Aggies host Colorado to open Big 12 play

Big 12 Conference play is here and No. 10 Texas A&M will wrap up it's homestand on Saturday afternoon when they host Colorado. Aggie Websider's Tony Hooten provides an indepth preview of the Aggie-Buffalo clash.

The No. 10 Texas A&M Aggies complete their eight-game homestand on Saturday afternoon when they host the Colorado Buffaloes at 3 p.m. in what should be another packed house.

Texas A&M (14-1) have won 7 in a row and last week moved back into the Top 10. The Aggies are ranked No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and No. 11 in the Associated Press poll.

Colorado (8-6) is coming off a disappointing 81-68 loss to Tulsa on Monday night.

Colorado finished the 2006-2007 season with a 7-20 overall record and a 3-13 in the Big 12 Conference, including a 87-69 loss to Texas A&M in Boulder.

Jeff Bzdelik was named the 17th men’s basketball head coach for the University of Colorado basketball program on April 5, 2007.

Bzdelik comes to Colorado from the United States Air Force Academy, where he guided the Falcons to a 50-16 record (a 75.8 winning percentage) in two seasons from 2005-07. During that span he led the Falcons to a 2005-06 NCAA Tournament and a 2006-07 NIT Final Four appearance.

To get a better feel for just how good Colorado is, the Buffaloes are rated No. 165 (of 341) in Jeff Sagarin's Basketball Ratings. The Buffaloes' eight wins have come against Florida A&M (No. 328), Savannah State (No. 301), Colorado Christian (Non-NCAA), Denver (No. 206), Air Force (No. 224), Colorado State (No. 181), Grambling State (No. 341), and SMU (No. 320).

Colorado's six losses have included a 26-point loss to Wisconsin (No. 11), a 24-point loss to Stanford (No. 30), and losses to New Mexico (No. 31), Wyoming (No. 187), New Orleans (No. 168), and Tulsa (No. 127).

By contrast, Texas A&M is currently rated by Sagarin at No. 16. The one common opponent, Florida A&M, the Aggies beat by 29 points, while Colorado won by 24 points.

Colorado has beaten no team higher than No. 181, while the Aggies have beaten Ohio St (No. 24), Washington (No. 66), UTEP (No. 86), Oral Roberts (No. 89), and Alabama (No. 106).

Colorado's best game probably came in a 7-point loss to now 14-2 New Mexico in their opening game of the season.

This year's Colorado team is led by a trio of guards in senior Richard Roby (6-6, 200), senior Marcus Hall (6-2, 175), and sophomore Xavier Silas (6-5, 190).

Richard Roby is averaging 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game. Last year Roby led Colorado scoring for the third straight season (17.3 ppg.) and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection.

Marcus Hall is averaging 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4 assists a game. Hall also leads the Buffs in 3-pointers with 24 and steals with 31. He redshirted last year after starting 23 games in 2005-2006.

Austin native Xavier Silas is averaging 10.7 points and 2.8 rebounds a game. Last season Silas started 17 games as a true freshman and averaged 12 points and four rebounds.

Other starters are expected to be true freshman guard Cory Higgins (6-5, 190) and junior forward Jermyl Jackson-Wilson (6-6, 220).

Texas A&M is expected to start the same lineup as it has for all 14 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 13.7 points a game and has hit 36 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 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists a game.

With the Aggie winning margin over 14 games over 20 points, the starters have only averaged about 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 7 points and 3 rebounds.

The Aggies should dominate inside and continue to have a huge rebounding edge.

Expect to see Colorado use King-Stockton (6-9) and Patterson (6-11) early and often in an effort to counter the Aggies significant size advantage inside.

With the home court advantage, and the motivation of Big 12 Conference play, Texas A&M should easily win this game. If the Aggies get on a roll, it could get ugly.

The Aggies will have some extra incentive as this is A&M's biggest football recruiting weekend, with many prospects in attendence.

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