Green Bay head coach Linc Darner won the national championship last season… in Division II. Now with the Green Bay Phoenix, Darner led his team to a Horizon League title in year one, defeating a very talented Valparaiso team along the way. The man just has a formula for success in the month of March.
On the other side we have the Texas A&M Aggies, who were the SEC regular season champions and have one of the more complete teams in the entire field of 64. Which team will survive and advance?
No. 14 Green Bay Phoenix (23-12) vs. No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies (26-8)
When: 7:20 p.m. ET (Friday)
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Line: Texas A&M -12.5
Keys for Green Bay
The Phoenix must do all they can to avoid playing a half-court game with the Aggies. Green Bay likes to run the floor and score in bunches, finishing the year with the No. 6 scoring offense in the nation (84.2 ppg). Senior star guard Carrington Love must bring his complete arsenal into this game if Green Bay wants to pull off the upset. The Phoenix also must drive when the lanes are available to avoid living, and more likely dying, by the three.
Keys for Texas A&M
The Aggies must stick to their game plan and not get rattled if Green Bay comes out of the gates hot. They want to slow the game down and let their No. 31-ranked defense dictate the pace of this game. Freshman center Tyler Davis is the key in this game for Texas A&M as he has the ability to dominate down low. Senior leaders Jalen Jones, Danuel House and Alex Caruso will be fired up in the final postseason appearance of their college careers.
Texas A&M has been playing great basketball of late, with its only loss in the last month coming in overtime of the SEC Tournament title game against Kentucky. The mix of youth and experience creates a great dynamic for the Aggies, and these players will not be satisfied with anything less than a Sweet 16 appearance. Green Bay could make things interesting if the Phoenix are hitting a lot of shots, but I think the Aggies will slow this game down and control the pace from start to finish.