College Basketball Report: Week 5

The Baylor Bears extend their winning streak to six, while the Texas A&M Aggies continue losing after a 10-point defeat to Texas

The Baylor Bears extend their winning streak to six, while the Texas A&M Aggies continue losing after a 10-point defeat to Texas
Are Buzz Williams and the Aggies No. 1?

TEXAS LONGHORNS (8-1)

Last week (2-0): W - UAB 67-57, W - Texas A&M 60-50

This week: Saturdayvs. Central Michigan

The Texas Longhorns continued their success with a perfect 2-0 record last week with wins against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (67-57) and Texas A&M (60-50). They won both games by a 10 point margin, with second-year guard, Andrew Jones, leading the way averaging 16.0 points on 52% shooting from the field, 57.1% shooting on made 3-point field goals.

In the midst of riding a four-game win streak, the Longhorns will return to the court on Saturday for a match against Central Michigan, inside the Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center in Austin.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (3-5)

Last week (0-1): L - Texas 60-50

This week: Sunday vs. A&M-Corpus Christi

Following a rough outing at the Orlando Invitational, the Texas A&M Aggies dropped their fourth consecutive game in a 60-50 loss to the Longhorns on Sunday. In the loss, A&M struggled to buy a basket from behind the arc as they shot 3-for-11 (27.3 %) in the game.

Buzz Williams and the Aggies will look to right the ship in a home match against the A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on Sunday.

HOUSTON COUGARS (5-2)

Last week (2-0): W - Texas State 68-60, South Carolina 76-56

This week: Wednesday vs. UT Arlington, Sunday Oklahoma State

The Houston Cougars has been on a roll as of late with back-to-back wins against the Texas State Bobcats (68-60) and the South Carolina Gamecocks (76-56). Quentin Grimes is on his way to his second AAC Player of the Week honor, after averaging 22.5 points on 44.1% shooting from the field and a sizzling 42.8% from deep.

After the win, the Cougars will return to Houston for a two-game homestand against UT Arlington on Wednesday and Oklahoma State on Sunday.

RICE OWLS (6-4)

Last week (1-0): L - Lamar 73-60

This week: Saturday vs. Houston Baptist

Senior guard Ako Adams and sophomore forward Drew Peterson scored a combined 34 points on Saturday, but was unable to come away victorious in a 73-60 loss to the Lamar Cardinals. The Owls had no answer for the Cardinals inside presence, as Lamar outscored Rice 32-12 in points in the paint.

Following the loss, the Rice Owls will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday, in a home against the winless (0-7) Houston Baptist Huskies.

BAYLOR BEARS (7-1)

Last week (2-0): W - Maryland-Eastern 78-46, W - Arizona Wildcats 63-58

This week: Tuesday vs. Butler

The sizzling continued their early-season success with wins against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (78-46) and the Arizona Wildcats (63-58). Their defensive presence played an immense role in the Bears' success last week, as they held the Shore Hawks and the Wildcats to a combined 26.7% shooting from the floor, 18.7% from deep, to go along with a total of 31 made field goals

Win the win, Baylor has extended their winning streak to six, ahead of their home match against the Butler Bulldogs on Tuesday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (6-2)

Last week (1-1): W - Illinois State 81-69, L - USC 80-78

This week: Wednesday vs Winthrop, Saturday vs Lamar

The TCU Men's Basketball team split their two games last week starting with an 81-69 victory over Illinois State. The Horned Frogs dropped their second game of the week in a two-point defeat to the USC Trojans. Behind a 17 point and 11 rebounds performance by forward Kevin Samuel, TCU nearly pulled off an incredible comeback after trailing by 18 early in the second half.

TCU will return to action on Wednesday to face off against Winthrop and Lamar on Saturday.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (5-3)

Last week: (0-1) L - Depaul 65-60

This week: Tuesday vs. Louisville, Monday vs. Southern Mississippi

Following a 5-0 start to the season, the Texas Tech Raiders are in a three-game skid following a 65-60 overtime loss to Depaul last Wednesday. The Red Raiders held a four-point led over the Blue Demons before Jalen Coleman-Lands took over late for Depaul with a clutch 3-point basket and free throws to ice the game.

Freshman guard, Terrence Shannon, Jr. scored a career-high 24 points on 9-for-18 (50%) shooting to go along with eight rebounds in the loss. Texas Tech will look to end their three-game losing streak on Tuesday against the Louisville Cardinals before taking on Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

SMU MUSTANGS (8-1)

Last week (1-1): W - Northwestern State 77-51, L - Georgetown 91-74

This week: No Games Scheduled

After starting the season with a perfect 8-0 record in a win over Northwestern State (77-51), The SMU Mustangs dropped their first game on the year in a 91-74 loss to the Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown proved to have too much firepower for the Mustangs with four players scoring in double figures for the Hoyas. With no games on the schedule, SMU will return to the floor on Tuesday, December 20th against the Georgia Bulldogs

LSU TIGERS (7-2)

Last week (2-0): W - New Orleans 90-54, W - Northwestern State 109-59

This week: Wednesday vs East Tennessee St.

