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

Shaka Smart. Jamie Squire/Getty Images


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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Jose Altuve is on a roll. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

And then there were six. Games left in the Astros’ regular season. Three vs. Tampa Bay then three vs. Philadelphia, all at Minute Maid Park. The first three are important for the Rays as they jockey for Wild Card positioning with the Blue Jays and Mariners. The second three games decide playoffs or no playoffs for the Phillies as they try to stave off the Brewers. The Astros have nothing to play for with regard to the standings but it’s still a fun finish to another fabulous season. 102-54! Matching or topping the franchise record of 107 regular season wins would be grand, but it’s not a goal they’re going to push the limits to achieve. There are a couple individual pursuits of note this final week. We’ll hit those then get to truly important stuff to be settled on before the Astros start their postseason October 11.

Crunching the numbers

Three weeks ago I wrote that Jose Altuve needed a tremendous finishing kick to get there, but that his first .300 batting average season since 2018 was within striking distance. He promptly went one for eight over his next two games, lengthening the odds against him. In 15 games since Altuve has sizzled, banging out 21 hits in 54 at bats for a .389 average. So with six games to go he’s at .297. If Altuve gets 20 more official at bats he needs eight hits.

Yordan Alvarez’s assorted maladies sure cause some indigestion. The knee history, the hands, and now an ankle roll. Yordan is still four RBI short of joining Kyle Tucker with 100+. They’d be the Astros first 100+ tandem since…just three years ago when Alex Bregman (112) and Yuli Gurriel (104) did it.

Setting the playoff rotation

The playoff schedule is stupid in spots, dictated by television. The Astros against To Be Determined in their best-of-five American League Division Series will have game one Tuesday October 11, then a day off before game two Thursday, then a day off before game three Saturday (same is true for Yankees vs. To Be Determined). That’s ridiculous, and gives longtime Astros fans Kevin Brown nightmares (see 1998 NLDS). Unless there’s a three game sweep, game four would be Sunday. Should the series go to a decisive fifth game, there is no off day between games four and five. This impacts starting pitcher planning. Obviously the Astros go Justin Verlander in game one and Framber Valdez in game two. Almost certainly Lance McCullers gets the ball in game three. Then (unless the series is a sweep) there is a decision to be made. First, with the two off days Verlander would be available on four days rest. Up 2-1 last year, after a rainout the Astros brought back McCullers on a shorter four days rest (game one was a night game, game four a day game) and Lance blew out his arm again. If up two games to one, pitching Verlander on “normal” four days rest to go for the kill would take him out of the American League Championship Series until game three, and that would be his only starting availability in the ALCS unless you’d foolishly bring him back on three days rest if there was a game seven. So, if up 2-1 the smarter play is to start Cristian Javier in game four which has Verlander ready to go in a do-or-die game five or if the Astros advance in four, game one of the American League Championship Series. If down 2-1 and you pitch Verlander, if there’s a game five it’s the guy you passed over in game four, or Framber on three days rest.

Yes, Javier in game four, over Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia because quite simply, Javier is better. Unless Verlander or Valdez gets knocked out early, committing Javier to a bullpen role where he’d throw two or three innings vs. the six or so you’d expect out of him as a starter doesn’t make sense, definitely not with the first round schedule. Presumably Urquidy or Garcia will be on the roster for long reliever duty (carrying both would be poor roster management). The Astros have the best bullpen in the Major Leagues. Getting cute and using Javier over Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero, or Ryan Pressly would be silly. Over Hector Neris or Bryan Abreu? Maybe. When Javier is vulnerable it’s walks and home runs that typically get him, so bringing him in in a tight seventh or eighth inning spot would be a dubious choice given the high caliber alternatives.

As for the roster, teams can change it round by round. Carrying 13 pitchers in a best-of-five with two scheduled off days is impractical. The Astros should carry Yainer Diaz or Korey Lee as a third catcher and David Hensley as an extra utility option. 12 pitchers: Verlander, Valdez, McCullers, Javier, Urquidy OR Garcia, Pressly, Montero, Stanek, Neris, Abreu, Will Smith, Hunter Brown OR Phil Maton.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome