The Longhorns rallied late for a 2-0 start, as the Houston Cougars look to begin their season on the right note following an exhibition win.

College basketball report: Week 1

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TEXAS LONGHORNS (2-0)

Last week (2-0): W-Northern Colorado 69-45, W-Purdue 70-66

This week: Tuesday vs. California Baptist, Friday Prairie View A&M

The Texas Longhorns are off to a 2-0 start to begin their 2019-20 college basketball season. Led by Andrew Jones who scored a career-best 20 points (8-13 FG, 4-5 3PT) in an emotional return following treatment for leukemia, Texas opened the week with a 69-45 victory over the Northern Colorado Bears. Following the blowout victory, The Longhorns finished the week with an early-season test at Purdue on Saturday. Behind junior guard, Matt Coleman III —who recorded 22 points and seven assists— the Longhorns knocked off the Boilermakers in a 70-66 comeback victory inside the Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, IN. Texas trailed 62-57 with a little over three minutes remaining in the second half before closing the game on a 13-4 run. Up next, the Longhorns will return to Austin to take on the California Baptist Lancers on Tuesday, and the Prairie View A&M Panthers on Friday.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W- Northwestern State 77-63

This week: Monday vs. ULM, Friday Gonzaga

The Aggies opened their season with a 77-63 win over the Northwestern State Demons inside the Reed Arena in College Station. Texas A&M new head coach, Buzz Williams, picked up his first win thanks to a 22 point performance by Savion Flagg. Up next, the Aggies will continue their four-game homestand against the University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks on Monday, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Friday.

HOUSTON COUGARS (0-0)

Last week (1-0): W-ASU 106-42 (exhibition)

This week: Tuesday vs. Alabama State, Friday BYU

The Houston Cougars have yet to open their 2019-20 college basketball season, but still found their way into the win column with a 106-42 exhibition victory over the Angelo State Rams. The Cougars will tip-off their new season with a two-game homestand on Tuesday against the Alabama State Hornets, and the BYU Cougars on Friday.

RICE OWLS (2-1)

Last week (2-1): L-Arkansas 91-43, W-Pennsylvania (80-61), W-Wayland Baptist 65-40

This week: Tuesday at Northwestern State, Saturday at UCSB.

With a full set of games to begin the season, the Rice Owls had a solid start to their 2019-20 campaign. After opening the new year with a loss to Arkansas Razorbacks (91-43), the Owls won back-to-back games against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers (80-61), and Wayland Baptist Pioneers (65-40). The Owls will begin a two-game road trip starting on Tuesday against the Northwestern State Demons and the UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

BAYLOR BEARS (1-1)

Last week (1-1): W: Central Arkansas 105-61 -57, L: Washington 67-64

This week: Friday vs. Texas State

The Baylor Bears' 2019-20 season got off to a convincing start with a 105-61 victory over the Central Arkansas Bears. In the win, Baylor recorded 18 3's with Jared Butler leading the way with 30 points and eight triples on the night. The celebration would not last for Baylor as they closed out the week with a 67-64 loss to the Washington Huskies. The Bears will look to bounce back from a disappointing outing against Washington on Friday when they take on the Texas State Bobcats.

TCU HORNED FROGS (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W: Southwestern University 83-62

This week: Tuesday vs Louisiana

The TCU Men's Basketball team recorded their first victory of the new season with an 83-62 win over the Southwestern Pirates on Thursday. Senior guard, Desmond Bane, kicked off his final year with 26 points shooting 63% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc. The Horned Frogs will hit the floor for one game next week against the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns on Tuesday.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (2-0)

Last week: (2-0) W: Eastern Illinois 85-60, W: Bethune-Cookman 79-44

This week: Wednesday vs. Houston Baptist

The Texas Tech Raiders have opened their new season with back-to-back blowout victories. The first came in an 85-60 win over the Eastern Illinois Panthers, and a 79-44 win over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The Raiders' defense played a tremendous role in their victories, as Texas Tech held its opponents to an average of 52.0 points on 35% percent shooting, 27.3% from behind the arc. The Raiders will return to the court on Wednesday for a game against Houston Baptist inside the Chaparral Center in Midland.

SMU MUSTANGS (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W: Jacksonville State 74-65

This week: Tuesday vs. New Orleans, Saturday vs Jackson State

Unlike their in-sate AAC rival (UH), the SMU Mustangs opened their season on Tuesday with a 74-65 victory over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. SMU's junior guard Tyson Jolly poured in a career-high 21 points, eight rebounds and two steals in the win. The Mustangs will host the New Orleans Privateers on Tuesday, and the Jackson State Tigers on Saturday.

