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Basketball

The Breakdown: Texas A&M @ Iowa State

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher

If there is any team in America that is due for a win against a ranked opponent, it is Iowa State (13-13, 2-9). The Cyclones have lost 20 in a row to top-25 teams. Today, the 24th ranked Aggies of Texas A&M (18-7, 7-4) are in town.

Will the Cyclones pull off the upset?

Let’s break it down.

Breaking down the Aggies

This series has a reputation for being very even. Texas A&M leads the all-time series over Iowa State 8-7 and have won six in a row against the Cyclones. The series is tied at 3-3 in games that are played in Ames.

Texas A&M was a red-hot basketball team until top-ranked Kansas cooled them off on Monday night. Prior to A&M’s 59-54 home loss to the Jayhawks, the Aggies had won six of their last seven basketball games.

Donald Sloan is Texas A&M’s go-to guy. Sloan, a 6-foot-3 senior, averages 18.2 points a game and 3.8 rebounds. He has been brilliant in Big 12 play, scoring 20 or more points five times. Sloan is also known as the second player in A&M history to record 1,300 points, 300 assists and 400 rebounds.

Expect Iowa State’s frontcourt to be challenged inside the paint by Bryan Davis. The 6-foot-9 senior averages 7.7 points per game and has over 100 blocks in his career. He’s also A&M’s second leading scorer at 10.2 points per game.

Texas A&M’s starting lineup (according to cyclones.com)

Bryan Davis: 6-9, 250-pound Sr. F. – 10.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG
David Loubeau: 6-9, 230-pound So. F. – 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG
Khris Middleton: 6-7, 215-pound Fr. F. – 5.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG
Dash Harris: 6-1, 175-pound So. G. – 5.1 PPG, 3.3 APG
Donald Sloan: 6-3, 205-pound Sr. G. – 18.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG

Prediction

Expect this to be a real defensive battle. Iowa State and Texas A&M are the 10th and 11th ranked teams in the Big 12 when it comes to scoring offense, at just over 72 points per game.

Part of me is telling me to pick Iowa State in this one. How much more bad luck can one team have? This streak against ranked opponents has to end at some point doesn’t it? That is my heart talking. My head is telling me to pick the Aggies in another heartbreaking loss for Iowa State.

One of two things will more than likely happen in this game. Either Iowa State will get off to a great start and lose a lead in the second half, or the Cyclones will get off to a terrible start and expend an incredible amount of energy making a comeback, like we saw against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

I believe that again, Iowa State will have a lead heading into halftime, only to lose that in the final minutes for yet another close conference loss.

The Pick

Texas A&M 72, Iowa State 70