College Basketball Report Week 9: Conference play begins

The No. 4 Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars keep their winning streaks alive during the opening week of conference play

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TEXAS LONGHORNS (10-3), (0-1)

Last week (0-1): L - Baylor 59-44

This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma, Saturday vs. Kansas State

It was not the greatest offensive performance as both teams shot under 35.0% from the field, but the Texas Longhorns could not overcome their struggles with a 59-44 loss to the streaking No. 4 Baylor Bears to open their Big 12 Conference schedule. After shooting 34.6% from the field, and an unpleasant 18.8% from 3-point range, the Longhorns scored a season-low 44 points in Waco on Saturday.

Texas' junior forward, Jericho Sims, posted a double 13 points and tied a career-high with 15 rebounds, but UT still lost the battle of boards 48-35 and allowed 21 second-chance points to the Bears.

Following the loss, the Longhorns will look to right the ship on Wednesday, in a home match against Oklahoma before taking on Kansas State on Saturday.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (6-6), (0-1)

Last week (0-1): L - Arkansas 69-59

This week: Tuesday vs. Ole Miss, Saturday Vanderbilt

After riding a three-game win streak into the SEC Conference play on Saturday, the Texas A&M Aggies came up short in a 69-59 defeat to the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark.

It was a solid outing for freshman Andre Gordon in his first conference game, as the guard out of Ohio scored 15 points while shooting 58.3% from the field. He had some help for his frontcourt mate, Josh Nebo, who tallied his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.

Unfortunately, the Aggies' defense was a no-show, as four of the Razorbacks' starters scored in double digits, led by Isaish Joe who scored a game-high 17 points (6-14 FG, 5-12 3PT) in the win. Following a disappointing outing, the Aggies will return to their home floor on Tuesday for a match against Ole Miss before traveling to Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Houston Cougars (11-3), (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W - UCF 78-63

This week: Tuesday vs. Temple, Saturday vs. Tulsa

In their first game back following the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, the Houston Cougars opened their American Athletic Conference play with a 78-63 victory over the UCF Knights, Friday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston.

Sophomore guard Nate Hinton led the Cougars to their fifth straight win with 20 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and three assists — his seventh double-double of the season.

Houston will look to continue its hot streak against Temple on Tuesday prior to taking on Tulsa on Saturday. Both games will be on the road for the Cougars.

RICE OWLS (8-7), (0-2)

Last week (0-1): L - Marshall 89-69, L - Western KY 68-61

This week: Thursday vs. Florida Atlantic, Saturday FIU

The Rice Owls did not get off to a good start to open their CUSA Conference play in the past week. Following a 20-point defeat to the Marshall Thundering Herd, Rice dropped their second consecutive conference game in a seven-point loss to Western Kentucky.

Against the Hilltoppers, the Owls missed nine of their final 10 shots in the last five minutes, as Western Kentucky went on a 10-3 run to end out the game. After a slow start to the year, the Owls will look to end their three-game losing streak in a home match against the Florida Atlantic Owls on Thursday.

BAYLOR BEARS (11-1), (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W - Texas 83-57

This week: Tuesday vs. Texas Tech, Saturday Kansas

It was not the greatest offensive performance as both teams shot under 35.0% from the field, but the No. 4 Baylor Bears overcame their struggles to take a 59-44 win over the Texas Longhorns to open their Big 12 Conference schedule with a home victory.

Junior guard, Macio Teague, scored a game-high 21 points (5-16 FG, 9-9 FT) and six rebounds in the win, as Baylor won the battle of the boards 48-35 and tallied 21 second-chance points.

Following their 10th straight victory, the Bears will take their winning streak to Lubbock for a Texas Showdown against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Tuesday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (10-3), (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W - Iowa State 81-79

This week: Tuesday vs Kansas State, Saturday vs Oklahoma State

Winners of four out of their last five, the TCU Horned Frogs began their Big 12 Conference play with an 81-79 overtime thriller against the Iowa State Cyclones, Saturday night, inside the Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth.

RJ Nembhard proved to be too much for Iowa State, as the sophomore guard scored a career-best 31 points, which included a game-tying 3-point field goal with 1.7 seconds left in the game. In addition to Nembhard, Desmond Bane followed up his career performance with 16 points shooting 6-for-13 (46.1%) from the floor, 4-for-6 (66.0%) from deep.

Following the win, TCU will continue their conference play against Kansas State on Tuesday.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (10-3), (1-0)

Last week: (1-0) W - Oklahoma State 85-50

This week: Tuesday vs. No. 6 Baylor, Saturday vs. West Virginia

The Texans Tech Red Raiders won their fifth consecutive game in a convincing 85-50 victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday. Despite a mediocre performance from behind the arc (36.3% 3PT), the No. 22 Red Raiders stayed hot with their inside game, as Texas Tech shot 50.0% from the field and scored 28 points in the paint.

