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)Β 

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 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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