January 17, 2017
After being on the road for three of the last four games, the Texas A&M Aggies are looking to get back on track a home win over SEC rival Arkansas. Both teams are currently struggling in conference play.
As of now, the Aggies have won just one of their first eight of their SEC games, while Arkansas sits 2-3 in SEC play so far this season. The Aggies are playing no where close to the high level of play from last season, despite being ranked near the top of the conference in rebounds, field goal percentage, assists, and blocks per game.
Arkansas has put up solid numbers despite being under .500 in SEC play. Th Razorbacks are just one of four high-major teams in the nation to score 70 points in all 17 of their games this season. The last time the Razorbacks put up these numbers was in the 1994-1995 season. The team has won five of its last eight games away from home, including a 3-1 mark against SEC opponents. Statistically, Arkansas is the second highest scoring team in the SEC this season, and sits inside the top three in field-goals, free-throws, three-pointers, and assists.
The Previous Meeting
Arkansas leads the series over Texas A&M 98-55, but this will only be the seventh match-up between the two school as members of the SEC. Texas A&M was ranked in the top five nationally the last time these teams faced off, but Arkansas was able to pull off the upset at home. However, A&M did pull off a win their home game against the Razorbacks.
Key Statistics Arkansas over Texas A&M
- Moses Kingsley (ARK): 18 Points, 11 Rebounds
- Dusty Hannahs (ARK): 17 Points, two Rebounds, three 3-pointers made
- Tyler Davis (A&M): 14 Points, eight Rebounds
The former A&M star and current member of the Washington Wizards, Danuel House Jr., finished the game with 24 points, six rebounds while hitting 8o percent of his threes.
— Aggie Men's Hoops (@AggieMensHoops) January 16, 2017
Who and What to Watch For
Arkansas has scored double digit points off of turnovers in all 17 games this season, and is the only school in the country to have two players ranked inside the top 30 in free throw percentage. Moses Kingsley, the preseason SEC Player of the Year, is currently averaging just over 2.7 blocks a game, making him 15th in the nation in that statistic.
Kingsley also leads all active SEC players with 20 double-doubles in his career. This means Texas A&M will need to limit the Razorbacks chances at the charity stripe (Aggies are 23rd nationally in fewest fouls per game), and Tyler Davis will need to hold Kingsley in check if the Aggies hope to win.
Tyler Davis will also need to spark some offense for the Aggies. Davis currently leads the SEC and is ranked 17th in the nation in field goal percentage (60.9). A&M leads the SEC in rebounding margin per game, averaging nearly seven more rebounds than the opposing team. However this won’t be easy against a guy like Kingsley. If Arkansas can continue to get to the line as effectively as they have been, then Arkansas should be able to outlast A&M on the road.
The game will be at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas and can be seen on SECN at 7 p.m.
Source: WRUFRead More
January 10, 2017
There were a number of different story lines leading up to last night’s College Football Playoff Championship Game. One would think the idea of Alabama and Clemson meeting in the Championship for a second straight year would be the most compelling, but it surely wasn’t after the game.
People are talking about how Clemson pulled off an amazing fourth quarter and last-second touchdown to beat Alabama. But there’s still one topic of conversation that hasn’t subsided — the Tide’s Offensive Coordinator.
Lane Kiffin joined the Alabama coaching staff in 2013 and spent almost three full seasons as their offensive coordinator. He was a key contributor in Alabama’s Championship in 2016 and to their success this season. That success earned Kiffin a head coaching job with Florida Atlantic University.
Alabama didn’t take long to name a new OC. The team decided to promote former USC coach Steve Sarkisian to the position. The plan was for Kiffin to finish out the season with Alabama, but after the team’s 24-7 victory over Washington in the first round of the playoffs, the team decided to let Kiffin leave for FAU early.
Sarkisian Takes Over
Steve Sarkisian has had alcohol issues in the past, and Head Coach Nick Saban was fully aware of these issues. However, Sarkisian is known to be a very good offensive-minded coach and Saban thought he could be a big help to the program. Part of the reason Sarkisian was hired was to help improve the team’s third down conversion percentages.
During the regular season, Alabama finished in the top 25 in third down conversion percentage at just under 45 percent. However, they only converted four of 14 third down plays against Washington, and a measly 13.3 percent in last night’s game. But how can a team expect to convert a high percentage of their third down plays if they have to go nine or ten yards on a majority of those plays like Alabama had to?
Nick Saban believed in Sarkisian, and when people look at the box score, the numbers will show that Sarkisian was ready to take over. After the loss, Saban commented on how he thought Sarkisian did with the small window of preparation.
Most teams would be more than happy scoring 31 points, but that doesn’t matter when you allow 35. A coaching change one week prior to the biggest game of the year would seem like an obvious reason why Alabama lost. But besides the third down conversions, the offense played well against Clemson.
The Tide didn’t win the College Football Playoff for a second consecutive year, but they are still the favorite to win it next year. Saban and Sarkisian will have an entire off-season together to recruit new players, and to develop the returning players. People will forget about the coaching change and Clemson will receive the credit they deserve.
Source: WRUFRead More