|Men's College Basketball|
Vanderbilt (9-8) at Texas A&M (12-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 25, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Arena (12,989) -- College Station, Texas. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Vanderbilt 7-3, Texas A&M 11-1. Away Record: Vanderbilt 0-4, Texas A&M 1-2. Neutral Record: Vanderbilt 2-1, Texas A&M 0-3. Conference Record: Vanderbilt 1-4, Texas A&M 3-2. Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Texas A&M Aggies return home to Reed Arena on Saturday afternoon when they tangle with the Vanderbilt Commodores in SEC action.
Vanderbilt boasts a 9-8 overall record this season, but it has struggled in the SEC with four losses in five bouts. The Commodores have dropped two straight to LSU (81-58) and most recently at home to Ole Miss on Wednesday (63-52), and now they head back out on the road, where they are 0-4.
Texas A&M have also lost two straight games, most recently getting handled at nationally-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night, 68-51. Even with their recent slide, the Aggies have still played well this season at 12-6, including 3-2 in league action and 11-1 at Reed Arena.
The Commodores have won both all-time meetings versus the Aggies, including the first matchup as SEC foes last season, 63-56 in Nashville.
Vanderbilt's defense held up to its end of the bargain in its most recent game, as it held Ole Miss to just 36.2 percent from the field, but unfortunately it only made good on 37.7 percent of its own field goal opportunities, including 3-of-20 from 3-point range in the 11-point loss. Rod Odom made all three of those long-range buckets and shot 7-of-14 overall on his way to 18 points. Damian Jones tallied a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while James Siakam was also strong in the paint with seven points, 10 boards and three blocks.
The Commodores have had difficultly putting points on the board all season long, scoring just 69.4 ppg, and things have been even worse since Eric McClellan (14.3 ppg) was dismissed from the team a few weeks back. Odom has stepped up as the go-to option of late, posting 14.3 ppg on 48-of-105 from 3- point range while also collecting a team-high 5.8 rpg. Jones (11.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Kyle Fuller (10.9 ppg) also chip in for Vanderbilt, which has been hindered by a lackluster turnover margin (-3.0) and free-throw percentage (.655).
The Aggies were no match for the mighty Wildcats on the road earlier in the week, as they were outshot from the field, 44 percent to 37.3 percent, lost the rebounding battle (42-24) and shot a miserable 11-of-21 from the foul line on their way to the 17-point setback. Alex Caruso and Davonte Fitzgerald put up 12 points apiece in the team's second-lowest scoring output of the season.
Unfortunately for Texas A&M, its disappointing offense has been an issue all season long, as it pours in just 68.3 ppg, but it has run out to an impressive overall record behind the SEC's second-best defense, which allows just 61.8 ppg on 39.5 percent field goal shooting. Jamal Jones is the team's only double-digit scorer, netting 12.1 ppg on 38-of-98 from 3-point range, and he's been even better in conference games, putting up 18.2 ppg in five SEC matchups. Kourtney Roberson acts as an anchor in the frontcourt, posting 9.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg and nearly a block per contest, all while shooting 58.8 percent from the field. Fitzgerald (7.9 ppg) has scored in double figures in four of the past five games after accomplishing the feat just three times in the first 13 tilts.
Neither team has performed up to its potential of late, but Texas A&M has shown more sustained success this season, and at home, its stout defense should be able to shut down the Commodores' poor scoring attack.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M 66, Vanderbilt 56
01/25 10:21:13 ET