February 16, 2008

Road Trip to Aggieland

After a rough stretch, Oklahoma State has now won two of its last three games.

Are they going to be able to make it three of four?

That's something we'll all find out today, as the Cowboys travel to College Station for a matchup against No. 16 Texas A&M. The game is set for a 2:30 p.m. start and will be televised nationally on ABC.

OSU (12-12 overall, 3-7 Big 12) will be looking for revenge in this one, as the Aggies (20-4, 6-3) were able to pull out a 63-61 win on Jan. 26 in Stillwater. But will they be able to pull the reversal on A&M? No one knows, but if recent history is any indication, the answer will be no. Until OSU can break its 19-game losing streak (which dates back over two calendar years now), it's hard to expect them to have a chance to win any road game they play.

However, if their last outing is any indication, there is promise for the Cowboys away from home. In Wednesday's 93-83 win over Baylor, OSU jumped out to a sizable lead in the early going and were able to withstand late runs from the Bears and hold on for the win. In that game, Byron Eaton had one of his best games in orange, scoring 25 points and dishing for eight assists and only two turnovers. Other players had solid outings as well and scoring was spread all around the court. James Anderson scored 17 points, Terrel Harris has 15 while both Marcus Dove and Obi Muonelo had 13.

As for the Aggies, they've been playing very well since the last meeting between the two teams. Their win over the Pokes in Stillwater started them on a five-game winning streak which is still alive today. Since the first pairing of these two, the Aggies have beaten Texas and Oklahoma at home and Iowa State and Missouri on the road. Josh Carter is leading them in scoring on the year, averaging 13.3 points per game. Next after Carter is center Joseph Jones, who puts up 11.3 ppg. None of their other starters break double figures, but they all average at least eight ppg, so the ability for anyone in their starting five to have a nice shooting day is possible. Carter has been especially hot from outside as of late, going 7-of-14 from three-point land in his past two games.

Unfortunately, until the streak is broken, the big storyline for OSU in a road game is, well, figuring out a way to win on the road. Will today be the day? Las Vegas doesn't think so, as the Pokes are almost two-touchdown underdogs to the Aggies. It should be a rough situation for the Cowboys and the game will be another one of A&M's "White Out" deals, where the entire collective wears white shirts. And while OSU played them close in Stillwater, that doesn't mean they'll fare as well without the homecourt advantage to fall back on. The good news is, aside from the Kansas State loss, the Cowboys have played opponents pretty toughly on the scoreboard whether it be home or away in the last few games.

So what's the key here? Avoid offensive lapses that lead to minutes-long field goal droughts (which they were able to do pretty well against Baylor), play solid defense and keep it close late. If all that happens, the last five minutes of the game could be interesting.

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