Two familiar foes in the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas A&M Aggies meet on the hardwood once again tonight in a win or go home situation. Enlisting our SBNation partner, Good Bull Hunting, to break down the game, here's a primer on the what to expect from the Aggies.
CCM - If TAMU finds themselves with a 12 point deficit and 44 seconds left on the clock, how do you feel about their chances to pull out a victory in Anaheim?
GBH - As amazing as that was, the curse of Sunday night's result is that we can never again give up hope. Ever. When you add that to our nature as a relentlessly optimistic (usually in the face of cold, hard facts) fanbase, it probably isn't the healthiest combination. Which is a long winded way of saying that I'm 100% confident we would absolutely nail that comeback again.
CCM - Texas A&M pulled off a comeback against all odds before finally earning a spot in the Sweet Sixteen with a double overtime win. During the final 37 seconds, the Aggies deployed a press showcasing the defensive ability of the roster. Will A&M opt to press more often than not in hopes of disrupting the Oklahoma Sooners or keep it in their back pocket until needed?
GBH - This is a really interesting question. We've dabbled with small ball over the last month, most notably running plays for DJ Hogg on the block, but we never fully committed to it until Sunday night. It's hard to argue the effectiveness... but it only works if we bench our best true big man (Tyler Davis). Davis has been great lately, so that's a pretty rough pill to swallow. If I had to guess, you won't see extended pressure unless things start going really poorly for us.
CCM - Oklahoma fans are worried heading into the match-up due to elite rebounding nature Texas A&M possesses as a whole. What's the biggest weakness of this Aggies squad?
GBH - Much to the chagrin of Aggies everywhere, our biggest weakness was displayed for the first 38 minutes of Sunday night's game - an inability to defend the three point shot. Particularly in a zone, which we can sometimes cling to for no reason. You guys don't have anyone who can take advantage of that, do you? Right? Guys?
CCM - Danuel House averages 21 points per game through two rounds of the NCAA Tournament but has not shot well from behind the arc consistently. How important is it that he finds a rhythm early and who else can carry the load if House comes up short?
House is a really bizarre scorer - it's not important at all if he gets going early. His overall game has matured a great deal since last year, and he will fill up the stat sheet in other ways if he doesn't have it on the offensive end. But that's not the odd part. The odd part is that his late game success has nothing to do with his numbers to that point. UNI was probably the 3rd or 4th big game this year (Iowa State is the biggest that comes to mind) where he took over late despite a pretty pedestrian opening 35+ minutes. He wants the ball late, and his success to that point doesn't really matter. And it works.
If House doesn't have it, the most likely options are Jalen Jones (first team All-SEC) and our trio of talented freshmen (Tyler Davis, Admon Gilder, and DJ Hogg). Alex Caruso is the wild card - he typically kicks in 6-8 points, but he dropped 25 against UNI.
CCM - Give us your score prediction.
GBH - I'd love to pick A&M, but I honestly have to give you guys the slight edge. It's close, but the tiebreaker goes to the squad with the best scorer in the country.
Prediction: Oklahoma 73, Texas A&M 67