Game 21: Texas A&M at No. 5 Kansas – Preview and Prediction

Off a loss in Norman, the Jayhawks look to take down one of the country’s tallest teams in the Texas A&M aggies in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Kansas takes a brief break from the Big 12 race for a non-conference game with former Big 12 foe, Texas A&M. While this game has no impact on the race for the 14th straight Big 12 title, it is important in the grand scheme of things. The Jayhawks need to get a win to not let things snowball and start the second half of the conference season strong.

About Texas A&M: A&M started the season in the top 25 and rose to as high as 7th. Some experts picked the Aggies as a Final Four team to start the year. Remember, this team started off the season blowing out West Virginia overseas in the Armed Forces Classic. They started 11-1, but the wheels fell off quickly, as A&M saw a slew of their players got suspended for various reasons. And right when those suspensions happened, the losses came in bunches. The Aggies are just 2-6 in SEC play and are in serious danger of missing the NCAA Tournament. A win against the Jayhawks would certainly help their chances.

Game Info and Notes:

  • Saturday, January 27th, 2018 at 3:30 pm CT
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kan.
  • ESPN or WatchESPN App
  • Kansas leads the all-time series 20-1
  • Since the start of the Big 12/SEC Challenge in 2013-14, Kansas is 3-1 in the event after its sweep of Kentucky the past two seasons and a split with Florida the first two years of the event
  • The Jayhawks have a one-game lead on four teams at 5-3 – Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kansas State
  • Seven of Kansas’ eight conference games this season have been decided by six points or less with the Jayhawks going 6-1 in those battles. Stretching back to last season, Kansas has played 18 Big 12 games that were decided by seven points or less. Kansas is 16-2 in those outcomes
  • Senior G Devonte’ Graham is the only player in NCAA Division I averaging 17.5-plus points, 7.0-plus assists, 2.0-plus steals and fewer than 3.0 turnovers per game
  • Sophomore C Udoka Azubuike leads the NCAA in field goal percentage at 77.4 percent. He is 32-for-38 (84.2 percent) in his last six games
  • In Big 12 play, senior guards Devonte’ Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have combined to average 36.9 points per game, including 55 of Kansas’ 83 3-pointers (66.2 percent)
Aggies to Watch
Tyler Davis – 6’10″ junior, center

David leads the Aggies in scoring and rebounding at 14.6 PPG and 8.8 RPG. Over his last three games he’s posted three straight double-doubles, averaging 14.3 PPG and 12.6 RPG in that span. At 6’10”, 266 lbs. Davis is one of the few players KU will face this year that can stack up with Azubuike physically.

DJ Hogg – 6’9″ junior, forward

Right when Texas A&M went into their tailspin, it coincided with Hogg’s three-game suspension. Before his suspension, Hogg was averaging 14.6 PPG and since he’s came back he’s only scoring 8.0 PPG. Nevertheless, he’s a very talented player that can hurt the Jayhawks if they aren’t careful.

Duane Wilson – 6’3″ senior, guard

Like Hogg, Wilson was also suspended this season for three games. Wilson makes plays for this A&M team though. He leads the team in APG with 4.0. He’s also very capable of scoring if he needs to. He has two 20-point games this season, including a 23 point performance against Buffalo back in December.

 

Prediction

Kansas 85 – Texas A&M  77

AUDIO PREVIEW: LINK (go to 67:00 mark)

I know this game shouldn’t be close, but if I’ve learned one thing watching Kansas this season, it is that they are immune to blow outs. Somehow, someway the Aggies will stay close, but in the end the Jayhawks pull away (and even steal some minutes for Devonte’ Graham to rest!) Malik Newman has come alive in recent games, but the key to get the Jayhawks to come together is Lagareld Vick. Vick has been an no-show over the last seven ball games. Since scoring 21 in the Big 12 opener against Texas, Vick is averaging just 6.5 PPG. He has 19 baskets and 20 turnovers in his last seven contests. That win over Texas was perhaps the best game KU played all year, and a big reason it was is because KU’s big three of Vick, Mykhailiuk and Graham all showed up that night. Kansas needs Vick to get back to being Vick, and that can all start Saturday night against the Aggies.

Bobby Norell

My name is Bobby Norell. I'm from a small town in northern Indiana. I recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Sport Communication. Even though my diploma says I'm a Hoosier, my love for the Jayhawks has never wavered. They'll always come No.1.