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Preview: Baylor vs. Texas A&M
Posted Jan 28, 2006
In College Station this evening, the Big XII pits two teams against one another that both entered the league with high expectations but have left something to be desired thus far - Baylor vs. Texas A&M.
Although the Baylor Bears were picked to finish in last place in the league, those in the program and their fans expected them to be more consistently competitive. Baylor (0-5) instead enters the game losing their first 5 of the year by an average of 23 points. Texas A&M (12-5, 2-4), after breezing through an easy non-conference schedule, has put up a 2-4 record thus far in the Big XII, just enough to put them in 11th place currently, one spot ahead of Baylor.
Despite their proximity in the standings, these two teams are not very similar. One could make a good argument in fact that Baylor won’t be like any team this year.
Still reeling from not having a non-conference slate of games, Baylor is a team that just can’t get it figured out. Out of a fairly steady 8 man rotation, the Bears play 4 freshman and 1 sophomore. In fact, those 5 players each average more minutes per game than the other 3 upper classmen that are in the rotation.
Many thought guard
would excel to even greater heights after his Freshman All-American first year – especially since he had increased talent around him. Instead, Bruce has struggled in the last few games and the Baylor community is wondering when he will get back on track. If he can play like the Aaron Bruce of last year, then this team still has a chance to pull a few upsets.
Although Baylor has been handled easily on the road, losing by an average of 25 points, A&M’s 4 losses in the Big XII have been by an average of only 4 points – including a 1 point loss at home against Oklahoma – the same Oklahoma team that demolished Baylor by 30 points last game.
A&M is led by junior guard
(17 pts, 3 assists) and sophomore post
(15 pts, 7 reb). With the steady play of these two players, A&M has had the chance to experiment with who the other players should be and what role they should have. One player to keep an eye on is freshman guard
, who had double digits scoring outputs the last two games including 15 points against Kansas.
Baylor’s biggest problem this year has clearly been shooting. They’re averaging only 51 points a game on 32% shooting from the floor, 30% from 3 point land and 58% from the free throw line. For comparison, A&M is averaging 66 points a game on 44% shooting from the floor, 36% from 3 point land and 66% from the free throw line.
Logic would suggest that this Baylor team will click at some point this season. According to opposing coaches and television commentators, they have the talent to compete. The question for Baylor fans then is when will they indeed click – they surely hope it starts tonight.
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