A&M vs. LSU Game Preview

On Saturday both the Aggies and the Tigers head to the Toyota Center in Houston to face off in what looks to be an evenly matched game. The stakes are high as both teams will be vying for a tournament bid and looking to showcase their talents to the many recruits in the hotbed of talent that is Houston. Websider brings you a preview of tommorrow's game.

On Saturday, Texas A&M (9-1) will host LSU (8-0) in Houston at the Toyota Center, and, despite the 18 games played among them, this game will be anyone's guess. Texas A&M has at least played competition worthy of a challenge, and has managed what is looking to be a very quality win over an Arizona team that recently knocked off #4 Gonzaga. Still, the Aggies' victories against Florida A&M and SMU were anything but impressive, and the loss to 6-4 Tulsa will do them no favors come tournament time.

LSU, on the other hand, has handily beaten every opponent they faced – which says a lot until you look at the strength of schedule they have put out thus far. 8 mid-majors, 8 home games, 8 blowout wins. The Tigers have not ventured out of "The Deaf Dome" all season, allowing first year head coach Trent Johnson to ease the team into his standard of play.

This is a very different Tiger team than the one A&M throttled last year 79-53 in Reed Arena, which should make for an exciting matchup. Last year LSU was facing some key injuries and a lame duck head coach, while Johnson now has his team playing on a very high level. While the record of LSU's first eight opponents is a combined 28-53, they are beating their opponents by over 23 points per game on average. Here are the projected matchups for each team's starters.

Point Guard

Donald Sloan vs. Bo Spencer

These two bring different strengths into the point guard position but should be evenly matched. Sloan is bigger, taller, and has a better drive to the basket, while Spencer likes to stay along the perimeter. Sloan is the better passer, while Spencer is hitting over 50% from beyond the arc and averages 2 made threes per game. If Sloan can get to the line he can outscore Bo, but Spencer rarely gets in foul trouble so he'll likely need to draw a call from a bigger man driving in the lane.

Advantage: Push

Shooting Guard

Derrick Roland vs. Marcus Thornton

1 of 2 key matchups for Texas A&M, Thornton is averaging over 17 points per game and is likely to be the leading scorer for LSU. Roland will switch often with B.J. Holmes, but look for Roland to stay in for extended amounts of time to combat Marcus' high scoring ability. Thornton is only shooting 35% from behind the arc, but he has excellent driving ability, which Holmes could struggle to compete with. Offensively, Roland's main concern should be to protect the basketball, and drive to the rim for an occasional foul.

Advantage: LSU

Small Forward

Josh Carter vs. Garret Temple

Josh falls into a good matchup this week, as the senior Temple is viewed by some as the weakest link on the LSU starting front. Carter's 3-point percentage is still down from where he is capable of being this year, at 41%, but he should find some room to work on improving this line on Saturday. Temple is averaging 6.8 points per game, and is known more of a passer, as he leads the team in assists.

Advantage: A&M

Power Forward

Bryan Davis vs. Tasmin Mitchell

The most important matchup for A&M to achieve victory is Davis' battle with Mitchell. Davis has struggled mightily in the past 3 games, and has been especially criticized for his lack of rebounding effort. Mitchell, on the other hand, has been superb under the glass in that same span, pulling down 29 rebounds and averaging 13 points on the year. Davis needs to return to form in Houston, or Mitchell will take over the inside game.

Advantage: LSU


Chinemelu Elonu vs. Chris Johnson

Originally thought to be buried in the depth chart for Texas A&M, Junior has emerged as a standout over the last couple of weeks for the Aggies. He has always been a force on the defensive end, but has added to his game by becoming remarkably efficient on offense. Junior is shooting 69% from the floor, and has held down the paint with tremendous intensity over the past few games. Johnson is very similar to Elonu, averaging an impressive 2.9 blocks per game, but has struggled to put up impressive offensive numbers against lesser opponents.

Advantage: Texas A&M.

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