Mountaineers Look to Neutralize Aggies' Size With Speed

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - According to West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins, the Mountaineers will have to combat Texas A&M's impressive size by forcing the Aggies to play an up-tempo style of game.

Saturday afternoon's match-up will feature a team that is relatively unknown to West Virginia and its fans. The Mountaineers have only played Texas A&M (whose campus sits over 1,500 miles away from Morgantown) one time in school history - a 73-66 win in the 2009 season, but the Aggies will visit Morgantown as part of the Big 12/SEC challenge.

A&M enters the match-up with a record of 11-8 and has played inconsistently over the course of the season, but there is on thing that sticks out about the Aggies - their tremendous size. The Aggies will sometimes start two centers (Tonny Trocha-Morelos and Tyler Davis) and have five players who are 6'9 or taller that are averaging more than 15 minutes per contest. That size certainly hasn't been lost on West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.

"They're big, really big," Huggins said. "They're bigger than Texas was inside and Texas was big. (Texas A&M) has girth as well. They're long but they have a lot of weight behind them."

Most probably feel that Baylor, who also has exceptional length, makes for a good comparison to the Aggies, but Huggins was quick to point out that the Bears and Aggies are quite different and the Mountaineers have not yet faced a team with the size that Texas A&M has.

"They're different (than Baylor)," said Huggins. "Baylor doesn't have a big body. They have a lot of length but they don't have a big body. These guys have length and big bodies. (Tyler Davis) weighs 270 or 280."

Davis has been the Aggies most consistent contributor thus far, averaging 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and the 6-10 sophomore is a big reason that Texas A&M is out-rebounding opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per game. But while A&M has been pretty good on the glass, one statistic that should jump out to the Mountaineers is the Aggies' turnover margin of -1.8 per game. That margin ranks 291st in the country and the Aggies could be in big trouble if they don't take care of the ball and correctly dissect West Virginia's pressure. Huggins stated that in order to compensate for the size discrepancy, the Mountaineers must speed A&M up and force it to play an up-tempo brand of basketball that its not familiar with.

"We have got to push everything without getting out of our comfort zone," Huggins said. "We tell our guys to push it but sometimes we push it to where its out of our comfort zone. I don't want it to be out of our comfort zone but we have to pick up the place and we have to play faster."


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