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Texas A&M Aggies vs. Tennessee Volunteers Opponent Preview

Can the Vols rebound after a tough loss at Kansas?

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri
The Aggies will look to stay above .500 with a win against UT on Tuesday night.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers (12-7, 4-2) will host the Texas A&M Aggies (9-9, 3-3) on Tuesday in what should be an intriguing matchup between two teams fighting to make their way through the SEC.

Both teams are still trying to find an identity, but they’ve also shown that they can hang with some of the more talented teams in the country. It took overtime for the 22nd-ranked LSU Tigers to topple the Aggies a couple weeks ago and the Vols gave the No.3 Kansas Jayhawks all they could handle last Saturday.

Let’s dive into this matchup’s opponent preview.

Texas A&M Conference Record and Standings

  • Southeastern Conference
  • 9-9 (3-3) t-7th place
  • Lost last game

Impact Players

  • F Josh Nebo: 12.5 PPG, 71.8 FG%, 7.1 REB, 63.4 FT%, 2.5 BLK, 29.2 MIN

The senior forward is easily the best player on the Aggies’ roster and you can see why the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Nebo will be a tough assignment for an undersized Volunteer roster.

He’s averaging nearly 16 points per game while making around 74% of his shots over the last four games. Nebo has been active on the boards, as well, averaging around five per game over the last four games.

The dude leads his team in points, rebounds, and blocks. He tends to struggle at the line, however, where he is shooting about 63% on the season.

But it’s not just about stats with Nebo. He’s also developed into one of the team’s leaders and can provide a spark at any moment with a big play. You also have to wonder how well the Vols will be able to guard considering what we saw in Kansas last Saturday.

Needless to say, the Vols will have to find a way to contain him on Tuesday.

  • G Savion Flagg: 10.7 PPG, 42.8 FG%, 61.0 FT%, 36.6% 3PT, 4.9 REB, 2.5 AST, 2.7 TO, 1.1 STL, 31.7 MIN

Of all the players on the team, Williams is the only legitimate threat from beyond the arc. He averages 36.6% from downtown on the year while the rest of the Aggies are shooting for a combined 18.5% from three on the year.

That is absolutely abysmal. It’s pretty safe to say that if the Vols can lock Flagg down on the perimeter, then the Aggies may have trouble scoring.

Fortunately the Vols play good defense and have the players to matchup with the quick point guard. Regardless, they can’t let Flagg get open shots. Things could get ugly quickly if that were to happen.

Most Recent

Cold shooting haunted the Aggies in a 73-62 loss to Oklahoma State last Saturday. Issac Likekele led the way for the Cowboys with 13 points on a night where the team shot a very efficient 55% from the floor. It was even more efficient when you consider the fact that the Aggies shot a miserable 39% on the night.

Nebo led the team with 11 points, but it was his lowest output point-wise in almost a month. The Cowboys’ 2-3 zone really gave the Aggies fits, so be sure to see if that’s what Tennessee decides to do defensively come Tuesday.

Game Outlook

The formula is pretty simple for this game. The Vols need to play tough inside and force A&M to take outside shots. Tennessee also needs to try and force the Aggies to the charity stripe as much as possible. Texas A&M currently sits at 273rd in the country when it comes to making free throws (67.1%).

Tennessee just needs to come out and play the brand of basketball that it showed against Kansas. The Vols were effective, yet judicious in the shots they took and played sound defense throughout the game. Hopefully, Uros Plavic can make his presence known. That would go a long way toward containing Nebo and rendering him ineffective.

The Vols also have the edge coaching-wise. If the Vols come out and play sound, disciplined basketball, then they shouldn’t have much problem reaching 13-7 on the year.