Kansas State (19-9) at Texas A&M (13-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday February 28th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Arena (12,989) -- College Station, Texas. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: KSU 11-4, A&M 11-6. Away Record: KSU 5-4, A&M 1-7. Neutral Record: KSU 3-1, A&M 1-2. Conference Record: KSU 8-8, A&M 4-12. Series Record: Kansas State leads, 16-7.
GAME NOTES: As their season winds down, the Kansas State Wildcats will try pick up some momentum as they head to Reed Arena to battle the Texas A&M Aggies in Big 12 action.
This will be the second game between Kansas State and Texas A&M this season and the 24th encounter in history. The Wildcats hold a 16-7 lead in the all- time series after their 64-53 victory over A&M on Feb. 4th in Manhattan earlier this month. Kansas State was very aggressive in the final 20 minutes of this season's first bout, as it sank 14-of-16 from the free throw line in the second half to defeat A&M.
Head coach Frank Martin had to be disappointed with his team's 65-61 loss to Iowa State on Saturday, but his Wildcats seem destined for the NCAA Tournament with their 19-9 overall record. Martin's team had no answer for the Cyclones on Saturday, as Iowa State hit 11-three-pointers to bury the Wildcats. Despite Saturday's hiccup, KSU has been a very tough team defensively this season, allowing opponents to 63 ppg on 39.6 percent shooting, which is accompanies with a Big 12 best 38.1 rebounds per game.
Rodney McGruder is pacing KSU's balanced attack with 14.8 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting from the floor. The junior guard notched a double-double against Iowa State with 13 points and 11 boards. McGruder comes in having have scored in double-figures in 17 of his last 18 outings. Will Spradling and Jamar Samuels are the next options as they both add just under 10 points per game. Spradling has been struggling lately, as he has shot 7-of-25 from the floor to average just 5.7 points over the span of his last three games. Jordan Henriquez and Angel Rodriguez both had strong performances in the loss to Iowa State, and will need to continue their effective play if Spradling and Samuels continue to struggle.
The Aggies have had a less impressive season and come in with a 13-15 overall record. A&M is second to last in the Big 12 with a 4-12 mark after its 60-42 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. Head coach Billy Kennedy's team has now lost three games in a row. The Aggies lead the Big 12 in scoring defense with an allowed average of 60.4 ppg, but its stifling defense is counteracted by its non-existent offense which produced just 60.6 ppg. A&M has been better at home this season, as it is 11-6 at Reed Arena.
A&M will look to its junior tandem of Khris Middleton and Elston Turner to lead it to a Senior Night triumph. Turner is leading the team with 13.8 ppg and 61 makes from beyond the arc. Middleton has been playing at a high level as of late, as the forward has scored 17.3 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the floor in his last three games. Middleton did not play in the first matchup versus KSU, and his presence can be a game-changer. Senior starters Dash Harris and David Loubeau's play will be an important factor for A&M's success as well.
Texas A&M has nothing to lose at this point. It had put forth back-to-back respectable efforts against Missouri and Kansas before being handled by Oklahoma State. Kansas State needs to bounce back tonight to improve its resume. The Wildcats are too deep for the Aggies to defend, and should be able to pick up a victory despite having to deal with Middleton this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kansas State 67, Texas A&M 60
02/28 10:48:52 ET