Mississippi State Bulldogs (19-8) at Texas A&M Aggies (17-10)
We picked up our second consecutive win last night on college hoops when we backed the Maryland Terrapins on the road against Northwestern. It is hard to take road teams in league play, but I had a strong feeling that the Wildcats would come out flat after blowing a 27-point lead to Michigan State in their last game.
I was right, and Maryland came out hot and built an early lead. But give Northwestern some credit, they put a run together and kept this game competitive most of the evening before running out of steam late and eventually losing 71-64.
It was a tough spot but a good one. Maryland had been terrible on the road and Northwestern had been great at home, but in the end, the emotions were too much to overcome for the Wildcats. You always have to remember that in college basketball you are dealing with kids on the court, and state of mind and emotion are always going to play a much bigger role than in the pro game.
Today I will focus on two more teams that find themselves right on the bubble when the Mississippi State Bulldogs play the Texas A&M Aggies.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will travel to College Station Tuesday night for an SEC showdown with the Aggies of Texas A&M. The Bulldogs of Mississippi State could badly use a signature resume-building win tonight. Right now, they find themselves on the outside looking in for the NCAA tournament, but with a win tonight against a solid A&M team they could find themselves in the tournament.
For the Aggies, I wouldn’t exactly call them a bubble team, I would say right this minute they are very safely in the field, but a lot of that is for things they did earlier in the year. If they continue to stumble down the stretch in the SEC, they could see themselves left out in March.
Texas A&M is a -6.5-point favorite tonight at home. The game total over-under is set at 138.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for4:00 PM PST from Reed Arena.
The Texas A&M Aggies hold the title of the most inconsistent team in the country this season. There have been times that they looked like national champion contenders. Like when they beat West Virginia, Penn State, Oklahoma State, and USC in the non-conference. But there have also been times that they looked like a team that deserved to be in the NIT. Losses to LSU, Arkansas, and Missouri in the last month have been tough ones.
It is hard to say which team is going to show up tonight for A&M. On any given night they can beat any team in the country by double digits. On a bad night? Well, that explains why they have lost two straight games and are 6-8 in SEC league play. The one place that Aggies have been somewhat consistent is at home.
The Aggies have won five straight home games in SEC play. This includes a big win against perennial SEC powerhouse, the Kentucky Wildcats. The Aggies must put on a great performance tonight if they want to hold off a very motivated Mississippi State team.
Mississippi State has struggled badly on the road in SEC play this season. They have road losses to Vanderbilt, Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. That one lone road win in league play for the Bulldogs? Against a South Carolina Game Cocks team that might not make the NIT this year. The Bulldogs need this win just to be mentioned in the NCAA tournament conversation.
This is more situational betting for me. If this game were in Mississippi, I would be backing the Bulldogs. But it’s not, it’s in Texas and I have no choice but to back the home team. Both of these teams can’t seem to win road games in conference play, so why buck the trend?
The 6.5-points seem a little high to me, but when you look at the recent run at home for A&M, many of those games weren’t all that close. So I think they find a way to cover that number.
The Aggies are certainly more than -6.5-points better than Mississippi State at home if they give a full effort. And that is what I expect from them tonight. A hard-fought game that sees the Aggies pull away in the second half and coast to a double-digit victory and cover. Feels like 82-70 Aggies.
Give me the Texas A&M Aggies laying some wood tonight -6.5-points at home!