Big XII Tournament: Texas A&M vs Oklahoma Preview

Mar 3, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; A member of the Oklahoma Sooners spirit team dunks the ball during a break in action against the Texas A&M Aggies during the first half at the Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Big XII Tournament gets underway in Kansas City tonight as the Oklahoma Sooners take on the Texas A&M Aggies in the first game at 6PM. Following that, the other Oklahoma school in the Oklahoma St. Cowboys will go head-to-head against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 8:30PM.

The game most people here are obviously going to be interested is the kickoff. These are two foes who should be very familiar with one another as the Aggies were defeated by the Sooners this past weekend. Don't expect many surprises or wrinkles to show up here.

Texas A&M and Oklahoma split the regular season games with the Sooners edging the Aggies in the final regular season game. This was important for OU as it would give them a small confidence boost and the mentality that they can beat aTm. While these teams are used to playing in front of a bit of a crowd, neither will travel well this year and the stands will remain empty. So for ease of things here is a rundown and who gets the edge in each category...

Oklahoma Sooners Texas A&M Aggies
Points Per Game 70 61
Defensive Rebounding 24 24
Offensive Rebounding 13 10
Assists/Turnovers 1.09 0.87
FG% 43.6 43.5
3PT% 35.6 33.1

A simple eye test will tell you that these two teams are near evenly matched. The biggest thing that is going to come into play is the defenses. Oklahoma seems to have a big let down defensively allowing teams to put together runs. Staying consistent will be the key tonight.

Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby are a bit on the smaller side when it comes to bigs. They will be squaring off against Khris Middleton and David Loubeau who are roughly the same size as Oklahoma's bigs. You can bet this quartet will be putting up solid numbers. The x-factor then becomes Steven Pledger or Elston Turner. Pledger didn't play particularly well in the last outing against the Aggies, but neither did Turner.

Both Pleger and Turner lead their teams in scoring. If one or both hit their numbers for tonight while the supporting cast does their role, we could be in for a game of ups and downs for both sides. However, the Aggies really have nothing to play for at this point. On the other hand, Oklahoma will be looking to remain at .500 on the season to keep their post-season tournament hopes alive. It is going to take at least a .500 record for OU to be considered for the NIT and it starts tonight.

So what needs to happen? 1) Oklahoma must put the ball in the hands of Osby. He has hot the hot hand as of late and will look to continue that trend. Not only does Roe need the ball, 2) Cameron Clark needs to get going early. I'm not talking points wise either. This kid has been a force on the glass recently with 20 rebounds in the past two outings alone. He will need to look to be aggressive on the glass tonight as well. The Sooners will need these two things firing in succession to 3) build a lead. The lead is going to be essential and will decide if OU can weather a second half run by the Aggies.

The Sooners will be wearing the home jerseys tonight with a little bit of confidence. Pride will be on the line and for the Sooners a shot at the NIT. Join in as the Big XII Tournament kicks off at 6PM tonight!

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