Tonight, the Aggies head to the Erwin Center in Austin for last time as Big 12 team. The Texas Longhorns are coming off a gritty win over Oklahoma State, while Texas A&M is coming off two losses to Baylor and Iowa State. Given Texas' youth and Texas A&M's plummeting expectations, will this longtime rivalry go out with a whimper?
The Longhorns have hung solidly around the middle of the Big 12 pack. After dropping their first conference game to Iowa State in Ames, Texas shot an abysmal 30% - that's just 18 of 60 shots - from the floor against Oklahoma State. But freshmen Myck Kabongo (who had 15 points and 6 assists against Oklahoma State), Julien Lewis (9 points, 6 rebounds), and Jonathan Holmes (11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals) are beginning to look more consistent.
J'Covan Brown's health is a big question mark for the Longhorns. After rolling his ankle during the Iowa State game, Brown's minutes have been limited. He played the first half against Oklahoma State with an obvious limp and came off the bench only to shoot two key shots in the second half.
But the biggest question heading into tonight's game is this: What the heck has happened to Texas A&M?
So far, A&M's season is following the trajectory of its most famous alumnus' presidential campaign. After being named a preseason favorite to win the conference, the Aggies are now hovering around the bottom of the rankings. A&M is dead last in the Big 12 in scoring, free-throw shooting, and three-point shooting. Or to put it another way: the Aggies can't hit the broad side of a barn.
The Aggies have definitely run into some roadblocks. Khris Middleton doesn't look completely recovered from his knee surgery. Jamal Branch transferred and Kourtney Roberson broke an ankle. But that still doesn't account for why a team with talent like Middleton, Elston Turner, and David Loubeau is losing by more than 20 points to Iowa State at home.
Historically, Texas has owned Texas A&M in Austin. The ‘Horns have won the last nine games at the Erwin Center and are 78-26 overall in Austin. The game is at 8:00 CST and will be aired on ESPN2.