LSU TIGERS (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W: Bowling Green 88-79

This week: Wednesday @ VCU, Saturday vs Nicholls

Although they did not create the same buzz as their acquaintances on the gridiron, the Tigers opened their season with back-to-back home wins over the Louisiana Tech Readies, and the Bowling Green Flacons. The Tigers will hit the road for a battle against VCU on Wednesday and will return home for an in-state match against the Nicholls Colonels.

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Here's what the data tells us about Bregman. Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alex Bregman had a rough season in 2020 by his standards. He slashed .242/.350/.451 in 42 regular season games. His regular season included a trip to the 10-day IL for a hamstring strain he suffered in mid-August. His surface-level struggles continued in the postseason, where he slashed .220/.316/.300 in 13 games. However, that postseason sample size does include a tough luck game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he went 0-for-5 with five hard hit balls.

All-in-all, 2020 felt like a lost season for Bregman. He never really got going. He got off to a slow start, but he's always been a slow starter. Once he started to pick it up, he strained his hamstring, and he played poorly after returning from the hamstring strain. Then, he started to turn his batted ball quality around in the playoffs, but he hit into a lot of tough luck outs.

Hard Hit % - 33.6%

Barrel % - 3.9%

K% - 14.4%

BB% - 13.3%

Chase % - 18.1%

Bregman comes from the Michael Brantley school of hitters. He has elite plate discipline and elite bat-to-ball skills. This makes Bregman a fairly consistent hitter. That may sound odd considering his 2020 "struggles" but even an extended period of poor performance for him resulted in a .801 OPS and a 122 wRC+. If his valleys are still 22% better than the league average hitter, then that's a pretty reliable producer.

There aren't any alarming trends in Bregman's statistics. Yes, his K% was slightly up, his BB% is slightly down, but it isn't a massive difference in either category. His Chase % was up, but again, 18.1% is elite discipline. The biggest drop was in his Hard Hit%, where he fell from 38% to 33.6%. Even so, his average exit velocity only dropped .4 MPH, so there's not really a catastrophic trend here.

His .254 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) was low, but he's never put up really high BABIP numbers. In fact, his BABIP has gotten worse every year of his career, from .317 to .311 to .289 to .281 to .254. While his BABIP will likely spike back up next year, it isn't enough to be the difference between the 2019 and 2020 versions of himself. His xBA and xSLG weren't out of whack either. His .256 xBA isn't much better than his .240 AVG, and his .400 xSLG is actually worse than his .451 SLG.

Bregman is as forthcoming with his hitting mechanics, approach, and mental cues as any big leaguer out there. Here is what he had to say about his swing this year. This was a Zoom press conference with the media following the Astros game on September 25th against the Rangers.

Bregman says he wants to hit balls in the air to the pull side and on a line to the opposite field, but in reality, he was hitting flares to the opposite field and hitting them on the ground to the pull side.

The data mostly backs up that claim. In 2019, on balls hit to the pull side, Bregman had an average exit velocity of 90.7 MPH at an average launch angle of 16°, a 40% Hard Hit %, and a 16% HR%. Since Bregman has elite bat-to-ball skills, most of those metrics didn't change. In 2020, his average exit velocity was 90.6, essentially the same as 2019. His Hard Hit % was 42%, a touch better than in 2019. However, his average launch angle dipped from 16° to 11°, which contributed to his HR% dropping all the way to 9%. Bregman hit 47% of his pull side swings on the ground. In 2019, that number was 40%. He absolutely had less production to the pull side in 2020.

The data gets a little hazier going the opposite way when comparing 2019 to 2020, as Bregman actually performed slightly better to the opposite field in 2020 than 2019, but he also only had 20 batted balls to the opposite field all season. Considering the small sample size, it isn't worth diving too deep into the data.

He's right that most of the balls he hit that way were flares. He had an average exit velocity of 83.4 MPH with an average launch angle of 32°, but that's about the same as what he did in 2019. A lot of the statistical drop off comes from balls that were backspun rockets to the pull side in 2019 becoming top spinners or roll overs in 2020.

Bregman also performed horribly against breaking balls in 2020. He batted .150 with a .250 SLG against them in 2020. He had an 84 MPH Average Exit Velocity against them and whiffed 26.5% of the time against them.

It was a far cry from 2019, when he hit .265 with a .588 SLG, 87 MPH average exit velo, and whiffed 18% of the time.

Those numbers lend credence to his statement on his mechanics. It's tough for a hitter to have adjustability against breaking balls if he's blowing out his front side and pulling off of the baseball.

Bregman will spend the offseason working on these mechanical fixes and getting back to the hitter he used to be. If he's consistently hitting the ball in the air to the pull side next year, and he's performing better against breaking balls, then he should be right back in the mix for AL MVP.

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