Busting Brackets

Kentucky vs. Texas A&M: 2019-20 college basketball preview, TV schedule


The newly crowned number one team in the country, Kentucky Wildcats, will look to keep their spot in an ever-changing seeding landscape as they take on the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station.

WHO: Kentucky Wildcats (22-5, 12-2) at Texas A&M Aggies (14-12, 8-6)
WHEN: Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST
WHERE: Reed Arena in College Station, Texas

The Kentucky Wildcats and Texas A&M Aggies hold the two current best win-loss streaks in the Southeastern Conference at six and three games respectively. Kentucky is in the driver’s seat for the remainder of their season and will cruise into the NCAA Tournament. The only question for the Wildcats is which seed will they end up with? Will it be a number one? History, in the past year, tells us probably not because of the parity in NCAA basketball.

Wildcat point guard Ashton Hagans has had some uncertainty surrounding his playing status lately after taking a knee to his thigh. Hagans left that game against LSU and did not return due to the thigh injury. However, according to his coach John Calipari, he remains one of the best guards in the nation. Hagans numbers do not show he is one of the best guards in the nation but his impact comes from his defense, speed, and ability to open up the floor.

Hagans had an opportunity, this year, to show improved shooting. However, he has not done so. Despite scoring more points, Hagans overall field goal percentage and two-point field goal percentage are down from his freshman year. He has a slight increase in his three-point shooting but not enough to make any quantifiable impact. Most importantly, we have seen a 2.2 assists per game increase for Hagans but we also see he is turning the ball over almost once more per game compared to 2018-19.

Hagans has had an interesting year of basketball. In his first 18 games, Hagans averaged 13.6 points per game with 7.3 assists per game on 30.8% from three-point range and 46.2% from two-point range. Since then, we have seen a drop off in almost every major statistical category starting with the January 25th game against Texas Tech University. In the eight games since January 25th, Hagans averages dropped to 22% from three-point range, 78.3% from the charity stripe along with only 4.9 assists per game and 8.2 points per game.

This could be a result of usage and injuries creeping out. Hagans is playing almost five to six minutes more per game in 2019-20 than he did in 2018-19. It will be interesting and important to see if Hagans can return to a form similar to the beginning of the season or will he continue down the current average to the sub-par road he is traveling now?

Texas A&M will have to lean on their crowd to have a chance against Kentucky. A&M has not been very impressive this year and currently sit at 117th in the NCAA’s NET rankings. However, do not get used to this lack of talent and executive from the Aggies. Their head coach, Buzz Williams, has won at almost every school he has been head coach at (exception is New Orleans in 2006-07 with a 14-17 record). At Marquette, Williams reached the NCAA tournament in five of six seasons before taking the job at Virginia Tech. At Virginia Tech, Williams reached the NCAA Tournament in the last three of five seasons.

Next. NCAA Basketball Power Rankings. dark

Kentucky should not take this game for granted for two reasons; the first is they could lose. They start looking beyond this game, the Wildcats get complacent, and Texas A&M shocks them. The second reason is this may be the last season they see an Aggies’ team with this little talent and discipline. Williams is going to make his presence felt and it is only a matter of time before he brings the Texas A&M Aggies to the top of the SEC.

Prediction: Kentucky 76, Texas A&M 63