With four players scoring in double digits, star guard Jahmi'us Ramsey scored a game-high 18 points with Ty Holyfield adding in 17 points in the win.

Following the win, The Red Raiders will welcome the hot No. 6 Baylor Bears to their home floor on Tuesday, for a Texas Showdown inside the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, TX.

SMU MUSTANGS (11-2), (2-0)

Last week: (1-0) W - USF 82-64

This week: Wednesday vs. UCF, Saturday ECU

After opening the American Athletic Conference with an 18-point win over USF, the SMU Mustangs won their third straight game with a 92-81 overtime victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday.

It was a come from behind victory, as SMU erased a 15-point deficit with six minutes left in the second half. After two made 3-point field goals in the final nine seconds of regulation, the Mustangs outscored Vanderbilt 15-4 in overtime. With the Mustangs connecting on 10 of their 19 attempts from behind the arc, Kendric Davis led SMU in scoring with 24 points while shooting 8-for-15 (53.0%) from the field.

Up next, the Mustangs will look to keep UCF winless in conference play on Wednesday in a home match inside the Moody Coliseum in Dallas TX.

LSU TIGERS (9-4), (1-0)

Last week (1-0): W - Tennessee 78-64

This week: Wednesday vs Arkansas, Saturday Mississippi State

The LSU Tigers opened their SEC Conference schedule with a 78-64 win over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday. Sophomore guard, Javonte Smart, scored a game-high 21 points, while Skylar Mays added in an additional 17 points in the win.

Following the win, the Tigers will welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks to Baton Rouge to begin a two-game homestand that will end with Mississippi State on Saturday.

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After a short turnaround, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to their Mecca at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the famed Coca-Cola 600. Of all the races in NASCAR, after Daytona this race may be the most important race on the schedule. The tradition started back in 1959 when former driver and hall of famer Curtis Turner teamed up with Burton Smith to build the track and upon its completion, they decided to make the first race at the new track on the same day as the Indy 500. In an effort to draw fans, they made the race 100 miles longer and from there the rest was history. This year's rendition will be somber though as no fans will be permitted to enter due to Covid-19, but even in this time of unrest it will be a relief to continue to see our heroes take on NASCAR's longest race.

For the first time, NASCAR pulled off it's first midweek race and it was a doozy. For most of the race there was a wide range of characters who were up front. Clint Bowyer set the tone early as he went on to win the first two stages but after getting caught in traffic he fell back. To make matters worse, Bowyer was involved in an accident that ended any chance of victory. While it wasn't the outcome he would have hoped for, to see how well he ran is a sign of good things to come for the Kansas native. I look forward to seeing how he rebounds.

With Bowyer out of it, the attention shifted to Chase Elliott. All night it seemed like he had the second best car and looked to be on his way to another victory but after the caution for Bowyer, Elliott lost a ton of track position after a bad pit-stop. This left the sports most popular driver stuck in traffic, but he was able to make his way back to second. In the final laps, he was easily the best car and appeared to be on his way past Denny Hamlin to take the victory but Kyle Busch had other ideas. The defending champion made a sudden right hand turn and veered into Elliott sending him head on into the wall.

It was safe to say that Elliott was not pleased as he gave Busch the one finger salute as he drove by under caution. The race was not able to resume as Mother Nature intervened giving Hamlin his second win of the season. Many fans and experts alike were critical of Busch's stunt, Jeff Gordon was quoted as saying "Not sure what that was all about." When the race was over, Busch was confronted by Elliott's Crew Chief Alan Gufston. When it was said and done security had to be called to separate the two. While it might not have been intentional, Busch has opened up a can of worms in the future for retaliation. It will be fun to watch what happens next.

Overall, the response to NASCAR's midweek race was overwhelmingly positive as it was the third highest watched event on television. As NASCAR continues to be fluid, more and more people are becoming interested. NASCAR journalist and reporter Adam Stern tweeted that more than thirty percent of the viewers of Sunday's race were new viewers. Even though we may not always agree with the way NASCAR does things, I have to say they have done an outstanding job at putting this schedule together. I hope that in the future, NASCAR continues this new tradition.

Moving on to Charlotte, The driver I have winning this weekend is Chase Elliott. In every race this season, Chase has been a force to be reckoned but has simply run into circumstances he can't control. At Vegas before the shutdown, he seemed to have the race in hand until a flat tire ended any chances of victory. Two weeks later at Phoenix, he led ninety-three laps until fading to a seventh place finish and with a new-found fire lit under him after Darlington, Elliott will be like a bull in the china shop come Sunday. While he has been great at every track he has run at, he has been especially fast at Charlotte. He currently has a 10.60 average finish there and has consistently led laps. This week, I think Elliott will get redemption and claim his sixth career victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels. Look for him to take his #9 Napa Camaro to victory lane.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats)

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