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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STEELERS 28, TEXANS 21

5 observations from the Texans loss to the Steelers

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The Texans are 0-3 after at least putting up some fight before they were dominated in the second half in a 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh. It was once thing to get wasted by the Chiefs and Ravens, and the Steelers are better than them as well, but at some point you have to beat these teams. Three tries, three failures. And it was not as close as the score. They were outgained 387-260, out-first downed 25-13, out-possessed 36:51-23:09.

Here are five thoughts from the game:

1) Once again, Watson just wasn't good enough. We pointed out how Deshaun Watson had not been elite over his last 10 games. Make it 11. He was terrific in the first half, but the Steelers adjusted and shut him down in the second half. Watson threw a pick on third and long in the fourth quarter, but it really was not an awful play - he was trying to make something happen on a tough down. It essentially functioned as a short punt. But he did nothing the rest of the half. It did not help that they had no running game (see No. 2) and untimely penalties hurt as well, but the Texans need Watson to win games for them, and to do that, he needs to be great. He was 19 of 27 for 264 yards, two touchdowns, the pick and was sacked five times. Good. Not great. And not good enough.

2) The running game is a real problem on both sides of the ball. The Texans defense for the third week in a row could not stop the run, allowing 173 yards and an average of 4.9 per carry. Conversely, the Texans managed just 29 yards on 15 carries, a pathetic 1.9 per tote. You simply can't win football games like that.

3) This is what the defense will be. Don't laugh; the defense actually played OK - for what they are. This is a below average unit lacking talent at all levels. They did get two sacks, but for the most part they just aren't good enough to stop solid NFL offenses. They will have to get a few stops here and there and rely on their offense for the Texans to win games. (Of course, they can't really rely on the offense, can they?) They don't get turnovers, they don't stop the run, they con't cover well. The guys on the field are playing hard and OK for what they are, but this defense simply lacks any real difference makers other than J.J. Watt, who can be neutralized since he has no help.

4) Tight ends will always be a bane of this defense. The Steelers tight ends finished with eight catches including Eric Ebron's touchdown. The Texans have never been able to stop tight ends, other than a brief stretch when they had Tayshaun Gipson on the team last year. There really is no reason to complain about this, because it will never change.

5) Today's O'Brien blame goes to...O'Brien the GM. He did nothing to fix his defense in the off-season, and that unit isn't getting it down. Yes, we could also bring up his horrific offense, getting out-adjusted at halftime, but then that is O'Brien the coach. The GM gets the blame today.

The McNairs love him, so he will be fine, but any other coach/GM would be firmly on the hot seat.

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