College Basketball Report: Week 16

The Baylor Bears' 23-game winning streak comes to an end against Kansas

Shaka Smart and Texas are fading fast. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (17-11), (7-8)

Last week: (3-0): W - TCU 70-56, W - Kansas State 70-59, W - West Virginia 67-57

This week: Saturday vs. Texas Tech

The Texas Longhorns ended their four-game losing streak in a 70-56 home victory over the TCU Horn Frogs on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Andrew Jones recorded a career-best 21 points (7-14 FG, 3-5 FG), while freshman center Will Baker added a career-high 20 points in the win.

Up next, the Longhorns will prepare for an in-state match against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, after picking up two more victories against Kansas State (70-59) and West Virginia (67-57).

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (14-12), (8-6)

Last week: (2-0): W - Alabama 74-68, W - Mississippi State 87-75

This week: Tuesday vs. Kentucky, Saturday vs. LSU

The Texas A&M Aggies have found their stride with four games left before the start of the SEC Tournament. Last week, the Aggies won back-to-back games, picking up wins against the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

In both games, Texas A&M received great production from their frontcourt duo of Quenton Jackson and senior Josh Nebo. Jackson led the way averaging a team-high 19.0 points 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals, while Nebo averaged 17.5 points and 5.0 rebounds over the past week.

Up next, the Aggies will look to extend their winning streak on Wednesday, in a home match against No. 10 Kentucky Wildcats.

Houston Cougars (27-7), (11-4)

Last week: (1-1): W- Tulsa 76-43, L - Memphis 60-59

This week: Sunday vs. Cincinnati

After handing the Tulsa Golden Hurricane their worst loss of the season, the Houston Cougars dropped a heartbreaking defeat to the Memphis Tigers in a 70-69 loss Saturday afternoon.

In one of his best performances of his collegiate career, Houston's freshman guard Caleb Mills scored a game-high 21 points (7-14 FG, 2-4 3PT), while Marcus Sasser added in 18 points for the Cougars.

After a slow start to the game, the Cougars played from behind for a majority of the game, as they trailed 27-23 entering the halftime break. Although Houston won the second period by three (36-33), Memphis closed out the game in the final seconds, as forward Precious Achiuwa hit two go-ahead free throws with 28.2 seconds left.

With only one game on the schedule, the Cougars will return to the court on Sunday in a home match against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

RICE OWLS (13-15), (5-10)

Last week: (0-1): L- UTEP 68-62

This week: Sunday vs. Middle Tennessee

Despite leading by 13 points at the half, the Rice Owls were outscored 49-30 during the second period, as the UTEP Miners took a comeback 68-60 victory on Saturday.

The Owls held a 32-19 lead at the half which extended to 19 after a hot start to the second half. Unfortunately, Rice missed their next 13 shots as UTEP went on a 19-0 run to ignite a comeback victory over. The Owls also had no answer for UTEP's senior guard Daryl Edwards registered a career-best 34 points (11-22 FG, 8-12 3pt) in 40 minutes of action.

Following their most disappointing loss of the season, the Owls will take on Middle Tennessee on Sunday, inside Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston.

BAYLOR BEAR (24-2), (13-1)

Last week: (1-1): W - Oklahoma 64-54, L - Kansas 64-61

This week: Tuesday vs. Kansas State, Saturday vs. TCU

After extending their winning streak to 23 in a victory over Oklahoma, the No. 1 Baylor Bears dropped their first game since Nov. 8 in a 64-61 loss to the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks, Saturday afternoon in Waco. Kansas' Udoka Azubuike determined to be too much for the Bears to handle, as the senior big man recorded a double-double of 23 points and a career-high 19 rebounds in the win.

With 6:30 left in the second half, the Jayhawks held a 10-point lead before Baylor embarked on a late-game surge. The Bears connected on back-to-back 3-point field goals and came within one (62-61) with 18 seconds left in the game. After two made free-throws by Isaiah Moss (who added in 13 points), Baylor's Jared Butler missed a potential game-tying 3-point field goal for a chance to send the game into overtime.

Up next, the Bears will look to return to their winning ways on Tuesday, in a home match against Kansas State.

TCU Horned Frogs (15-12), (6-8)

Last week: (1-1): L - Texas 70-56, W - West Virginia 67-60 OT

This week: Tuesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday vs. Baylor

After suffering a blowout loss at the hands of the Texas Longhorns, the TCU Horn Frogs picked up a much-needed victory in a 67-60 overtime win over West Virginia on Saturday. The win over West Virginia marked TCU's largest comeback of the season, as the Horn Frogs trailed by 10 early in the second period.

Only two players scored in double-figures with Kevin Samuel leading the way with 19 points (7-7 FG), eight rebounds, five blocks and two steals, while Both RJ Nembhard scored 16 points apiece on 50% shooting from the field. After the win, TCU will return to action on Tuesday in a match against Iowa State.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-9), (9-5)

Last week: (2-0): W- Kansas State 69-62, W - Iowa State 87-57

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

Prior to picking up their largest win of the season in a 30-point victory over the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday, the Texas Tech Red Raiders survived a 69-62 win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday. Texas Tech did so by out-shooting the Cyclones, as they connected for 50.0% of their shots from the floor.

With four triples on the night, Davide Moretti scored a team-high 18 points, while Jahmi'us Ramsey went for 17 points and Kyler Edwards added in 14 in the win. Texas Tech will return to the court on Tuesday for a BIG 12 match against the Oklahoma Sooners, before taking on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday.

SMU Mustangs (18-8), (8-6)

In what could have been an easy week for SMU, the Mustangs dropped back-to-back disappointing loss to the Tulsa Golden Hurrican and Tulane Green Waves.

In both games, the Mustangs defense was a no-show, as their opponents shot a combined 52.9% from the field and a sizzling 41% from behind the arc. In the loss against Tulane, four players scored in double-figures with Teshaun Hightower leading the way with a career-best 26 points on the night. Up next, SMU will look to end their two-game skid on Tuesday, in a match against the Memphis Tigers.

LSU Tigers (19-8), (10-4)

Last week: (1-1): L - Kentucky 79-76, W - South Carolina 86-80

This week: Wednesday vs. Florida, Saturday vs. Texas A&M

The Tigers came three-point shy from pulling off an upset, as the Kentucky Wildcats came away with a 79-76 victory over LSU. Despite a well-rounded team performance from LSU, the Wildcats' hot shooting gave them the advantage. Kentucky shot 74% from the floor while connecting on seven out of eight 3-point field goals during the second half.

After the tough loss, the Tigers bounced back with an 86-80 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks. In the win, sophomore guard Javonte Smart led LSU in the win with 18 points, while freshman forward Trendon Watford notched a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win.

Up next, LSU will return to the court on Wednesday to face off against the Florida Gators.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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