Hello from College Station: A scouting report and analyst's take on Texas A&M
Georgia squares off with the eighth-ranked Aggies on Sunday at 5 p.m. in Reed Arena.
COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — Howdy!
That’s what they say around these parts. A bit different from us folks say “How y’all doin’?” in our small-town Peach State ways, huh? Nonetheless, on a whim and spontaneously booking a trip six days ago, the one-man show of the Lady Bulldogs Report is writing to you from Texas. All I’m missing is a cowboy hat, but maybe I can get one before tip-off at Reed Arena.
This trip allowed me to put boots on the ground and bring you guys the best coverage possible. That has been my goal from the jump, so I figured why not have fun doing it and go on some adventures. That’s the other reason — a brief escape from the routine in Athens came calling and I wanted to jump at it. I have never seen Texas A&M’s campus, until now, so I figured lets go explore.
Disclaimer: All Covid-19 precautions have been taken, including a negative test and multiple KN95 masks.
All of that brings me to this interesting town of College Station. I’ve taken a few quick trips to Texas before — once to Houston and twice to Dallas Fort-Worth. But this is a tad different, because you get off of the plane in the metropolis of Houston and get a taste of real Texas. A bunch of farmland. Every gas station looks like a supermarket, so I guess the “everything is bigger” stereotype about this state holds true. We did see Texas native Gabby Connally live up to it as a freshman when putting up 37 points against the Aggies, didn’t we?
I mean, the rave around Buc-ees must be real. I saw it from the exterior on my ride in and it is the size of your local Wal-Mart. It puts any of our QuikTrips, RaceTracs or Wawas (sorry northern friends) to sleep.
(Psssst, that button above you. Your support helps me take these trips to bring you the best, deepest coverage of the program).
Enough about the journey. I’m here for a game — after I go sight-seeing and eat some good food — and we’ve got a good one on tap. Despite Thursday’s loss to LSU, N. 22 Georgia (13-3, 5-3 SEC) travels over 800 miles west with another strong opportunity against No. 8 Texas A&M (15-1, 6-1 SEC) to bolster its postseason case.
The gauntlet continues, quite frankly. As Joni Taylor likes to say, “Welcome to the SEC.” Let’s take a look at the showdown.
Time: 5 p.m. ET
Place: Reed Arena, College Station, Tex.
TV/Radio: SEC Network (Eric Frede, play-by play; Christy Thomaskutty (color); Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network — 93.7 FM or 680 AM in Athens (Jeff Dantzler)
Event at Reed Arena: Aggies will honor 10th anniversary of 2011 National Championship team
Texas A&M (15-1, 6-1 SEC)
Top contributors: Aaliyah Wilson (13.7 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game); N’Dea Jones (13.6, 10.7); Ciera Johnson (11.6, 8.1); Jordan Nixon (8.6, 3.7 assists per game)
Key departures: Chennedy Carter (fourth overall pick to the Atlanta Dream, 21.3 points per game last season)
Transfer additions: Nixon (Notre Dame), Zaay Green (Tennessee), Alexis Morris (Rutgers), Destiny Pitts (Minnesota)
Points per game: 79.3
Points allowed per game: 61.3
Rebounds per game: 40.4
Rebounds per game: 31.6
Style of play: Aggies rely on their post presences in Jones and Johnson, but have rejuvenated depth at the guard spots. It could be another physical test for Georgia, but Texas A&M also can play at a faster pace while executing in a half-court set.
SEC Network and ESPN basketball analyst Steffi Sorensen spoke highly of the Aggies before the season began in late November. She said Texas A&M could “compete with anybody in the league,” and it’s proven true with a one-loss record entering the closing stages of closing play. She elaborated on what the Aggies bring to the table, and these could be potential keys for the Lady Bulldogs.
Texas A&M is one of the bigger threats with N'Dea Jones, Ciera Johnson and Kayla Wells. Their seniors are huge and Gary has a lot of depth with a lot of players coming in. Everybody said 'Oh, Chennedy Carter graduated, so where's this offense going to come from?' It opened up a lot of things for players like Wells, Jones. You've got players. You can play inside. You can play out. Gary Blair is so smart with how he calls his plays. I really like Texas A&M. I do not think anyone is sleeping on them.
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair on Georgia, via a press conference recording from TexAgs: “Last weekend (against Arkansas), I thought they’d played the best I had seen them play all year. I said ‘oh, gosh.’ I was really surprised to see them lose to LSU, but that’s a tough matchup, OK? LSU came from behind and handled them. Georgia is very similar to us — built around a bunch of juniors and seniors. … They’re just solid, and when they bring people off of the bench, they’re very good … particularly the freshman (Sarah Ashlee) Barker. They’re a complete basketball team.”