Arizona has won two straight, including a 91-88 overtime win against UNLV last Saturday, while the Aggies have steamrolled their competition to start the 2017-18 campaign.
Texas A&M was a 2.5-point favorite as this was published, and KenPom projects the Aggies will win 74-73 in what it considers to be a “semi-home” game for the Wildcats.
What do we think will happen Tuesday? Here are our predictions. Be sure to make yours in the comment section below!
Ryan Kelapire — Texas A&M wins 77-70
I just don’t think Arizona is capable of beating a top-10 team right now. Texas A&M is also one of the rare teams that can match up with Arizona’s size.
The Aggies are an elite team defensively and unless Arizona gets production from its freshmen not named Deandre Ayton, it won’t have enough offense to come away with the win, especially since its defense will have trouble defending an A&M team that ranks No. 16 in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.
Maybe having this game in Phoenix will help, but I tend to believe Arizona will struggle. There’s no overstating how important a win would be, though.
Matt Sheeley — Texas A&M wins 81-76
Texas A&M might be the most impressive team to watch through the first month of the season. They’ve been dominant, winning every game they’ve played by double-digits. They’re one of eight teams that rank in the top 20 in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.
Arizona showed something they hadn’t yet on Saturday night in Las Vegas — guts. They’ll need guts on Tuesday night in Talking Stick Resort Arena but with all due respect to UNLV, they are NOT Texas A&M. The Wildcats might have the two best players on the floor but a third option or even a fourth option will need to step up to keep up with the Aggies.
UNLV’s bigs decimated Arizona, combining for 54 points and 19 rebounds. A&M has arguably the best group of bigs in the country. The Cats will keep it close, using the guts they put on display against UNLV and they should have a strong percentage of the crowd behind them. But Texas A&M is flat-out better right now.
Robby Leano — Texas A&M wins 85-70
Ryan’s said this for me again, I don’t think Arizona’s capable of beating a top-10 team right now. Arizona hasn’t been solid defensively. Their offensive efficiency has been “okay” considering Deandre Ayton and Allonzo Trier produce most of the offense.
Texas A&M has been a solid team, no doubt about it. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Arizona fell short against the Aggies. Sorry, Wildcats.
Alec Sills-Trausch — Texas A&M wins 65-60
I hate to do this. I really do. But A&M probably wins this simply because Arizona is still finding itself and the Aggies have shown themselves able to win the games that they should.
I also don’t think this will be as high scoring as my colleagues above me do. A&M has the fourth-best defense according to KenPom and both squads play at a much slower pace than the rest of the nation (Arizona 170, TXA&M 194). I also wouldn’t be surprised, with both teams featuring big men who will be drafted in the lottery, if this becomes a fouling contest and mucks the game up even more.
UofA has the talent to win this game — even blow out the school from College Station — but I don’t believe that Arizona (without Rawle Alkins) is at that stage of development just yet.
At least this game isn’t being played in a damn ballroom.