain Keiton Page was named the Big 12 player of the week on Monday for his performances against Missouri and Texas. He scored 23 in Columbia before dropping a career-best 40 on the Longhorns. Even though the player of the week honors had already come in, he didn't slow his pace by scoring 29 at Oklahoma on Wednesday. His performance against the Sooners launched him up the school's career scoring charts from 11th to seventh with 1,543 career points.

4) Another Page note: the senior from Pawnee needs to make four 3's to tie and five to pass Randy Rutherford for the most in a career in school history. Page has made 275 compared to Rutherford's 279. Obi Muonelo is third with 245 followed by Adrian Peterson (228) and James Anderson (225).

5) If the Cowboys have been consistently good at anything this season it has been blocking shots. OSU has 129 blocked shots this season and ranks fifth in school history with 4.6 per game. Michael Cobbins leads the Cowboys with 45 blocks, good for sixth in the Big 12 and third in OSU history by a freshman. Philip Jurick has 43 despite missing a lot of time with injuries. OSU needs 17 more blocks this season to move into fourth all-time at OSU, which would move them past the 1980-81 team. The school record of 189 blocks was set in 1988-89.

Texas A&M

1) Khris Middleton was out with an injury when the Cowboys played in College Station and the Aggies still won by 15. Now A&M has its best player back — in a big way. Middleton is averaging 19 points per game since returning from injury.

2) There is no doubt OSU has had a disappointing season but the Aggies know the feeling. Texas A&M was the preseason favorite but has underwhelmed and been decimated by injuries. A&M was one of just eight schools nationally to win 24 or more games the past five years; one of 12 schools to make the NCAA Tournament the past six years; and one of three to finish .500 or better in Big 12 play the past seven seasons. All three streaks will end this year.

3) Elston Turner has slid over to point guard the past seven games for the injured Dash Harris and has done well. Turner leads the team in scoring with 13.9 points per game and also leads active players with 2.4 assists per game (Harris was averaging 4.3 before his injury). Turner scored 23 against OSU in the last meeting.

4) Texas A&M leads the Big 12 in two defensive categories heading to Stillwater. It is No. 1 in the conference in scoring defense and 3-point percentage defense. A&M is also third in defensive rebound margin and field-goal percentage defense.

5) There will be some familiar faces on the A&M bench in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Two of Billy Kennedy's assistant coaches were a part of Eddie Sutton's staff at OSU. Aggie associate head coach Glynn Cyprien was an OSU assistant from 2000-04 and A&M assistant Kyle Keller was with the Cowboys from 1999-08.

Projected Starters

Oklahoma State

F Le'Bryan Nash (6-7, 230, Fr., 13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg)*

F Michael Cobbins (6-8, 220, Fr., 5.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

G Brian Williams (6-5, 205, Fr., 8.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

G Keiton Page (5-9, 165, Sr., 16.2 ppg, 2.1 apg)

G Markel Brown (6-3, 190, So., 10.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg)

(* Nash is listed as doubtful but has not been ruled out)

Texas A&M

F David Loubeau (6-8, 234, Sr., 10.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

F Khris Middleton (6-7, 217, Jr., 12.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg)

F Ray Turner (6-9, 232, Jr., 8.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg)

G Jordan Green (6-4, 181, Fr., 3.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg)

G Elston Turner (6-5, 211, Jr., 14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Prediction

A lot hinges on whether Nash plays or not in this game. OSU's loss at Texas A&M in January marked the Cowboys' worst loss of the season, as far as opponent quality is concerned. The Aggies rank 159th in the RPI, the lowest of any of OSU's losses. With Middleton back and Nash likely out, it certainly changes things. OSU needs Page to stay hot, protect the basketball and feed off the energy that gets them going at home to win this one. Prediction: Texas A&M 66, OSU 61


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