Men's College Basketball
<    April    

Nicholls State (6-4) at (16) Texas A&M (12-1)

Monday, January 3rd, 8:00 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Arena (12,500) -- College Station, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Nicholls St. 5-0, Texas A&M 8-0. Away Record: Nicholls St. 1-4, Texas A&M 1-0. Neutral Record: Nicholls St. 0-0, Texas A&M 3-1. Conference Record: Nicholls St. 0-0, Texas A&M 0-0. Series Record: First- ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: In what appears to be a lopsided matchup, the Texas A&M Aggies will host the Nicholls State Colonels this evening.

Nicholls State is a member of the Southland Conference and will begin league play on Saturday against UT-Arlington. The Colonels have been idle since December 21st when they beat up on little known Jarvis Christian College, 89-67. Obviously, the level of competition spikes dramatically tonight for Nicholls State, which is 1-4 in true road games despite a 6-4 overall record.

Texas A&M also opens conference play on Saturday, as it will battle Big 12 foe Oklahoma. The Aggies are off to a tremendous start, as they have won nine in a row to improve to 12-1 overall. They are coming off Friday's 66-57 triumph over McNeese State and are a perfect 8-0 at home, as their only loss to date came on a neutral court by two points to Boston College.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between Texas A&M and Nicholls State on the hardwood.

Through 10 games, Anatoly Bose has led the Colonels in scoring seven times, while Fred Hunter has been the team's top scorer in the other three contests. Bose is averaging a gaudy 25.0 ppg, while Hunter checks in with 15.9 ppg on 55.6 percent shooting from the floor. Hunter is also pulling down a team-high 5.8 rpg for Nicholls State, which is netting 70.1 ppg while surrendering only 59.1 ppg. In the recent rout of Jarvis Christian College, Hunter poured in 27 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. Bose pitched in 25 points, while Kenny Franklin Jr. posted 12 points. The Colonels connected on 56.4 percent of their field goal attempts and dominated the game defensively as well, forcing 26 turnovers while limiting their overmatched opponent to 38.5 percent shooting.

Strong defense has been key to Texas A&M's tremendous start, as the team is limiting foes to 56.7 ppg on 37.6 percent shooting from the floor, including 28.9 percent from three-point range. The Aggies are generating 73.7 ppg at the offensive end, and there are three double-digit scorers in the fold. Khris Middleton is scoring 15.2 ppg, and David Loubeau checks in with 11.0 ppg. Nathan Walkup adds 10.3 ppg and 6.4 rpg from his forward position. In the victory over McNeese State last time out, A&M connected on only 38.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including a 3-of-15 showing from three-point range. Fortunately, the Aggies earned a 23-5 edge in points from the foul line and turned the ball over just nine times. Middleton tallied 13 points in that affair, while Walkup finished with 10.

There is no doubt that the Aggies will overwhelm the Colonels. Sure, Bose and Hunter will play fairly well, but don't expect them to reach their averages.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M 80, Nicholls State 63

01/03 13:17:24 ET