College Basketball Game of the Week: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 24 Texas A&M
College basketball fans can finally rejoice as the calendar has turned the page to their favorite month of the year — March.
Although conference tournaments are first up in the madness, an intriguing matchup to close out the regular season looms this Saturday afternoon as the top two teams in the SEC are set to meet.
Of the four total teams in the SEC that are ranked, these two squads will bring us the perfect appetizer for what’s to come in a few weeks.
This will be the first meeting of the season between Alabama and Texas A&M, and what a ride it has been for both teams this far.
No. 2 Alabama has been no stranger to the top-25 rankings nearly all season, and the Crimson Tide are riding momentum following a thrilling 90-85 victory in overtime against bitter-rival Auburn on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M has broken the top-25 and is looking to add to its resume after locking up the No. 2 seed in the SEC after Alabama ended its title hopes earlier this week.
Sitting at 22-8 and 14-3 in the conference, Texas A&M has come a long way to earn a top-25 bid.
Credit to that is winning eight of the past 10 games, which includes wins over Missouri (twice), Auburn, Arkansas and then-No. 11 Tennessee.
The Aggies already have a pretty impressive resume, getting a gritty 69-61 win on the road against a struggling Ole Miss on Tuesday.
Sophomore guard Wade Taylor IV is sixth in the SEC in scoring, currently averaging 15.9 points per game, and follows that up with 4.2 assists per game.
Taylor IV has been a huge reason why the Aggies are ranked, but since this game doesn’t have any ramifications for the SEC regular-season championship, it should still be compelling, nonetheless.
The Crimson Tide have only lost one SEC game all season, with two players in the top-5 in rebounds per game in the SEC.
Noah Clowney and Brandon Miller fill the last two spots in the top five with 8.2 and 8 rebounds per game, respectively.
Not to mention, Miller also leads all of the SEC in scoring with 19.6 points per game.
Clowney and Miller’s chemistry for the Crimson Tide is a strong component of why this year feels different for basketball fans in Tuscaloosa.
The duo each grabbed 17 points and eight rebounds apiece in the chippy win against Auburn earlier this week, and honorable mention Mark Sears contributed with 17 points as well.
Senior guard Jahvon Quinerly led the whole team in scoring with 24, as Alabama utilized a 16-0 run midway through the frame to complete the comeback.
Alabama has the more impressive resume by far, and it dates back to earlier in the season with upsets over North Carolina and Houston when they were both No. 1, and two ranked road wins over Arkansas and Mississippi State.
Alabama is gearing up for the tournament and is becoming more battle-tested as it approaches.
The Crimson Tide have won four straight, with the last three decided by a total of 10 points.
Ole Miss gave Texas A&M all they could handle for the duration of the matchup on Tuesday as the Rebels jumped out to a double-digit lead early in the contest.
Wade Taylor IV and the Aggies clawed back and never trailed again, setting them up for a couple of days of work before the newly minted champs come to town.
Even though Alabama has shown signs of weakness recently, Texas A&M will need a better effort against the No. 1 team in the league in both offense and defense.
With teams eager to hear their name called next week on Selection Sunday, this last weekend of college basketball is full of exciting matchups and previews for the madness on the horizon.
Tip-off for Alabama-Texas A&M is set for this Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. in College Station, Texas.
Connor Fenix is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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