Amidst the potential scandal regarding impermissible funds to recruits, the Oklahoma State basketball program is in dire need of some sunshine. That could come Monday night as they take on the No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies. The Cowboys are looking to boost their resume early in effort to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2015. Both teams come into the game undefeated; one has to give. Here’s the full preview:
#3 G Admon Gilder - (Jr, 6’4’’, 199 lbs) 18.0 PPG, 7.0 APG, 7.0 RPG
#13 G Duane Brown - (Sr, 6’3’’, 175 lbs) 6.0 PPG
#1 F DJ Hogg - (Jr, 6’9’’, 215 lbs) 21.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4.5 APG
#44 F Robert Williams - (6’10’’, 241 lbs) Season Debut
#34 C Tyler Davis - (6’10’’, 266 lbs) 18.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG
Sophomore preseason SEC Co-Player of the Year and projected 2018 NBA draft lottery-pick Robert Williams will be making his season debut tonight after serving a two-game suspension and guard Savion Flagg will miss his second straight game due to a fractured bone in his face. A&M is 2-0 on the season with an astonishing 88-65 win on opening day against then-ranked No. 11 West Virginia. They are very well-rounded and utilize size to their advantage as there isn’t a starter under 6’3’’. The debut of Robert Williams poses a big threat due to his athleticism and tenacious rebounding.
#1 G Kendall Smith - (Sr, 6’3’’, 190 lbs) 12.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.7 APG
#5 G Tavarius Shine - (Jr, 6’6’’, 200 lbs) 12.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG
#30 G Jeffrey Carroll - (Sr, 6’6’’, 220 lbs) Season Debut
#14 F Lucas N’Guessan - (So, 7’0’’, 220 lbs) 3.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG
#41 F Mitchell Solomon - (6’9’’, 250 lbs) 6.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG
The good thing for the Cowboys? They also have the size to go toe-to-toe with the Aggies as their "shortest starter" is 6’3’’. Also, senior leader Jeffrey Carroll will be making his season debut after being ruled ineligible due to the FBI investigation. He has career averages of 17.5 PPG and 6.6 APG.
Oklahoma State comes into this game with a 3-0 record that contains blowout victories against Pepperdine, Charlotte, and Oral Roberts. Guards Brandon Averette and Thomas Dziagwa have both been very efficient off of the bench. However, their youth will be tested at home in multiple ways.
Keys to the Game
Win the Glass: The one thing Oklahoma State must focus on is winning the rebounding battle. Texas A&M currently has three players averaging over six rebounds per game (Tyler Davis, DJ Hogg, Admon Gilder) and arguably their best rebounder returns in Robert Williams. The Cowboys must win the glass and limit the opportunities of scoring.
Defend the 3: Texas A&M is second in the nation in three-point percentage (51.2%). Both of their wins this season, especially against West Virginia, have had wide margins due to the Aggies’ ability to shoot from behind-the-arc. Perhaps the biggest threat is DJ Hogg, who has went from 9-13 (69.2%) to start out the season.
Get to the Free Throw Line: Sitting at No. 10 nationally with 81.2 percent, Oklahoma State has multiple players who are effective at the line. Along with the effort to get A&M in foul trouble, they have the players who can make them pay for it. If Tavarius Shine, Brandon Averette, Kendall Smith, and/or Thomas Dziagwa are frequent visitors of the charity stripe; look for it to be a good night for the Cowboys.
Location and TV Info
Time: 6:00 PM CT
Location: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, New York
Spread: Texas A&M (-5.5) Over/Under = 147
Money Line: +190 (Ok St)
Other Legends Classic Matchup: Penn State vs Pittsburgh
The latter game of the Legends Classic will be an in-state battle between Penn State and Pittsburgh. The Nittany Lions roll in with a 4-0 record and have five players averaging in double-digit scoring. Pittsburgh on the other hand, has stumbled out of the gate with a 1-2 record with stunning losses to Montana and Navy. Junior guard Jared Wilson-Frame (16.3 PPG) and senior forward Ryan Luther (15.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG) hope to speed up the rebuilding process for the Panthers.