Kentucky Faces Trap Game at Texas A&M
Kentucky continues to climb up the national rankings and appear to be in the drivers seat for the regular season SEC championship. They will face a Texas A&M team that is headed to the NIT barring a crazy surge to end the season. On paper it sounds like a game that would be a relatively easy win for Kentucky. With a closer look it will be a much more dangerous game for the Cats. The Aggies have won three games in a row and are playing their best basketball of the season. Add in that the game will be played in front of a very good crowd at College Station and you have all the ingredients for a big time trap game for Kentucky.
The Aggies are a very good defensive team, the big issue for them has been a major struggle to score the ball. They average only 63 points per game and have a field goal percentage of just 39.8% this season. They shoot a paltry 27.6% from the 3pt line as well. Josh Nebo is a big bruising forward that leads them in scoring at 11.9 points per game. He is a big time shot blocker that does almost all of his scoring around the basket. After Nebo, the Aggies play an extremely guard heavy lineup. Savion Flagg appears to be the most difficult matchup for the Cats. He is a 6’7 wing that can score in a variety of ways. His quickness could be an issue if EJ Montgomery, Nate Sestina and Keion Brooks have to guard him.
Buzz Williams is in his first season at Texas A&M and it has been a bit of a struggle this year. Despite a very poor start to the season, he has them in a position to play post season basketball. In the long run he is going to be a tremendous hire, and will have the Aggies in the NCAA tournament on a regular basis. He would love to get a signature win by knocking off Kentucky tonight. The fans are energized with a new coach and that should make for a very hostile environment for the Cats.
The key for Kentucky tonight will be guard play. The Aggies like to pressure the ball and create a lot of steals. Ashton Hagans has not played particularly great the last several games, so it would be good to see him get back on track tonight. Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey will also be keys to watch. Maxey will be back in his home state and Quickley looks to continue his push for SEC Player of the Year. As usual, Nick Richards is the other key player tonight. His size and length could be a problem for Nebo if Nick can stay out of foul trouble.
Vegas has Kentucky as a 6.5 point favorite at this moment. Big Blue Nation would love to have an easier win and not have to sweat it out in the final minutes. The crowd and the Aggies defense will keep this game close for much of the contest. Ultimately, A&M’s struggle to score will prove too much and the Cats will pull away with a 72-63 win. At this point in the season, the only thing that matters is to get back to Lexington with a W. It would put Kentucky one step closer to an SEC title and keep them in contention for a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.