January 18, 2008

Cats return home to take on Texas A&M

Texas A&M may have fallen to an unranked Texas Tech team earlier this week, but in no way has that loss taken away from the enormity of Kansas State's upcoming clash with the Aggies. Saturday's contest still serves as a statement game, a chance for head coach Frank Martin's team to secure a win over one of the nation's top-rated programs and go to 2-0 in conference play for the first time in 15 years.

The Wildcats (11-4) will be attempting to end the dubious 15-year streak against a team that is anything but a slump buster. Despite Wednesday's stumble against Texas Tech, the No. 9 Aggies are 15-2 on the season, and Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon's team has claimed victory over five different major-conference opponents, making its intentions of contending for a Big 12 Championship crystal clear.

Savannah State this is not.

"They've got five guys on the court at all times that can score the basketball," Martin said of Saturday's opponent. "They present a different challenge for us than we have faced all year with exception of Xavier. We have to play a team where all five guys on the court can score."

The Aggies' scoring may be balanced, but everything Turgeon's team does starts inside. Led by 7-foot freshman DeAndre Jordan, A&M possesses great size on the blocks. Jordan and 6-foot-9 forward Joseph Jones both average double-figure scoring totals this season, and both are capable of rebounding with the Big 12's best, but the most lethal side effect of the Aggies' formidable low-post presence is its capacity to free up the A&M guards on the perimeter.

"How they play is inside-out," Martin said. "They start with their bigs and go from there."

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