Saturday Battle of the A&M's

No. 11 Texas A&M continues its homestand on Saturday afternoon when they host Florida A&M. Tony Hooten previews the battle of the A&Ms, and why the Aggies will destoy the Rattlers.

The No. 11 Texas A&M Aggies continue their 8-game homestand on Saturday when they host the Florida A&M Rattlers at 1 p.m. at Reed Arena.

Texas A&M (11-1) is ranked No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and No. 14 in the Associated Press poll.

Florida A&M (3-7) plays in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, where the only conference team with a winning record is Morgan State (6-4).

The Rattlers have not played since December 17th, an 87-60 loss to Kansas State.

Eugene Harris is in his first year coaching the Rattlers. Over the last 22 years, Harris had been an assistant coach at Clemson (1984-1994), Auburn (1994-2001), and Alabama (2005-2006). He also served as Assistant Athletic Director at Auburn from 2001 to 2005.

On this homestand, Texas A&M has won four games in a row and their average winning margin in these four games has been 31 points. This game should not be that close.

This Florida A&M team is just not very good. Just how bad are the Rattlers ?

Florida A&M is rated No. 334 (of 341) in Jeff Sagarin's Basketball Ratings. The Rattlers' three wins have come against Carver Bible College (Non-NCAA), 2-8 Kennesaw State (No. 338), and winless North Florida (No. 340). Florida A&M's losses have included a 48-point loss to Wisconsin (No. 22), 39-point losses to Connecticut (No. 58) and Florida (No. 69), a 27-point loss to Kansas State (No. 84), a 24-point loss to Colorado (No. 147), and losses to Savannah State (No. 299) and Bethune-Cookman (No. 310). By contrast, Texas A&M is currently rated No. 13.

The Aggies will have to win by 50 to not lose ground in Sagarin's rating.

Florida A&M is led by senior guard Leslie Robinson (11.6 points, 3 rebounds) and 6-6, 230 junior forward Oliver Prince (9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds). Other starters are expected to be 6-6 freshman forward Larry Jackson (7 points, 4 rebounds) (picture above), junior guard Joe Ballard (5 points, 3 rebounds), and sophomore guard Jermonte Bush (4 points).

Top reserves and sometime starters for the Rattlers include 6-4 junior guard Lamar Twitty (9.6 points, 4.4 rebounds), 6-10 senior forward Akina Akina (9 points, 5 rebounds), and senior guard Jon Mason (4 points).

Texas A&M is expected to start the same lineup as it has for all 12 games: junior forward Josh Carter (6-7, 200), senior forward Joseph Jones (6-9, 255), freshman center DeAndre Jordan (7-0, 260, sophomore guard Donald Sloan (6-3, 205) and senior guard Dominique Kirk (6-4, 185).

Carter leads the Aggies in scoring with 13.1 points a game and has hit 27 three-pointers. Jones is averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds a game. True freshman Jordan has been coming on strong and is now averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds a game. Sloan and Kirk are each averaging about 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists a game.

With the Aggie winning margin over 12 games almost 20 points, the starters have only averaged abouty 25 minutes a game.

First off the bench amd averaging over 20 minutes a game have been sophomore forward Bryan Davis (6-9, 250) and sophomore guard Derrick Roland (6-4, 190). Davis is averaging 7 points and 5 rebounds a game, while Roland is averaging 8 points and 3 rebounds.

Other Aggies who have seen significant playing time are sophomore forward Chinemelu Elonu (6-10, 235), true freshman guard B.J. Holmes (6-0, 175), true freshman forward Nathan Walkup (6-6, 195), and senior guard Beau Muhlbach (6-5, 205).

This TAMU vs FAMU game will never be in doubt. The only question will be at what point Aggie coach Mark Turgeon begins wholesale substitutions. That fact alone will determine whether this game will be a 30-point or 50-point win for Texas A&M.


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