College Basketball Report: Week 7

The Baylor Bears extend their winning streak to eight while the Texas Longhorns drop an unexpected game to Providence

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TEXAS LONGHORNS (9-2)

Last week (0-1): L - Providence 70-48

This week: Monday vs High Point Panthers

The Texas Longhorns' five game-winning came to an unexpected end in a 70-48 defeat to the Providence Friars on Saturday. The Longhorns failed to score 50 points in the loss, as Providence held Texas to 31.7% shooting from the field, and an unpleasant 14.3 % from behind the arc β€” UT's lowest shooting percentages of the season.

Sophomore guard Courtney Ramey led the way for the Longhorns with 12 points, as Jase Febres added six points in 33 minutes. Following the loss, the Longhorns will return to action on Monday for a home showdown against the High Point Panthers.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (5-5)

Last week (1-0): W - Oregon State 64-49

This week: Monday vs. Texas Southern

The Texas A&M Aggies won their second consecutive game in a 64-49 victory over the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday. It was Deja VA for the Aggies as it was their second come from behind win after trailing at the half by 11. A&M outscored Oregon State 42-19 in the final 20 minutes while shooting 13-for-27 (48.1%) from the field.

Senior forward Josh Nebo led the Aggies in scoring with 15 points and seven rebounds in the win. With one game on the schedule, the Aggies will look to make it three straight wins on Monday when they take on the Texas Southern Tigers.

Houston Cougars (9-3)

Last week (3-0): W - UTEP 77-57, W - Portland 81-56, W - George Tech 70-59

This week: Wednesday vs. Washington

Following a loss against the OSU Cowboys, the Houston Cougars are currently riding a three-game win streak after a perfect 3-0 week. The Cougars picked up a 20 point victory over the UTEP Miners, a game in which Houston recorded a season-high 11 blocks β€” with big man Brison Gresham leading the way with a career-best six rejections.

Following the win, the Cougars hit the road to participate in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, where UH opened the tournament with back-to-back wins against Portland (81-56) and George Tech (70-59).

After going scoreless in the win against the Miners, Quentin Grimes has been on fire in Hawaii averaging 22.0 points on 64% shooting from the field. The Cougars will face off against the Washington Huskies for the tournament championship in a Christmas Day showdown.

RICE OWLS (8-4)

Last week (1-0): W - St. Thomas 103-70

This week: Sunday vs. Sam Houston

The Rice Owls took a wire-to-wire 33-point victory over the St. Thomas Celts on Thursday inside the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston. The Celts allowed 12 of the Owls 15 man roster to score, with Trey Murphy III leading the way with 21 points (8-14 FG, 5-10 3PT), 10 rebounds and a block.

Following the win, the Owls will return to Tudor Fieldhouse for a Sunday showdown against Sam Houston State.

BAYLOR BEARS (9-1)

Last week (1-0): W - Tennessee-Martin 91-63

This week: Monday vs. Jackson State

Following a one-point victory against the Butler Bulldogs, the Baylor Bears won a convincing 91-63 victory over the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks Wednesday night. While leading the Bears to a win, Jared Butler and Davion Mitchell each scored 19 points apiece, while sophomore guard Flo Thamba added 11 off the bench.

Win the win, Baylor has extended their winning streak to eight ahead of their home match against the Jackson State Jaguars on Monday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (8-3)

Last week (0-1): L - Xavier 67-59

This week: Monday vs George Mason

This game was the first meeting between TCU and Xavier since December of 1980, and it took the Musketeers nearly 40 years to seek their revenge.

After winning two games in a row, the Horned Frogs suffered a 67-59 loss to Xavier on Sunday. An enormous portion of TCU's defeat came due to the lack of production off their bench, as the Musketeers' second until outscored TCU 20-5 in bench points.

In addition to the lack of bench production, TCU gave up nine offensive rebounds that converted into 17 second-half points for Xavier. Following the loss, the Horned Frogs will return to action on Monday to face off against the George Mason Patriots.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (8-3)

Last week: (1-0) W - UTRGV 68-58

This week: Sunday vs. CSU Bakersfield

After a slow start to the game, the Texas Tech Red Raiders capitalized on a 42-point second-half performance to take a 68-58 victory over Texas–Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros on Saturday. With the win, the Red Raiders moved up one spot to No. 23 in the Associated Press Top 25 College Basketball rankings.

Freshman guard Jahmi'us Ramsey led the Red Raiders in scoring with 15 points (6-12 FG, 2-7 3PT), while his backcourt mate Terrence Shannon, Jr added in 14 points (5-9 FG, 4-4 FT) in the win. Following their third straight win in a row, Texas Tech will return to the court on Sunday for a showdown against the CSU Bakersfield.

SMU MUSTANGS (9-2)

Last week (1-1): L - Georgia 87-85, W - Georgia State 85-76

This week: No game schedule

The SMU Mustangs dropped their second consecutive game in an 87-85 double-overtime loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. SMU put up a good fight but was not enough to overcome Georgia's Sahvir Wheeler layup in the final two seconds of the game.

After the loss, the Mustangs bounced back with an 85-76 victory over Georgia State. Feron Hunt and Kendric Davis scored 18 points apiece, as SMU shot 52% from the floor.
With no games on the schedule, the Mustangs will return to the court on Wednesday, Jan. 1st in a conference showdown against USF.

LSU TIGERS (7-4)

Last week (0-2): L - East Tennessee 74-63, L- USC 70-68

This week: Sunday vs Liberty

After heading into their break on a four-game win streak, the LSU Tigers' winning ways came to a halt with a 74-63 loss to the East Tennessee State Buccaneers Wednesday night. In the loss, the Buccaneers won the battle of the board as they outrebounded the Tigers 40-29 and recorded 15 second-chance points.

Following the loss against East Tennessee State, The Tigers suffered a heartbreak 70-68 defeat to the USC Trojans on Saturday. Senior guard, Skylar Mays nearly carried LSU to a victory with a game-high 21 points (6-14 FG, 8-10 FT), to go along with six rebounds, three steals and a block in the loss.

In the midst of a two-game skid, the Tigers will return to the court on Sunday for a match against the Liberty Flames.

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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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