Big test begins tonight for Aggies

With back to back games on the road, the Aggies need to win two big games to set the pace for a run at the Big 12 Championship. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at the rocky road ahead, including a big disadvantage over the next four weekend games.

Rarely is a Big 12 title won in January, but the next two weeks could indeed be key for the Aggies if they're going to have a shot for a showdown with Kansas in the season finale at Reed Arena.

The Aggies play three of their next four games on the road, including back to back games at Texas Tech and Kansas State.

The Aggies are 3-5 in Lubbock since 2000 and were swept by the Red Raiders last season in two extremely close games. Those two losses, in games the Aggies were picked to win, ended up costing A&M at least a share of the Big 12 Championship a year ago.

Head coach Mark Turgeon doesn't necessarily agree with that statement, but he does understand how important this week is for his squad.

"It is a huge week for our program," Turgeon said. "I think you have the chance to either have a special season or you have the chance to have an above average season and if you want to have a special season you have to learn how to win on the road. It's a big week for us and our young men know it and our coaches know it. We will be prepared."

While the Aggies have had decent success in Lubbock in recent years, they've never won a game at Kansas State, which is the only Big 12 site where the Aggies have not registered at least one win.

The Wildcats have a bit of an advantage with no mid-week game this week as well. They're actually the first of four consecutive weekend opponents who will have extra time off to prepare for the Aggies this year. Kansas will also have two extra days to prepare for the Aggies in March as well. That's one factor that Turgeon is definitely conscious of.

"It's a huge advantage (for Kansas State) and it happens a few times to us in the league," Turgeon said. "They can watch us on Wednesday (against Texas Tech) and then have a couple of days to prepare. They'll probably be a little more prepared for us than we will be for them."

Texas Tech and Kansas State are a combined 15-2 at home this year, but the Aggies will definitely be each team's toughest test yet.

Texas Tech coaches not happy with play from leading scorer Martin Zeno.
"It's not just Zeno, it's Burgess, too," said Texas Tech head coach designate Pat Knight. "We've got two seniors who started a lot of games last year and they're just not playing like leaders. Zeno is supposedly your best player, you get an eight-point lead and then he commits five turnovers. You can't have that from your supposed best player. All we can do is talk to the kid, beg him, and plead with him to be better. Without a lobotomy, there's not a whole lot you can do."

Kansas State concerned about physical play against A&M
"They're a very physical team," said assistant coach Dalonte Hill. "Up to this point OU is the most physical team we've played, but A&M is going to be even more physical. We've told our guys that those post guys are physical they're going to knock you off the block and knock you off the ball. Every day we put it in their head how physical they are. This one is going to be a test of defending our home court and matching the physical play of Texas A&M."

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