College Basketball Report: Week 17

The Houston Cougars reclaim their place atop of the American Athletic Conference

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TEXAS LONGHORNS (18-11), (8-8)

Last week: (1-0): W - Texas Tech 68-58

This week: Tuesday vs. Oklahoma, Saturday Oklahoma State

On Saturday, the Texas Longhorns came away victorious in a 68-58 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders inside United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. Andrew Jones tied his career-high in the win, as the sophomore guard recorded 22 points 57.1% from the field.

Up next, the Longhorns will travel to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners before welcoming the Cowboys to Austin on Saturday.

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

Last week: (0-2): L - Kentucky 69-60, L - LSU 64-50

This week: Wednesday vs. Auburn, Saturday vs. Arkansas

After winning three straight, the Texas A&M Aggies are riding a two-game losing streak after dropping games against No. 6 Kentucky (69-60) and LSU (64-50). In both games, junior guard Savion Flagg led the way averaging 17.0 points, while Josh Nebo recorded 11.5 points and 7.5 boards.

After a disappointing week, the Aggies will look to end their losing streak ahead of the Conference Tournament on Wednesday against the Auburn Tigers.

Houston Cougars (27-7), (12-4)

Last week: (1-0): W- Cincinnati 68-55

This week: Thursday vs. UConn, Sunday Memphis

The Houston Cougars reclaimed their spot atop of the American Atheltic Conference with a 68-55 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats inside the Frittata Center in Houston. Despite a subpar shooting night as a team, Marcus Sasser led the way with a game-high 21 points in 33 minutes, as the sharpshooting guard recorded a dozen in the final period shooting 8-for-16 (50%) from the field, 5-for-12 (41.6%) from 3-point range.

Ahead of closing out the season in a home match against Memphis on Sunday, the Cougars will travel to Connecticut to take on the 17-12, 8-8 UConn Huskies, Thursday, inside the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.

RICE OWLS (14-15), (6-10)

Last week: (1-0): W- Middle Tennessee 77-66

This week: Wednesday vs. Southern Miss, Saturday UTEP

The Rice Owls closed out their regular-season series against Middle Tennesse Blue Raiders with a 77-66 win on Sunday. Trey Murphy III fell two rebounds short of recording a double-double with 17 points (8-14, 4-9 3PT) and eight boards in the win.

After trailing 29-24 at the half to the Blue Raiders, the Owls went on a tear in the second half. Rice shot a sizzling 64.2% from the field, 55.5% from behind the arc, as the scored a season-high 53 second-half points. Following the win, the Owls will take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Wednesday.

BAYLOR BEARS (26-3), (15-2) 

Last week: (1-1): W - Kansas State 85-66, L - TCU 75-72, W - Texas Tech 71-68 OT

This week: Saturday vs. West Virginia

After ending their 23-game winning streak to Kansas, the Baylor Bears dropped their second conference game of the season in a 75-72 loss to the TCU Horned Frogs.

Despite holding a seven-point lead at the half, the Bears' defense became a no show in the final 24 minutes, as Baylor allowed the Horned Frogs to score 54 points on 76.1% shooting from the floor, 63.4% from the deep.
Following a win over Texas Tech on Monday, the Bears will look to close out their regular season schedule in a road game against West Virginia.

TCU Horned Frogs (16-13), (7-9)

Last week: (1-1): L - Iowa State 65-59, W - Baylor 75-72

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

After a tough loss against the Iowa State Cyclone on Tuesday, the TCU Horned Frogs picked up their most impressive victory of the season against No. 4 Baylor Bears.

Behind a 23-point performance from senior Desmond Bane, TCU outscored Baylor 54-44 in the second half while shooting 76.1% from the floor, 63.4% from the deep. Up next, the Horned Frogs will look to end their Big 12 conference schedule on a high against the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday, and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-12), (9-8)

Last week: (0-0): L- Oklahoma 65-51, L - Texas 68-58, L - Baylor 71-68 OT

This week: Saturday vs. Kansas

Despite experiencing their worst stretch of the season, the Texas Tech Red Raiders nearly pulled an upset over the No. 4 Baylor Bears on Monday. Behind freshmen guards, Jahml'us Ramsey (13) and Kevin McCullar (13), Texas Tech ended the night shooting 50% from the floor inside the Ferrell Center in Waco.

Although they had a solid night from the field, the Red Raiders could not stop Baylor from scoring from the outside, as the Bears connected on 10 3-point field goals on 42% shooting from deep.

Up next, Texas Tech will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday against the Kansas Jayhawks to close out their 2019-20 college basketball season.

SMU Mustangs (19-9), (9-7)

Last week: (2-1): W- Memphis 58-53, L - Wichita State 66-62

This week: Wednesday vs. UCF, Saturday vs. USF

Before falling to Wichita State on Sunday, the SMU Mustangs took a 58-53 victory over the Memphis Tigers on Tuesday. Junior forward Tyson Jolly recorded a double-double of 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, as SMU forced 21 turnovers in which they converted into 20 points.

Following the win, the Mustangs will travel to Orlando to take on the UCF Bulls on Wednesday.

LSU Tigers (20-9), (11-5)

Last week: (1-1): L - Florida 81-66, W - Texas A&M 64-50

This week: Wednesday vs. Arkansas, Saturday vs. Georgia

After a 15 point loss to Florida, the LSU Tigers picked up a 64-50 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday. In the win, it was a great all-round performance from Skylar Mays, as the senior guard recorded 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting with four treys, to go with eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Up next, the Tigers will look to end their regular-season conference schedule on Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs.

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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