College Basketball Roundup

Houston and Texas Tech both dominant, battling for seeding

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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Allen had high praise for Diggs. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images.

Impersonal as it might seem to have their dynamic on-field relationship end with an exchange of phone texts, Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it clear on Thursday how much receiver Stefon Diggs meant to him during their four seasons together in Buffalo.

Allen made no mention of Diggs’ mercurial temperament or the occasional sideline flare-ups by expressing only praise in his first opportunity to discuss his now-former teammate being traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month.

“Just thanking him for everything that he did for me, and (I’ll) always have a spot in my heart for him. I’ll always love that guy like a brother. And I wish him nothing but the best,” Allen said, in disclosing what he texted to Diggs. “My lasting memory of Stef will be the receiver that helped me become the quarterback that I am today.”

Brought together in March 2020, when Buffalo gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, the duo went on to re-write many of Buffalo's single-season passing and scoring records, and lead the team to four straight AFC East titles.

Diggs, now 30, also brought an inescapable sense of drama with him in raising questions about his commitment to the Bills and whether his tight relationship with Allen had soured.

A day before being traded, Diggs posted a message, “You sure?” on the social media platform X in response to someone suggesting he wasn’t essential to Allen’s success.

Whatever hard feelings, if any, lingered as Buffalo opened its voluntary workout sessions this week were not apparent from Allen or coach Sean McDermott, who also addressed reporters for the first time since Diggs was traded.

“Stef’s a great player, really enjoyed our time together. Won a lot of games and he was a huge factor in winning those games. We’ll miss him,” McDermott said. “You never replace a player like Stef Diggs, and we wish him well.”

Allen turned his focus to the future and a Bills team that spent much of the offseason retooling an aging and expensive roster.

Aside from trading Diggs, salary cap restrictions led to Buffalo cutting respected center Mitch Morse, the breakup of a veteran secondary that had been together since 2017, and the team unable to afford re-signing No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis.

“I don’t think it’s a wrong thing or a bad thing to get younger,” said Allen, entering his seventh NFL season. “I think it’s an opportunity for myself to grow as a leader. And to bring along some of these young guys and new guys that we’ve brought in to our team. And that’s an opportunity, frankly, that I’m very excited about."

Despite the departures, the Bills offense is not exactly lacking even though general manager Brandon Beane is expected to target selecting a receiver with his first pick — currently 28th overall — in the draft next week.

Receiver Khalil Shakir enters his third year and tight end Dalton Kincaid enter his second following promising seasons. Buffalo also added veteran experience in signing free agent receiver Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins.

While Beane acknowledged the Bills lack a true No. 1 receiver, he noted there’s less urgency to fill that spot now than in 2020 because of how much the offense has developed under Allen.

“Now that Josh has ascended to the player he is, is that a requirement? I don’t think so,” Beane said.

Diggs’ role also began diminishing in the second half of last season, which coincided with Joe Brady replacing Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator. Brady placed an emphasis on adding balance to a pass-heavy attack and getting more receivers involved, which led to an uptick in production for Shakir and Kincaid.

While Diggs’ numbers dropped, Buffalo’s win total increased.

With the Bills at 6-6, Diggs ranked third in the NFL with 83 catches, seventh with 969 yards and tied for third with eight TDs receiving. Buffalo then closed the season with five straight wins in which Diggs combined for 24 catches for 214 yards and no scores.

”(Diggs) meant a lot. You look at the statistics, they don’t lie,” Allen said, in referring to Diggs topping 100 catches and 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons in Buffalo. “I don’t get paid to make changes on the team. I get paid to be the best quarterback that I can be and try to lead the guys on this team.”

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