Arizona Basketball Travels to Deep in the Heart of Texas

On Saturday, the Arizona Basketball team will travel to the Lone Star state to take on a talented Texas A&M team in Houston, TX as part of the Lone Star Shootout.

The Wildcats will have another tough test this weekend, as the Arizona Basketball team travels to Houston, to take on the Texas A&M Aggies. The Aggies are now 7-2 on the season and should challenge our young Cats.

It is worth noting, this will be yet another early tip-off, and Arizona will have their hands full in this one. Texas A&M is definitely a good team, and this is a talented group, coming off a Sweet 16 appearance last year.

Fresh off their 64-54 win over in-state Grand Canyon, the Wildcats are still looking to claw their way through their non-conference schedule. The team is banged up, and there is still a lot of uncertainty about a possible Allonzo Trier return, although things at least look more promising now, than they did at the beginning of the season.

Nov 18, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies center Tonny Trocha-Morelos (10) Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona (9-2) does come into this one seen as a one-and-a-half point underdog, perhaps a bit surprising, although this will be arguably one of Arizona’s tougher non-conference road games. Texas A&M is a skilled team and is led by their sophomore center, Tyler Davis.

Davis is averaging over 14 points per game for the Aggies and poses a serious challenge for Arizona’s big’s. The Wildcats have already struggled once this year, playing against big, strong centers, and Davis will likely be another one to give the Cats some fits defensively.

In addition to Davis, DJ Hogg, and Admon Gilder are both very versatile players, who are scoring threats for the Aggies for sure.

For Arizona to be successful in this one, they are going to need to do a few things.

Keys to an Arizona Victory:

Take Care of the Basketball- On Wednesday, the Wildcats struggled mightily in this category, and have done so since Parker Jackson-Cartwright went down with an injury. Arizona is currently averaging 13 turnovers a game on the season, and since the injury, the Wildcats are averaging nearly 15 turnovers per game, with 19 coming against GCU.

So it’s simple, taking care of the basketball will equal fewer opportunities for Texas A&M and fewer opportunities for points in transition. Do that, and you have a better chance of beating a good team on the road.

Rebounding- Texas A&M is a good rebounding team, and it is quite surprising, even with three guys over 6-foot-11 on our roster, the Aggies are still averaging more rebounds per game than Arizona. Effort and intensity need to be at a high level this Saturday. Even with a shorthanded roster, Arizona needs to do what they can to make up for it.

Our rebounding isn’t bad by any means, but against a good rebounding team, things become a bit more challenging. We cannot afford to give Texas A&M too many second-chance opportunities, so rebounding the basketball equals minimizing multiple scoring chances for the Aggies.

Free Throws!- So far, Arizona has been a pretty good free-throw shooting team, converting over 74 percent on the season. As a team, we are averaging 22 attempts per game, which is a respectable number, but you have to convert on those free opportunities when you get them.

Adversely, Texas A&M is efficient in getting to the line, so Arizona is going to have to watch for the fouls as always with a thin roster. Generally speaking, though, the Aggies are not a great free throw shooting team, converting on just 62 percent of their attempts.

So, convert on those free throw attempts, and don’t let A&M get to the line too often, and that will help immensely in this one.

This game will be all about energy. It is an early tip-off time, so no dilly-dallying to start this one. Texas A&M isn’t going to be intimidated, they play in a tough conference, are used to the big games, and have already played some good teams this season.

They will be playing at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX which will be a mere 100 miles from College Station, TX (where Texas A&M plays). So this will essentially be like a home game for the Aggies.

Game Information:

Game Time: 10 AM MST/ 9 AM PST

Location: Toyota Center (Houston, TX)- 18,043

Media: ESPN2- TV & IMG- Radio

Spread: Arizona +1.5

All-Time Record: 6-1 Arizona Leads (The Wildcats lost the last time these two teams faced back in 2008, as Nathan Walkup hit a go-ahead three to win 67-66)

Prediction: Arizona 74 Texas A&M 68

We’re excited to see this match-up between these two teams, and it should be a good one! At Zona Zealots, we’re hoping for a clean, injury free game, and hopefully a Wildcats victory. Bear Down, Arizona!