Texas A&M-Kansas Preview


Kansas had some trouble with a team from the Lone Star State in its last game, but might have an easier time when it returns home to face another.

The fifth-ranked Jayhawks will try to earn their 10th straight win and add to their dominance of Texas A&M on Monday night when the Aggies pay their final visit to Allen Fieldhouse as a Big 12 opponent.

Kansas (16-3, 6-0) led by 15 points early in the second half Saturday at Texas, but needed Jeff Withey's three-point play with 37 seconds left to pull out a 69-66 win at Texas and remain the only unbeaten team in the conference.

Tyshawn Taylor topped 20 points for the third straight game, finishing with a team-high 22. Big 12 leading rebounder Thomas Robinson (12.1 per game) barely missed his fourth straight double-double with 17 points and nine boards.

"We needed that," coach Bill Self said. "This is the best win we have had all year ... I thought we were fortunate."

The Jayhawks may not get as tough a test from the Aggies (11-7, 2-4), who are 3-6 in their last nine and 1-5 away from home this season.

Texas A&M's last three wins have come against Division II Arkansas Tech, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech - the only remaining winless team in Big 12 play. The Aggies have lost to three Top 25 opponents over their last nine games but have also lost to unranked Rice, Texas and Iowa State.

Texas A&M avoided another defeat Saturday, beating Oklahoma 81-75 in overtime. Elston Turner scored seven of his career-high 23 points in the extra session and also hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 40 seconds left in regulation.

The Aggies shot 52.5 percent in the victory after shooting 35.7 percent and averaging 54.2 points through their first five conference games. They turned the ball over only 10 times Saturday, one more than their season low.

Monday's matchup pits the top-ranked defenses in the Big 12, with Texas A&M giving up an average of 59.2 points and Kansas allowing 60.4 per game. The Jayhawks, though, are scoring 76.4 points per game while the Aggies are averaging a league-worst 62.8.

"We need more than a repeat performance," first-year Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. "KU is a power in our conference, and we have to be able to control the ball and handle ourselves well."

Kennedy is hoping to have Khris Middleton available. The junior forward, who missed time earlier this season after partially tearing his meniscus, aggravated his surgically-repaired right knee Saturday.

"Hopefully, we can get him back and his leg is doing okay," Kennedy said. "Some of the swelling has already gone down, so it looks pretty positive."

Even if Middleton is available, Texas A&M could have a difficult time with Kansas, which has taken 17 of 18 all-time meetings. The Jayhawks have won six straight in the series since a 69-66 home loss to the then-No. 10 Aggies on Feb. 3, 2007, and pulled away late during a 64-51 victory in Lawrence last March 2.

Texas A&M will leave the Big 12 for the SEC next season.