College Basketball Roundup

Houston and Texas Tech both dominant, battling for seeding

Chris Beard and Tech look mean again. Sarah Stier/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (15-12) 7-7 Big XII

Last week (0-1):
L- @ Oklahoma 69-67

This week: Wednesday @ Baylor, Saturday vs. Iowa State

Texas lost a close one in Norman, 69-67 to Oklahoma over the weekend. The Horns played without leading scorer Kerwin Roach, who was suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Texas had a chance to win the game, but Jamal Bieniemy blocked a last second 3-point attempt from Matt Coleman III. Jase Febres, who started for Roach, led the Horns in scoring and hit several key 3 pointers in the final moments. Texas showed some fight in the second half after being down 14 at the break. Roach is unlikely to play against Baylor, but Shaka Smart said he wouldn't rule out a return for Roach at some point this season. Texas has a road game at Baylor and a home date with Iowa State this week.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (12-14) 5-9 SEC

Last week (2-0): W- Alabama 65-56, W- @ Arkansas 87-80

This week: Tuesday @ LSU, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt

Texas A&M is arguably playing their best ball of the season. The Aggies came back from a 12-point second half deficit to beat Alabama, 65-56. Savion Flagg and Wendell Mitchell each had 18 points for the Aggies in the win. The difference in the game was made at the free throw line. A&M hit 15 of 16 from the line, while Alabama made just 4 of 7 free throws. The win gave the Aggies a season sweep of Bama. They followed that up with just their third road win of the season, 87-80 at Arkansas. Flagg led the way again with 22, and Mitchell added 20 more in the win. The Ags overcame an 18 turnover day with a strong day on the glass, out rebounding the Hogs by 10. Texas A&M gets LSU and Vanderbilt this week.

HOUSTON COUGARS (26-1) 13-1 American

Last week (1-0): W- South Florida 71-59

This week: Wednesday @ East Carolina, Saturday vs. UCF

The Cougars inched closer to the 2-line with a win over South Florida, 71-59. After a 12-2 run to start the game, USF drew within 1 with 4 minutes to go in the half, but the Cougars took over from there. DeJon Jarreau scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Cougars in the victory. The Coogs shot 47% from the field, and held the Bulls to just 31%. Houston enters the week with a one-game lead in the AAC, with East Carolina and UCF on deck this week.

RICE OWLS (11-17) 6-9 CUSA

Last week (1-0): W- @ UTEP 85-81 2OT

This week: Sunday vs. Middle Tennessee State

Rice has been a tough read this season. They were awful, then had a spurt of being pretty solid, then back to awful. The game against UTEP was no different, as the Owls trailed by as many as 19 in the first half, before rallying to force overtime, and then a second overtime before leaving with an 85-81 win over the Miners. The Owls hit 46% from 3-point range in the game. Junior Robert Martin led the Owls with 23 points and 13 rebounds. The Owls are resting until Sunday when they take on Middle Tennessee State at home.

BAYLOR BEARS (18-9) 9-5 Big XII

Last week (2-0): W- @ Iowa State 73-69, W- West Virginia 82-75

This week: Wednesday vs. Texas, Saturday @ Kansas State

Baylor needed a big week after losing 3 out of 4, and they got it. The Bears went 2-0, including an upset road win at Iowa State, 73-69. Jared Butler led the way for Baylor with 17 points. Makai Mason returned from his toe injury with 14 points, but on an inefficient 18 shots. The Bears dominated the glass, 44-28, including 19 offensive rebounds. Baylor followed that up with a closer than expected win over a pretty bad West Virginia team, 82-75. The Bears had a 16-5 run in the last 3 minutes to seal the comeback victory. Mario Kegler paced the Bears with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Mason struggled again, going 0-7 from the field in 33 minutes on the floor. Baylor will try to carry that momentum through to this week when they face Texas and Kansas State.


TCU HORNED FROGS (18-9) 6-8 Big XII

Last week (1-0):
W- Iowa State 75-72

This week: Tuesday @ West Virginia, Saturday vs. Texas Tech

Kouat Noi and Alex Robinson both had double doubles for TCU, who got a much needed win over Iowa State, 75-72. Noi, who previously missed the last two games, had 20 points and 12 rebounds in his return. Robinson had 12 points and 10 rebounds. JD Miller scored 17 and Desmond Bane scored 19 in a balanced scoring attack for the Frogs. TCU was helped by Iowa State's ineptitude from behind the arc, where the Cyclones shot just 2-20. The Frogs have West Virginia and Texas Tech on tap for this week.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (22-5) 10-4 Big XII

Last week (1-0): W- Kansas 91-62

This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday @ TCU

The defense showed up as usual, but the offense was amazing in Texas Tech's 91-62 win over Kansas this weekend. The Raiders were 61% from the field and an incredible 62% from 3-point range (16-26) in the blowout win. The game was never within a possession after the first 4 minutes of the game, and Tech had a 45-20 lead at halftime. Jarrett Culver was 10/21 from the field and had 26 points in the win. Texas Tech moved to 11th in the polls, and has games against Oklahoma State and TCU on tap for this week.


SMU MUSTANGS (13-13) 5-9 American

Last week (1-1):
W- Connecticut 77-59, L- @ UCF 95-48

This week: Wednesday vs. Cincinnati, Sunday vs. Wichita

Mixed bag of results for the Mustangs last week. Things started out well enough, with a 77-59 blowout win over Connecticut. SMU had lost five straight and 7 of 8, with their only win coming against lowly Tulane before the UConn win. Jahmal McMurray led the way for the Ponies with 25 points in the win. The defense was also sharp, as they held the Huskies to just 31% from the field. Things took a drastic turn for the worse on the road, where the Mustangs were obliterated by UCF, 95-48. The Mustangs had no answer for Tacko Fall, who had 23 points and 20 rebounds for the Golden Knights. SMU didn't have anyone in double digit scoring, as Ethan Chargois led them with 9 points. The Mustangs get Cincinnati and Wichita at home this week.

