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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M returns to Reed in matchup against Ole Miss

Mens+Basketball
Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel
Men’s Basketball

Having fallen out of the AP Top 25 just three weeks after cracking its highest rank in program history, Texas A&M is in need of a win over Ole Miss Tuesday night with March looming.

With the exception of the Vanderbilt game, Texas A&M’s 1-5 record in its last six games is rooted in a failure to finish close games. Four of the losses were five points or less, and they all came down to the wire.

The Aggies (18-7, 7-5 SEC) are still alive in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology. But when it comes to winning and contention in the SEC, A&M can’t afford to lose.

The five teams that knocked off A&M in the 1-5 stretch were desperate for a win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. While it is more than a long shot for Arkansas at 12-13, South Carolina, LSU, Vanderbilt and Alabama are heading in the right direction after wins over A&M. But now, A&M replaces those teams for what they once were.

The Rebels (16-9, 6-6 SEC) are in a similar situation. Their best wins are over Alabama and Vanderbilt — but both are on the bubble. Moreover, Ole Miss has a 1-5 record against the RPI Top 50. 

All eyes will be on senior guard Stefan Moody to aim for a season-changing win in Reed Arena. Moody, who averages 23 points per game, has just two single-digit performances since 2014 and zero this season. 

Junior forward Sebastian Saiz has dramatically improved his numbers since last season, boosting his 7.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG average in 2014-2015 to 12.2 PPG and 9.3 RPG in 2015-2016. On the year, Saiz has six double-doubles, grabbing as much as 17 boards in a single game.

A&M’s Tyler Davis will be the one defending the rim against players like Saiz, but his focus also rests on his offensive slump. While the freshman center averages 10.3 PPG, he hasn’t recorded a double-digit outing since January. Also, of the 12 SEC games already played, Davis only has three games with 10 or more points.

For the most part, A&M’s leading scorers Jalen Jones and Danuel House have been consistent with their averages. The team’s consistent play, however, is not always enough to win a game in the SEC. 

Although the Aggies are in a slump, there is still plenty of time to right the ship. A&M is 3-0 against the AP Top 25 and has plenty of other signature wins on its resume. But if it keeps losing, A&M’s bad losses could outweigh its key wins while also continuing to diminish its standing in the SEC.

The Aggies enter the matchup with only one home loss. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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