The No. 12-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (8-1) continue their homestand on Sunday when they play the Univeristy Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) Golden Lions (4-5) at 1 p.m. at Reed Arena.
UAPB is in its sixth season under Coach Van Holt. Van Holt has a 41-111 record in his six seasos leading UAPB. The Golden Lions finished 12-19 last season and went 9-9 in Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play.
After winning only one of its first six games this season, UAPB has won three straight and is coming off a 61-49 road win at Louisiana Tech on Tuesday. UAPB's four wins have come two each from one-win Louisiana Tech and non-NCAA Div I Philander Smith.
To get a feel for just how good this UAPB team is, UAPB is rated No. 297 (of 341) in the latest Jeff Sagarin NCAA Basketball Ratings , nine spots above that of last weekend's opponent Texas State. Sagarin currently ranks Texas A&M No. 15 and Louisiana Tech No. 307. UAPB's five losses have come against UTEP (No. 82), Wichita St (No. 103), TCU (No. 174), Wyoming (No. 157), and Colorado St (No. 135).
UAPB is led by senior forward William Byrd (6-7, 180), who is averaging 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Other starters for the Golden Lions are expected to be senior guard Marcelle Goins (6-2, 200, 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds), senior guard Larry Williams (6-3, 175, 9.7 points, 3.7 rebounds), sophomore forward Terrance Calvin (6-2, 175, 7.1 points, 3.3 rebounds), and senior forward Jarvis Gunter (6-10, 210, 5.8 points, 9.3 rebounds).
UAPB has two native Texans on its roster -- senior forward Tim Hamilton (Arlington) and freshman forward Jamarcus Williams (Marshall).
A&M has been idle since a 109-73 win against Texas State at home on Dec. 8. It was the most points scored by the Aggies since 1989.
The Aggies are 6-0 at home this season while UAPB is 2-5 in road games. A&M has won 40 straight regular-season non-conference home games since an 82-80 loss to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 13, 2003. The Aggies have won 29 of their last 30 home games overall, including eight straight since last season.
A&M leads the series, 1-0. The only meeting was an 82-53 A&M victory at Reed Arena in 2003-04. No team in the SWAC has a winning record this season. Texas A&M is 29-1 all-time against teams from the SWAC and has won 15 straight.
The UAPB game is the second game in an eight-game homestand for the Aggies. A&M does not venture onto the road again until it faces Texas Tech on Jan. 16 in Lubbock.
With no UAPB starter over 210 pounds and only one starter taller than 6'7, the Aggies will once again dominate on the inside. Look for UAPB to throw in some larger bench players in an effort to counter the Aggies' inside advantags -players like sophomore George Davis (6-6 210), sophomore Tyree Glass (6-7, 220) , freshman Jamarcus Williams (6-9, 225), and freshman Tim Johnson (6-7, 270).
Like last week's Texas State game, UAPB may hang with Texas A&M early, but in the end, this game should be another 30-point plus romp for the Aggies.