Florida-Texas A&M hoops preview

Florida-Texas A&M Preview

Series Record: UF leads 2-1

Last Matchup: Florida beat Texas A&M, 84-64, on Dec. 17, 2011

Team: Texas A&M Aggies

Conference: SEC

Head Coach: Billy Kennedy

Record: 12-3 (2-0 SEC)

Rankings in Polls: Unranked

Starting Five

Elston Turner — G

Fabyon Harris — G

J’Mychal Reese — G

Ray Turner — F

Kourtney Roberson — F

Key Bench Players

Alex Caruso — G

Jordan Green — G

Things to Watch

That Man is On Fire: Elston Turner had the game of his life on Jan. 12 against Kentucky, scoring 40 points in the Aggies’ 83-71 win against the Wildcats. Not only did the win give Kentucky its first home SEC loss in John Calapari’s tenure, but it also put Texas A&M on the map. Turner has been the go-to-man for Texas A&M this season, leading the team in minutes played and points per game. He couldn’t miss against Kentucky, shooting 6 of 10 from 3-point range and 14 for 19 from the field. Turner will need to keep his hot streak going for the Aggies to compete with Florida for 40 minutes.

Injury Bug Bites Again: Despite the successful season for the Gators so far, the first three months have been marred by injuries. It seems as if Florida can never be 100 percent healthy, and the latest victim is forward Casey Prather. The Gators survived their road test against LSU without guard Mike Rosario, but now they will face another road test with Prather’s absence. Prather has been the team’s hustle man all season, giving maximum effort, especially on the offensive rebounds and his absence will be hard to miss come Jan. 17.

Positional Breakdown

Guards: As mentioned before, Turner is the leader of this team, especially on the offensive side. At 6-foot-5, he presents a few matchup problems for the smaller guards and he’s shooting lights out right now. The ball will go through him every possession for the Aggies, so the Gators need to be aware. Behind Turner, the Aggies rely on a handful of other guards to share the load. Harris, Reese, Caruso and Green all see significant playing time. However, Harris will be the next scoring threat as he averages 10.5 points per game and is shooting over 43 percent from 3-point range. Caruso will be the main option off of the bench.

Forwards: The Aggies don’t have much depth at the forward position, as they like to rotate a lot of guards throughout the game. For Texas A&M, Turner and Roberson will be the main options at the forward positions. The two starters average more than 21 minutes per game also more than six rebounds per game. Turner will provide a little more offensive firepower with 11.4 points per game, but neither of these two players are a threat from 3-point range. They’ll try to beat Florida down low in the post and it’s worked against other opponents as they are shooting an impressive 58 percent from the field.

Centers: Florida won’t have to contend with any true center on the Aggies roster and will need to focus on stopping Turner and Roberson down low.

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Drew is a senior at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. When not at school, Drew resides in Lakeland, Fla. Ever since working on his high school yearbook, Drew has had an interest in pursuing a journalism career after college. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of his school newspaper, The Samford Crimson, Drew has also been with Gator Country as an intern for one year. He enjoys the finer things in life like Tampa Bay Rays baseball and always making sure to make fun of the Atlanta Braves to Andrew Spivey’s face.