A&M - Rice Game Preview

Texas A&M travels to Houston to wrap up 2008 with a game against the Rice Owls in Autry Court. Websider takes a look at the game and the strengths of each team as we get ready for today's early tipoff.

Texas A&M Starters

Guard – 6'3" junior Donald Sloan (12.0 ppg, 3.8 apg)
Guard – 6'4" junior Derrick Roland (5.5 ppg, 2.3 apg)
Guard – 6'7" senior Josh Carter (13.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
Forward – 6'9" junior Bryan Davis (11.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
Forward – 6'10" junior Chinemelu Elonu (8.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg)

Rice Starters

Guard – 6'0" sophomore Bryan Beasley (6.1 ppg, 2.1 apg)
Guard – 6'1" senior Rodney Foster (11.0 ppg, 4.3 apg)
Guard – 6'2" junior Cory Pflieger (12.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
Forward – 6'8" freshman Lucas Kupiers (9.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Forward – 6'10" sophomore Trey Stanton (6.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg)

Matchups

Guards


Texas A&M matches up well with the guards for Rice, who give up at least 3 inches in height at each guard spot. Rice's best shooter is junior Cory Pflieger, who is shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. Expect Derrick Roland to spell Josh Carter in matching up against Pflieger, in the hopes that he will be able to shut him down as effectively as he did Sam Houston State's Corey Allmond.

At point guard, Bryan Beasley is expected to take the start over teammate Connor Frizzelle for the Owls. Frizzelle came into this season with high expectations, but so far has shot only 27 percent from the field, including 16 percent for three, leading to his spot on the bench. Both will see significant minutes, but neither should be able to stop Sloan on his drives to the basket.

Rice's smaller lineup should also be favorable for B.J. Holmes to again log significant minutes. Holmes' confidence has grown each game, and he should be able to create room to polish his already impressive drives to the basket against Beasley or Foster.

Forwards

The Owls like to utilize a 4-man rotation for their big two, both due to their depth and the propensity of the post men to get into foul trouble. Freshman Lucas Kuipers is probably the best of the bunch, netting almost 10 points per contest and showcasing an impressive outside shot – he actually makes 44.8 percent from 3-point range. Bryan Davis is very effective down low, but struggles at times when asked to guard near the perimeter, so Nathan Walkup may be utilized as he better matches up with the tweener Kuipers.

A&M stands an excellent chance to win the rebounding battles, as Rice has struggled in this area all season long. Trey Stanton leads the way with 5.4 rebounds per game, but should be held under his season average by Elonu, who has been a monster on the boards as of late. With the Aggies finding depth of their own in the post position, look for a strong, physical game under the rim, as A&M should not be afraid to foul the Owls' big men. Rice forwards are shooting under 60% on average from the charity stripe.

Prediction

First year head coach Ben Braun has Rice moving in the right direction, but at 5-7 they still have much work to do to have a successful season. The Owls have already faced two Big 12 South opponents, losing at Texas 77-56 and at home to Oklahoma 70-58. A&M coach Mark Turgeon must prepare for three games in four days, but he and his team should be able to put on a good show in Autry Court tonight, and march out of Houston with a comfortable win.

Texas A&M – 68
Rice - 55





Aggie Digest Top Stories