The LSU Tigers proved to be too much for their competition-winning by an average margin of 43 points with wins over New Orleans (90-54) and Northwestern State (109-59). LSU will look to extend their winning streak to five on Wednesday in a home match against the East Tennessee St. The Tigers will continue their four-game homestand on Tuesday against New Orleans and Northwestern State on Sunday.

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The Astros host the Orioles on Friday night. Composite Getty Image.

Say it with me: The Astros aren’t dead yet. The Astros aren’t dead yet. The Astros aren’t dead yet! The odds favor them missing the postseason for the first time since 2016, but they definitely aren’t dead yet. Too much season left.

The Astros sure hope they hit their season standings rock bottom in falling 10 games back of Seattle in the American League West Tuesday. Two wins over the hapless White Sox later, coupled with two Mariner losses in Cleveland, and the deficit is eight going into the weekend. The Astros’ real race may be for a Wild Card. On that front they sit six games behind Minnesota, six and a half back of Kansas City. The Twins and Royals currently hold the second and third Wild Card slots. The Astros also trail Boston by five games.

The Astros’ season needs some positive jolts if it is not to slip away. A shot at one comes Friday night with pitcher Jake Bloss called up from Double-A Corpus Christi for his Major League debut. He is merely tasked with facing the best offense in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles visit Minute Maid Park this weekend. Bloss was the Astros’ third round draft pick last summer. He turns 23 on Sunday. He started well this season at High-A Asheville earning the move up to AA. As a Hook, Bloss was spectacular in posting a 1.61 earned run average over eight starts with a scant 19 hits allowed over 44 2/3 innings. Bloss gets the fast big league call out of necessity (with Justin Verlander on the injured list), because he excelled, and because the Astros have no significant pitching prospect knocking at the door from Triple-A Sugar Land. Not one guy in the Space Cowboys’ rotation has given up fewer hits than he has thrown innings. The Pacific Coast League is a hitters’ league, but that is a damning stat.

Blame game

With the Astros’ season a big fail to this point, it is the nature of the beast for some to call for the head(s) of Manager Joe Espada and/or General Manager Dana Brown. Espada has certainly not distinguished himself as some brilliant rookie skipper, but blaming numerous lackluster player performances on him is classic scapegoating. Brown is in his second season and does have a couple of stains on his early record, but the foremost task Brown was charged with at hire was rejuvenating the Astros’ weak farm system. It takes two or three draft classes to infuse some depth of young talent. If the Astros are sellers as the trade deadline approaches, selling is another avenue through which Brown tries to add good prospects.

Brown picked Bloss. Brown’s first first round pick was shortstop Brice Matthews who also recently earned promotion to Corpus Christi. If Jeremy Pena doesn’t show improvement, and if Matthews is fulfilling his potential, he could be challenging for the shortstop job by the end of next season. 2023 second round pick, pitcher Alonzo Tredwell, has been bad so far with the Low-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers.

Midsummer Classic

The first phase of All-Star balloting ends Thursday at 11AM Central Time. The Astros’ representation on the American League team is simple: three definites and one maybe. Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, and Yordan Alvarez all rightfully are poised to be elected starters. Altuve has to hold off the Rangers’ Marcus Semien, but at minimum will be added as a reserve. For Altuve it will be his ninth All-Star team, adding on to his franchise record after not making the team last year because he missed the first month and a half of the season with a broken thumb.

Tucker and Alvarez will both become three-time All-Stars. Neither has been voted a starter before. Even with the time he’s missing on the injured list, Tucker belongs in the outfield with the Yankees’ superstar combo of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto. Alvarez’s opportunity to win the vote at designated hitter opened up when Shohei Ohtani switched leagues in signing with the Dodgers.

Last year the Texas Rangers dominated the AL lineup with five starters. It was not an omen that they would go on to win the World Series. This year Arlington hosts the game at Globe Life Field, but Semien is the only Ranger anywhere close to the lead in the fan voting.

As for the one Astro All-Star maybe, that is Ronel Blanco. The 30-year-old has come out of nowhere to be the Astros’ ace, but he is not a lock. I don’t think his foreign substance suspension hurts much other than it factors into Blanco having pitched fewer innings than almost all other candidates. It’s a matter of math. A maximum of nine starting pitchers make the squad, there may only be eight taken. It’s not hard to name nine guys who could get the nod over Blanco, especially when you factor in that every team must be represented. Tyler Anderson is the most deserving Angel. Erick Fedde or Garret Crochet is the most deserving White Sox (Sock?). The Seattle Mariners have no deserving everyday player, though some might argue Cal Raleigh if three catchers are taken. The M’s are dominating the AL West on the back of stellar starting pitching. It’s hard to see no Mariner starter getting picked, although only Logan Gilbert at 2.93 has an earned run average within 0.50 of Blanco’s 2.43. Blanco has three more starts to strengthen his case before the staff is named July 7.

*Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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