Aggies to turn Phoenix into ashes?

UW-Green Bay vs. Texas A&M NCAA Tournament 3/18/16 Picks & Predictions

The rise of the Phoenix could be short-lived.

UW-Green Bay stunned the Horizon League by racing to the conference tournament title, but this evening brings an entirely different challenge: big, bad, bruising Texas A&M.

The two teams meet at 6:20 p.m. ET in a West Region bout that looks exceedingly lopsided on paper. According to oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv, the Aggies are 13.5-point favorites at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

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Having ended its regular season as co-champion of the Big 12, Texas A&M boasts an impressive resume indeed. Billy Kennedy’s bunch reeled off eight straight victories before losing in the SEC title game to Kentucky.

Of equal importance, his best players are operating at maximum effectiveness at the perfect time. Danuel House torched the Wildcats for a career-high 32 points in that overtime defeat. He and fellow senior Jalen Jones both possess the ability to score in bunches.

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The Maroon and White put tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of their veteran leaders, and the same applies to the Phoenix. Senior guard Carrington Love paces the squad in points per game (17.7), assists and steals. He must continue filling the stat if Green Bay wants to make any kind of noise in its first Big Dance appearance since 1996.

At the end of the night, though, Linc Darner’s crew will likely be in reflection mode. The Aggies are too fast, too strong and extremely motivated by last year’s absence from the field of 68. It’s a group with Final Four potential, and the first step on the road toward Houston comes at the expense of Green Bay.

FRIDAY NCAA FREE PICK: TEXAS A&M -13.5

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