The No. 16-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (15-4, 1-3 Big 12) will be seeking to put an end to a 3-game losing streak and looking for their first road win of the season when they travel to Stillwater to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-8, 1-3 Big 12) in a nationally televised contest.
The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
Texas A&M saw their 8-game winning streak come to a crashing end last week in Lubbock when Texas Tech handed the Aggies a 68-53 defeat, and has since lost 75-54 on the road to Kansas State and suffered a tough 5-overtime 116-110 home loss to No 25 Baylor on Wednesday night, the longest game in A&M and Big 12 history.
Oklahoma State is also coming off a close loss, a 63-61 defeat at the hands of No. 12 Texas in Austin on Monday night. Like the Aggies, Oklahoma State has also lost three in a row and is 1-3 in Big 12 play.
Texas A&M won both regular season encounters with Oklahoma State last season by big margins, 67-49 in College Station and 66-46 in Stillwater, but Oklahoma State defeated the Aggies 57-56 in the Big 12 tourney.
Oklahoma State posted a 22-13 record last season. After beating A&M, the Cowboys were defeated by Texas 69-64 in the Big 12 semifinals game and then lost 67-64 in the first round of the post-season NIT tournament.
Oklahoma State lost its two leading scorers from last season, forward Mario Boggan and guard JamesOn Curry. Senior Boggan to graduation and junior Curry as a a 2nd round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls.
Oklahoma State has struggled to find the consistent production to replace Boggan and Curry.
Oklahoma State starters are expected to be:
Freshman guard James Anderson (6-6, 195): averaging 31 minutes, 15.6 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. Anderson had 17 points and 6 rebounds in the Cowboys' loss to Texas, scored 11 points in the Cowboys' loss to Baylor, and scored 13 points in the Cowboys' win over Texas Tech..
Junior guard Terrel Harris (6-5, 195): averaging 32 minutes, 11.7 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. Dove had 11 points and 9 rebounds in the Cowboys' loss to Texas, scored 17 points in the Cowboys' loss to Iowa State, and had 23 points and 7 rebounds in the Cowboy's loss to Baylor.
Senior forward Marcus Dove (6-9, 215): averaging 33 minutes, 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. Dove had 17 points and 9 rebounds in the Cowboys' loss to Iowa State, and had 10 points and 6 rebounds in the Cowboys' win over Texas Tech.
Junior guard Byron Eaton (5-11, 213): averaging 26 minutes, 9.6 points. 3 rebounds and 3 assists a game.Eaton had 14 points and 8 rebounds in the Cowboys' loss to Texas, and had 11 points and 5 rebounds in the Cowboys' loss to Baylor.
Freshman center Ibrahima Thomas 6-11, 238): averaging 15 minutes, 5 points and 4 rebounds a game. Thomas had 16 points and 8 rebounds in the Cowboys' win over Texas Tech.
First of the bench for Oklahoma State should be:
Sophomore guard Obi Muonelo (6-5, 225): averaging 24 minutes, 9 points and 3 rebounds a game. Muonelo came off the bench in the Cowboys' win over Texas Tech to score 21 points.
Freshman forward Anthony Brown (6-6, 225): averaging 13 minutes, 5 points and 3 rebounds a game.
Freshman forward Martavius Adams (6-8, 255): averaging 12 minutes, 2 points and 2 rebounds a game.
To get a better feel for just how good Oklahoma State is, the Cowboys are rated No. 104 (of 341) in Jeff Sagarin's Basketball Ratings.
Oklahoma State's most impressive games this season have been a 25-point 96-71 home win over Washington (No. 65), a 19-point 74-55 home win over Texas Tech (No. 71), and Monday's close 63-61 road loss to Texas (No. 16).
Oklahoma State's most disappointing losses have been a 30-point drubbung at home by Marquette (No. 15), an 82-73 loss at North Texas (No. 140), and a 73-66 loss last Saturday at Iowa State (No. 111).
By contrast, Texas A&M has seen their Sagarin rating drop from No. 17 to No. 36 after the Tech, K-State, and Baylor losses.
Texas A&M's most impressive wins have been its 23-point win over Ohio St (No. 25) and its 14-point win over Washington (No. 65). A&M's four losses have been by 11 points to Arizona (No. 20) by 15 points to Texas Tech (No. 71), by 21 points to Kansas State (No. 32), and the 5-overtime ;loss to Batylor (No. 26).
Texas A&M and Oklahoma State have faced fve common opponents - Washington, Oral Roberts, LSU, Texas Tech and Baylor.
A&M beat Washington by 14 points while Oklahoma State beat Washington by 25 points. A&M beat Oral Roberts by 14 points while Oklahoma State lost to Oral Roberts by 15 points. A&M beat LSU by 26 points while Oklahoma State beat LSU by 6 points. Oklahoma State beat Texas Tech at home by 19 points while A&M lost to Texas Tech on the road by 15 points. Oklahoma State lost at Baylor by 8 points while A&M lost to Baylor at home in 5 overtimes by 6 points.
Texas A&M is expected to start the same lineup as it has for its last two games: junior forward Josh Carter (6-7, 200), senior forward Joseph Jones (6-9, 255), sophomore guard Donald Sloan (6-3, 205), senior guard Dominique Kirk (6-4, 185), and sophomore forward Bryan Davis (6-9, 250).
Carter leads the Aggies in scoring with 13.5 points a game and has hit 44 three-pointers. Jones is averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds a game. Sloan is averaging about 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists a game while Kirk is averaging about 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists a game.
Bryan Davis has started the last two games for the Aggies and had an outstanding game in the 5-overtime loss to Baylor, where he scored 30 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. Davis is now averaging averaging 8.5 points and 5 rebounds a game.
First off the bench and averaging over 20 minutes a game will be freshman center DeAndre Jordan (7-0, 260) and sophomore guard Derrick Roland (6-4, 190). True freshman Jordan started the first 17 games of the season and is now averaging about 9 points and 7 rebounds a game, while Roland is averaging 7 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).
Oklahoma State has had five days to prepare for the Aggies.
If the Aggies hope to make the NCAA tourney, they cannot afford a loss to Oklahoma State.
With the Oklahoma State inconsistent guard play and lack of NBA talent on the inside, the Aggies match up very well with the Cowboys.
If this game was being played at Reed Arena, we'd have no doubt of an Aggie victory.
However, based upon recent form and until proven different, every game on the road will be a struggle for the Aggies.
The Aggies should win this game by at least 6 points, but I will not be surprised to see this be a nail-biter decided in the final minute of play.