By LARRY VAUGHT
The record might not say so, but Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says not to doubt that Texas A&M is one of the most talented teams in the SEC.
“Texas A&M is back healthy and has got their roster intact finally,” said Pearl. “They were picked in the top three of our league in the preseason and got a great start in non-conference play and did a great job for the league winning games,” Pearl said after Texas A&M beat his team 81-80 Wednesday night. “They are one of the most talented teams in our league.
“They are big. They lead the SEC in rebounding. It’s great for our league they are back and playing well. Texas A&M is one of the best teams in our league. Anybody that was asked that question would answer it the same way.”
Kentucky has to play at Texas A&M Saturday night. The Cats have lost two straight games and will be trying to avoid the first three-game losing streak in the Calipari era at UK. Texas A&M has won three straight after the win at Auburn.
‘I mean, they’ve been so beat down and injured that it was hard for them, and that’s a sign of coaching. When you’re team is struggling, when they’re ready to let go of the rope and you get it right, that’s, to me, what I really respect when I’m watching other teams,” Calipari said.
“They’ve got great size. Their guards get in the lane and create havoc. They run great stuff. (Coach) Billy’s (Kennedy) done a great job. People don’t understand when your team gets hurt and now all of a sudden you’re down and you lose a couple of games it moves into losing a couple of more games.
“To get the thing right it takes time. It doesn’t change overnight. It begins to change if you can keep everybody together and that’s what he’s doing.”
Now it is what Calipari has to get his team doing, too.
The Aggies blew a 17-point lead in the second half before securing the win behind 23 points from freshman guard T.J. Starks, who was 8-for-12 from the field. Tyler Davis and Robert Williams dominated inside against Auburn as they combined for 31 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Williams was 8-for-9 from the field.