West Virginia Presses and Impresses vs. Texas A&M

West Virginia Mountaineers

Willie Bee

Friday, November 10, 2017 1:32 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 1:32 PM GMT

Suspensions are a factor in the matchup between Texas A&M and West Virginia, and we have a free NCAA basketball pick for the top 25 season opener.

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Texas A&M Aggies vs West Virginia MountaineersFree NCAA Basketball Pick: West Virginia -6Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

There are close to 170 games on today’s card, but only one of them pits ranked teams as the Texas A&M Aggies and West Virginia Mountaineers travel seven time zones to the Rhineland to get it on. ESPN’s cameras start rolling at 6 PM (ET), and the 6 point spread favoring the Mountaineers held steady overnight at Bookmaker where the total shrunk from 139 to 134½.

Texas A&M sits No. 25 in the early AP poll where West Virginia is No. 11. It’s just the third meeting between the schools, and we only have to go back a little more than nine months to find the most recent encounter. The Mountaineers hosted the Aggies in late-January during the Big 12/SEC Challenge, building a big halftime lead before holding on for an 81-77 win as 15 point favorites on the NCAA basketball odds. West Virginia also won the matchup early in the 2009-10 campaign, but A&M covered both losses.

 Aggies Missing 2 Starters Due To Suspensions

Any discussion of Texas A&M has to begin in the frontcourt. Tyler Davis and Robert Williams are an impressive duo on their own, plus head coach Billy Kennedy has DJ Hogg and Tonny Trochas-Morelo for depth down low. That quartet averaged more than 46 points and 25 boards a year ago, a big reason why the Aggies are projected to be a player in the SEC this time around.

Unfortunately, any early discussion of this team also has to begin with the fact Williams will not play in this game, the 6-10 forward sitting out the first three contests due to a suspension. Kennedy also has suspended freshman guard JJ Caldwell. a 5-star recruit out of Houston, for the first five games.

 

Senior Duo In Frontcourt Leads Mountaineers

Maybe Caldwell can learn something while he’s on the sidelines about pressure defenses at the college basketball level. Bob Huggins is an in-your-face kind of guy, and his teams reflect his personality in their play. Huggins coached the Mountaineers to 28 wins and a matchup against No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 last sesaon, and returns a team capable of going at least one step closer this time, if not reach the Final Four.

West Virginia lost a load in the frontcourt with Nathan Adrian using up his eligibility, plus will be without Esa Ahmad until January due to the 6-8 junior failing to meet eligibility rules. The Mountaineers have one of the best guards in the country, however, in Jevon Carter who will be ably assisted in the backcourt by Daxter Miles.

The absence of Williams and Caldwell is much worse for A&M than the Mountaineers’ inexperience in the frontcourt without Ahmad. Let’s begin 2017-18 with a free college basketball pick on Huggy’s lads.

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