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.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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