NCAA Tournament 2009 First Round
Texas A&M Aggies +2 (23-9) 14-10 ATS, 13-11 O/U vs. No. 25 BYU Cougars -2 (25-7) 18-13 ATS, 15-14 O/U Thursday, March 19, 2009 Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pa. 3:00 p.m. EST, TV: CBS
By Wilson of Predictem.com
BYU received an at-large invitation to the 2009 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament today and will face a familiar foe in a rematch of last years first round action as they take on the Aggies of Texas A&M. The Aggies beat the Cougars 67-62 in the first round of the tournament and they look to repeat with another big win this Thursday.
Texas A&M finished fourth in the Big 12 conference with a 9-7 record. They are led by junior guard Josh Carter who scores 14.1 points per game while junior guard, Donald Sloan contributes 11.7 ppg. The Aggies last game was a loss to Texas Tech 88-83 in the first round of the Big 12 conference tourney. However, the Aggies have won 4 of their last 5 games with one of those wins at the hands of Missouri, a notable victory to say the least.
A&M is averaging 71 points per outing on 44.6 percent shooting from the field and 69 percent from the charity stripe. The Aggies give up 66.3 points per game to their opponents. BYU, on the other hand is slightly better as they put up nearly 78 points a game on 48 percent shooting from the floor and 73 percent from the line. The Cougars allow 64 ppg to the opposition.
BYU is led by ALL-MWC honorees Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Cummard sets the pace by scoring 16.8 ppg where he is currently shooting 52 percent from the field. Tavernari chips in a respectable 15.9 ppg as well.
This will be BYUs third consecutive year as a No. 8 seed where they are 1-3 when seeded eighth. It is also the Cougars 24th NCAA Tournament appearance, their sixth in the last nine years. BYU will be looking for their first NCAA Tourney win since 1992-93 when they knocked off SMU 80-71 in the first round.
In the last head to head matchup between these two teams it was a close game as BYU was favored by one point and the total was 128 which went over by one point (67-62). If the sportsbooks do what I think theyll do, this game will likely be just as tight of a line as it was a year ago. The Aggies won the battle on the floor and on paper as they shot 54 percent from the floor and won the battle on the boards 36-23. They also knocked down 50 percent of their 3-point shots as they drained 8 of 16 from behind the arc.
BYU has also won 4 of their last 5 contests. They lost their last game to San Diego State 64-62. San Diego State was one of the bubble teams that did not get into the tourney despite their impressive season including the win over the Cougars.
The winner of this game will likely face West Regions No. 1 seed University of Connecticut, assuming they get by Chattanooga. With a second game potentially versus a No. 1 seed both teams will need to be mentally tough and focus only on one game at a time.
The online bookies will have all the lines and current updates as March Madness takes over the country for the next three weeks. I like the No.8 vs. No. 9 seed game as they are traditionally well played as both teams usually matchup well- I think this game will be a classic from the tip.
It doesnt matter who you play because every team is going to be good, said BYU coach Dave Rose. Rose stated that he thinks his team is in a good spot.
Wilsons Pick: Texas AM wins in a barn-burner! Texas A&M 67, BYU 66. Luck to ya.