The LSU Tigers look to keep up their winning ways alongside the nation's best team, the No. 1 Baylor Bears

TEXAS LONGHORNS (14-8), (4-5)

Last week: (2-1): W - TCU 62-61, W - Iowa State 72-68, L - Kansas 69-58

This week: Saturday vs Texas Tech, Monday vs. Baylor

Before dropping a close one to the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks, the Texas Longhorns picked up back-to-back wins against the TCU Horned Frogs and the Iowa State Cyclones.

After trailing by one at the half, the Longhorns went on an 11-0 run in the final three minutes to come away victorious against the Cyclones. Sophomore guard Courtney Ramey recorded 14 points while freshman guard Donovan Williams tied his career-high with 13 points in the win.

Up next, the Longhorns will return home for an in-state showdown against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Saturday.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (10-10), (4-4)

Last week: (1-1): W - Tennessee 63-58, L - Georgia 63-48

This week: Tuesday vs. Missouri, Saturday vs. South Carolina

The roller-coaster season continued for the Texas A&M Aggies. They started the week taking a 63-58 victory over Tennessee, in a game where senior guard Wendell Mitchell led A&M to the win with 23 points. It also helped that the Volunteers went cold from behind the arc as Tennessee shot 27.3% from deep.

Following the win, the Aggies suffered one of their worst defeats in conference play with a 15-point loss at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. A&M had no answer for Georgia's Anthony Edwards, as the freshman guard recorded a career-high 29 points while shooting 48% from the floor.

Up next, the Aggies will return to the court on Tuesday to take on the Missouri Tigers.

Houston Cougars (17-5), (7-2)

Last week: (1-1): W - ECU 69-59, L - Cincinnati 64-62

This week: Thursday vs. Tulane, Sunday vs. Wichita State

One poor decision from Dejon Jarreau put the Houston Cougars in a critical light despite their outstanding play throughout the season. After winning their fifth straight game in a victory over ECU, the Cougars drop their second game in conference play in a 64-62 defeat to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

The Cougars' play on the court was overshadowed by Jarreau's poor decision to bite Cincinnati's Mamoudou Diarra during a fight for a loose ball. As a result, Cougars' head coach Kelvin Sampson has suspended Jarreau for one game.

"After further reviews from multiple angles, it can clearly be seen that DeJon Jarreau bit Mamoudou Diarra." Sampson said. "With that in mind, I have chosen to suspend DeJon for Thursday's game against Tulane. I am confident DeJon will learn from this incident and the consequences of his actions."

RICE OWLS (10-13), (2-8)

Last week: (1-1): L - UTSA 90-88, W - North Texas 84-75

This week: Thursday vs. UAB, Saturday vs. Middle Tennessee

After extending their losing streak to five in a loss to UTSA, the Rice Owls pulled off an upset over the top-seeded North Texas Mean Green in an 84-75 victory in Houston.

The Owls completed a comeback late in the second half over North Texas after Rice connected on seven of their final eight baskets to close out the game on a 17-6 run. Trey Murphy III and Josh Parrish scored 15 points apiece, as Drew Peterson recorded 13 points and seven boards in the win.

Up next, the Owls will take on the UAB Blazers inside the Bartow Arena in Birmingham on Thursday.

BAYLOR BEAR (20-1), (9-0)

Last week: (3-0): W - Iowa State 67-53, W - TCU 68-52, W - Kansas State 73-67

This week: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State, Monday vs. Texas

After picking up two blowout victories in back-to-back wins against Iowa State and TCU, the Baylor Bears survived a hard-fought battle against Kansas State on Monday. Sophomore guard Jared Butler recorded four made 3-point field goals and scored 12 of his 20 points in the first half to lead the way for the Bears.

As the nation's top-ranked school, Baylor will put their 19 game winning on the line on Saturday, in a showdown against the Oklahoma State Cowboys inside the Ferrell Center in Waco.

TCU Horned Frog (13-8), (4-4)

Last week: (0-2): L - Texas 62-61, L - Baylor 68-52

This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday vs. Kansas

The TCU Horned Frogs have now lost five of their last six games after going winless during the previous week. Prior to dropping their third straight game in a loss against Baylor, the Horned Frogs suffered a heartbreaking 62-61 defeat to the Texas Longhorns.

Early in the second half, Texas held its largest lead at 45-35 before TCU responded with an 8-0 run of their own, which was ignited by RJ Nembhard's 3-pointer to tie the game at 59 points. With a chance for TCU to win the game, Texas' defense forced Nembhard to commit a traveling violation in the closing seconds. In the loss, Nembhard and Kevin Samuel led TCU on the night with 17 points apiece.

Up next, TCU will look to end their losing skid in a tough match against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.


Last week: (1-1): W - West Virginia 89-81, L - Kansas 78-75

This week: Tuesday vs. Oklahoma, Saturday vs. Texas

After a tough overtime non-conference loss to Kentucky, the Texas Tech Red Raiders picked up an enormous 89-81 victory over No. 12 West Virginia.

In the win, three players registered 20 or more points with junior Davide Moretti scoring a career-high 25 points with four 3-pointers on the night. Terrence Shannon, Jr. added 23 points while Jahmi'us Ramsey had 21 inside the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. Unfortunately, Texas Tech could not carry their momentum over to Kansas on Saturday, where the Red Raiders suffered a 78-75 loss.

Up next, Texas Tech will return home for a Big 12 match against Oklahoma on Wednesday.

SMU MUSTANGS (16-5), (6-3)

Last week: (1-1): L - Cincinnati 65-43, W - Tulane 82-67

This week: Saturday vs. Temple

With their three-game winning streak coming to an end in an embarrassing loss to Cincinnati (65-43), the SMU Mustangs recorded their own blowout win in an 82-67 victory over the Tulane Green Waves.

While shooting 50% from the floor, junior guard Tyson Jolly scored 20 points and sophomore Kendric Davis added a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds for their sixth win in conference play. Up next, the Mustangs will look to build off their big win on Saturday against the Temple Owls in Philadelphia.

LSU TIGERS (17-4), (8-0)

Last week (2-0): W - Alabama 90-76, W - Ole Miss 73-63

This week: Wednesday vs Vanderbilt, Saturday vs Aubrun

The LSU Tigers continued their hot start in conference play and extended their overall winning streak to 10 last week. Unlike their play on the football field, the Alabama Crimson Tide proved to be no match for LSU, as the Tigers had five players scored in double-digits with Emmitt Williams leading the Tigers with 23 points.

Following a close win over the Ole Miss, LSU will hit the road for an SEC matchup against Vanderbilt on Wednesday.

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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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