LSU TIGERS (22-5) 12-2 SEC

Last week (1-1):
L- Florida 82-77, W- Tennessee 82-80

This week: Tuesday vs. Texas A&M, Saturday @ Alabama

LSU had a frustrating home loss to Florida, 82-77 to start the week. The Tigers gave up 15 offensive rebounds, a department they usually dominate. The other downfall came at the free throw line, where the usually sure shooting Tigers shot just 64%. Tremont Waters shot just 3-12 for LSU, who were paced by Skylar Mays' 18 points in defeat. LSU followed it up with an improbable 82-80 win over Tennessee. Javonte Smart hit two free throws with .6 seconds left to cap a career-high 29 point night. Mays added 23 points on a night where leading scorer Waters sat out with an illness and 3rd leading scorer Nad Reid scored just 1 point. The Tigers now have 2 top-5 wins in the last 10 days. 13th ranked LSU gets Texas A&M and Alabama this week.

With 3 division winners and a recent championship they should be near the top

Is Houston the top pro sports city in the nation?

Getty Images
Astros World Series photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's a great time to be a Houston sports fan. Sure there are always going to be teams and situations that could be better, like the Texans offensive line, but overall it could be a whole lot worse. All 3 of H-town's major sports properties are sitting pretty in their current situation. The Texans, Rockets, and Astros all currently stand as the reigning division winner in their given league and all have a legitimate shot to compete for a championship. OK, realistically two of them do and the third has the makings of a playoff team that could get to that elite status if they draft properly and make a late addition or two. Let's take a look at the squads in the space city and how they stack up with other metropolitan areas of the United States.

Jose Altuve has a 3 home run game against the Red Sox in game one of the ALDS. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Astros are the easiest team on this list to talk about. All they do is win in the last few years including bringing the city its first-ever World Series title just two short years ago. The team never seems to rest on the success of the past and has loaded up and locked down key players to assure that they will be in the hunt for another title this October and be on the scene in the postseason for years to come. Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane used savvy transactions and the financial commitment necessary to keep the good players the had like George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa and then went out and made moves to get big names like Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Michael Brantly.

A.J. Hinch and Roberto Osuna Bob Levey/Getty Images

They also took chances and ran the risk of losing the luster on all their sparkling success by trading for a much-needed closer in Roberto Osuna who was facing serious legal issues in Toronto. They did their due diligence and plenty of homework to believe he would be cleared of all charges eventually and made the surprising and controversial trade that helped to re-shape their bullpen. Along with Ryan Pressly, another late-season trade acquisition last season, the Astros quickly turned their biggest weakness into another position of strength. Houston, you have a world class baseball team and the organization to keep it that way for years to come.

Hakeem Olajuwon playing for the Houston Rockets in 1993 Photo by Tim DeFrisco/ALLSPORT/Getty Images

The Rockets are a team that can never be questioned when it comes to going for it and chasing championships. When you think back on it, ever since the back-to-back championships in the mid-nineties the team has always aggressively pursued big names like Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard. It hasn't always worked out for them in terms of winning it all, but it always gave them a shot and made them a team to watch nationally.

Chris Paul and James Harden

Things are going well when Paul and Harden are both healthy. Tim Warren/Getty Images

When GM Daryl Morey traded for James Harden and later acquired Chris Paul, it assured the city that they would have one of the top teams in the NBA and a roster equipped to compete with the best in the league, mainly the Golden State Warriors. We all know that if Paul doesn't pull a hamstring last season in the Western Conference Finals we may very well be talking about another title team in our fair city. After a rough start and some missteps with the roster and replacing players lost in free agency, the team has re-tooled and most importantly is healthy heading into another playoff run. With Boogie Cousins going down for the Warriors, this could be the year that the Rockets take down the champs.

Houston Texans Bill O'Brien It's time for a change Kirby Drive. Houston Texans/Facebook

The Texans are the lowest sitting team on the city's list of success stories but not without accomplishments along the way. If the biggest knock on your favorite football team is that it wins its division and then fades away in the postseason, it could be a lot worse. In the past five years, they have had a team that most experts gave a legitimate chance to upset the New England Patriots and represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. We all know how that turned out as the Pats did what they always do when the stage is bigger and the stakes higher. Since then they have managed to win more than they have lost and done what they needed to do to win the division and at the very least, give themselves a chance to compete for a Lombardi trophy. Even last year when it looked like all hope was lost after a horrendous 0-3 start, the team manufactured nine straight wins to secure another playoff birth and the division title. In the process, they were a national story as they broke the record for most consecutive wins after losing their first three contests to start a season.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Sure it ended prematurely and in disappointment, but not without another successful year and not without providing hope that they will be back if they can improve their offensive line and defensive secondary. The draft is right around the corner and GM Brian Gaine has his hands full and a whole lot of eyes on him and his every move as the team gets prepared to defend one title and compete for another. As long as they have thier franchise quarterback thay will always have a chance.

In looking at the big picture and comparing cities across the nation in their current sporting state, there are not many metro areas that can say they are better than Houston and their 3 teams. Boston is probably the one cut and dried town that can boast better numbers and accomplishments than H-town. The Patriots are a dynasty coming off yet another Super Bowl victory, the Red Sox are the reigning World Series champs and the Celtics made the conference finals last year and are a top 4 seed in this year's playoffs. That's pretty tough to beat. Other than that, there are a whole lot of slight seconds and runners up, starting with the Bayou city. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have blatant shortcomings and can't compete. That in itself is worth celebrating. So enjoy the ride H-town, from a sporting perspective, life is good!

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