Thursday, November 16, 2017

UCSB vs. Texas A & M Game Preview, by Gaucho Freg

UCSB @ #16 Texas A&M
Friday, Nov 17 @ 5:00 PM

Already considered a dangerous team for the 2017-8 season, the then #25 Aggies elevated themselves to the status of serious final four contender by walloping preseason #11 West Virginia last week in Germany.  This without the services of Sophomore  PF Robert Williams who passed on being a likely lottery pick in the NBA draft to return to A&M and their PG JJ Caldwell who are suspended for the first couple games of the season.  So they won’t be on the court in the Aggies home opener against the Gauchos but that does not seem to matter given their depth of talent, experience and athleticism.

Like for Pitt, a lot out there on this Power 5 school so here’s a couple links for more in-depth summaries:
Season preview: ... rojections
5 take aways from their big win over WVU: ... -110275478

Their line-up, briefly:
PG:  As mentioned, their starter JJ Caldwell is suspended.  Senior transfer Duane Wilson (6’3”, 175lb) from Marquette got the start against the Mountaineers, did not shoot the ball well but had 5 assists in 20m of play.
SG:  After forced to play PG for much of last season, stud SG Admon Gilder (6’4”, 200lb) is back to his natural position and took it to W.Virginia with 23 pts, 9 boards and 7 assists. 
Wing:  Freshman Savion (6’7”, 217lb) had a modest start scoring 7 pts, 1-1 from distance but had 4 TOs in 20m of play
F:  Junior DJ Hogg (6’9” 215 lb) missed much of last season with an injury and had a fantastic return with 19 pts, 7 boards and 6 assists while going 4-6 from three and getting a couple steals. 
F/C:   Junior Tyler Davis (6’10”, 266 lbs) had an incredible game, going 10-12 from the field for 23 points and grabbing 13 boards.  Like our Jalen Canty, he lost a bunch of weight over the summer and is coming into the season on a mission.

Key reserves:
G: HC Billy Kennedy is high on Freshman TJ Starks (6’2, 195 lb) who has the ability to get to the basket and create opportunities.  Didn’t shoot it well the first game but is a future star.
C:  Senior Tony Trocha-Morelos (6’10”, 229lbs), a role player who will likely just get spot minutes once Williams returns.  Played 24m and grabbed 7 boards against WVU.

Coach Billy Kennedy has been @ A&M since 2011 and took the Aggies to the Sweet 16 in the 2015-6 season.  Before that he coached Murray State for 5 years, including to the round of 32 and a 31-5 overall record in 2009-10.

Aggie Hoops History:  They’ve made it to the Sweet 16 three times; 1980, 2007 & 2016.  UCSB & the Aggies faced off twice in the 1970s with the Gauchos the victor both times.
The Aggies play their games in Reed Arena which opened in 1998 and seats about 13K.

Prediction:  Too much athleticism and skill for our squad and the Aggies shouldn’t have too much difficulty with our evolving man defense.  I think our guys will battle and keep the score within a reasonable distance for a while but expect a couple dominant runs from the Aggies, especially in the 2nd half to allow them to win comfortably. 
Aggies 85  UCSB 67

Official Site:
Hey Guys!:
How to watch:  Game will be on the SEC network and the WatchESPN app will allow you to watch online. 

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