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

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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These next six games will be very telling. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Houston has six games left in the 2022 regular season, two three-game series in which they need just one more win, or a Yankees loss, to secure the top seed for the AL side of the postseason bracket. They've accomplished what they set out to do over the 162-game drudge that is the regular season, so you're likely to see them use the opportunity to get some players off their feet in the remaining games.

Even so, having one of the best teams means that while putting out a lineup with some starters missing, they can still beat most teams on any given day. So then, what could that mean for the teams still vying for postseason spots or positioning in the remaining games?

Affecting the NL playoffs

It's a relatively sure bet that if they haven't locked up that top seed by the time they enter the final three games, they will before that last series is over. That means that when the Phillies come to Minute Maid Park to close out the season next week, Philadelphia will have much higher stakes in those games than Houston.

Under the expanded playoff format starting this season, the two best teams in each league receive a bye, while the remaining four teams square off in a Wild Card series, with all those games taking place at the better seed's stadium. That means teams will be very motivated to secure their best Wild Card positioning.

As of now, the Phillies hold just a half-game lead over the Brewers for the third and final Wild Card spot for the National League. Things could change this weekend, but whether they still lead or have fallen back and have ground to makeup, the games will matter to them against the Astros.

They also sit 2.5 games behind the Padres, meaning that Philadelphia could potentially be looking at a chance to jump into the second Wild Card spot. However, it's questionable if that's an envious position or not. With the juggernaut battle between the Mets and Braves coming down to the wire, with one team winning the NL East and a first-round bye and the other starting with home-field advantage in a Wild Card series, whoever gets the second Wild Card spot is going to be heading to face a really tough, and potentially angry, team on the road.

It will make things interesting for the Phillies when they face the Astros. They could be playing for their playoff lives or jockeying for position. Either way, the games will be meaningful.

Affecting the AL playoffs

There's a similar scenario at play for the American League side of things with the Astros' three-game series against the Rays this weekend. Just like the Phillies, the Rays enter the weekend holding on to the third and final spot in the AL Wild Card race.

Tampa Bay is only 0.5 games back of the Mariners for the second spot and two games back of the Blue Jays for the first Wild Card spot. Farther behind, the Orioles still have a chance for something crazy to happen, sitting five games behind.

So based on the result of their series with the Astros and how the other teams fare this weekend and in the final stretch of games, the Rays have a range of outcomes that could cause havoc in the AL bracket. They could end up taking the top Wild Card spot and hosting a series, traveling to face the Blue Jays, Mariners, or Guardians, or, less likely, missing the playoffs altogether.

This variance in positioning could have ramifications for the Astros directly in the ALDS round as well. The Astros are likely to be favored regardless of the three potential teams they face; however, some matchups would make things easier.

Houston went 2-4 against the Blue Jays this year and are currently up 3-0 on the Rays with the three games remaining in the season series. And while the Astros took the season series 12-7 against division-rival Seattle, that could give the Mariners all the more reason to be ultra-motivated for the ALDS if they faced the Astros.

So, while the Astros may not have any direct milestones to play for other than locking up their top seed, these remaining six games will have plenty of storylines and drama to follow for them and their opponent.

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