College basketball week in review

Houston gets back on track, Texas Tech stumbles

Kelvin Sampson and the Coogs had a big week. UHCougars.com

TEXAS LONGHORNS (11-7) 3-3 Big XII

Last week (1-0):
W- Oklahoma 75-72

This week: Wednesday @ TCU, Saturday @ Georgia

Texas finally won a close game, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Horns pulled out a 75-72 win over their biggest rival, Oklahoma, ending a 3-game losing streak. Kerwin Roach II led the Horns offensively with 23 points on 9-16 shooting. It was a balanced offensive effort, with Texas also getting 15 points each from Jaxson Hayes, Dylan Osetkowski and Matt Coleman III. Texas struggled from 3-point range, going 5-of-22, but made up for it with a 20-of-25 showing at the free throw line. Texas has a road game against TCU on Wednesday and a non-conference test at Georgia on Saturday.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (7-9) 1-4 SEC

Last week (0-2): L- Auburn 85-66, W- Mizzou 66-43

This week: Tuesday @ Florida, Saturday vs. Kansas State

Texas A&M is getting to the point of panic. If they aren't they should be. The Aggies now find themselves the only team in the SEC with a sub-.500 record. In a conference that will probably put 5-6 teams in the tournament, the Aggies need to go on a tear. This week showed no signs of a turnaround. The Aggies started with a loss to Auburn, 85-66. Auburn jumped out to an early lead and never slowed down. The Ags shot 38% from the field and just 29% from 3-point range. Sauvion Flagg and Wendell Mitchell were the only real bright spots offensively. They combined for 44 of the 66 Aggie points, putting in 22 a piece. Auburn dominated turnovers, rebounding and had a 27-5 advantage in points off the bench. Things go no better against Mizzou, where the Aggies lost 66-43. The 43 points scored is the lowest Aggie total of the season by 21 points. They had only 13 made field goals in the entire game, shooting at a 26% clip. Josh Nebo led the Aggies with 12 points, and was the only player who made more shots than he missed in the game. A&M goes to Florida before getting a weekend matchup at home against former Big XII counterpart Kansas State.

HOUSTON COUGARS (18-1) 5-1 American

Last week (2-0): W- @ SMU 69-58, W- @ USF 69-60

This week: Wednesday vs. East Carolina, Sunday @ Tulsa

Houston got two road wins this week, and were moved up to 17th in the polls for their effort. They started with a 69-58 win at SMU, in a game many thought could be a tricky one for the Coogs. Houston handled SMU's big, athletic backcourt with relative ease. They held Jahmal McMurray to just 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Corey Davis, Jr. paced the Cougars with 20 points in the win. UH only turned the ball over four times in the game. They then took a 69-60 win over South Florida, though the Cougars wouldn't be quite as efficient in this one. Houston turned it over 16 times and shot just 3-of-13 from the 3-point line, but were able to hold on for an ugly win. Breaon Brady led the Cougars with 13 points. The two teams combined for 76 free throw attempts on the day. Houston should stay hot this week, with games against East Carolina and Tulsa, both teams in the bottom half of the conference.

RICE OWLS (7-12) 2-4 CUSA

Last week (0-1): L- @ North Texas 76-75

This week: Thursday vs. Middle Tennessee, Saturday vs. UAB

Rice was seconds away from getting their biggest win of the season, but fell just short, dropping a 76-75 tilt with North Texas. The Owls had a 16 point lead with seven minutes remaining, but the Mean Green were able to mount a miraculous comeback and sink the game winner as time expired. The Owls outshot and out-rebounded the Green, but their 18 turnovers proved costly. Senior Jack Murphy led the Owls with 20, and freshman Trey Murphy added 18 in the loss. After a disastrous start to the season, the Owls are playing better of late. They have two wins and two 1-point losses in their last 5 games. Rice gets two home games this week, against Middle Tennessee and UAB.

BAYLOR BEARS (12-6) 4-2 Big XII

Last week (2-0): W- Texas Tech 73-62, W- @ WVU 85-73

This week: Saturday vs. Alabama, Sunday @ Oklahoma

Baylor got a huge win over Texas Tech, 73-62, showing that there is still life in this team. Top freshman recruit Jared Butler came up big for Baylor in the win, dropping 19 points while racking up 5 assists and 3 steals. While Baylor shot only 41% from the field, they found some success from 3-point range, knocking down 11 shots from distance. The Bears then got an 85-73 win over West Virginia on Monday night. Makai Mason was a force, scoring 29 points on 10-16 shooting. The Bears shot 50% from the field. They overcame an 18 turnover night with a particularly strong showing on the boards, with a +10 rebounding advantage. The Bears get a road game at Oklahoma and a home game with TCU this week.

TCU HORNED FROGS (13-4) 2-3 Big XII

Last week (1-1):
W- West Virginia 98-67, L- @ Kansas State 65-55

This week: Wednesday vs. Texas, Saturday vs. Florida

TCU was up and down last week. They started off well, breaking a 2-game losing skid with a blowout win over West Virginia, 98-67. Desmond Bane dominated, posting a 26 point, eight rebound line. The biggest difference between the two teams was behind the 3-point line, where TCU shot 43% and held West Virginia to 17%. Of the eight Horned Frogs who played in the game, six of them reached double digit scoring. Things took a turn for the worse on the road, where TCU dropped a 65-55 decision to Kansas State. Alex Robinson had 17 in the loss, and Bane added 16 more. The 3-pointers didn't fall for TCU in this one, hitting just 6 of 24 from deep. Turnovers also killed the frogs, who gave it away 18 times on the night. TCU gets home games against Texas and Florida this week.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (15-3) 4-2 Big XII

Last week (0-2): L Iowa State 68-64, L- @ Baylor 73-62

This week: Tuesday @ Kansas State, Saturday vs. Arkansas

Texas Tech is going to have to prove they can bounce back from adversity, as they are facing it for the first time this season after back to back losses. First, they dropped a nail biter against Iowa State 68-64 at home. Jarrett Culver was the high man for Tech, posting a 20 point/16 rebound line, but shot just 33% from the field and had five turnovers. In such a close game, free throw shooting cost the Raiders. They hit only 6 of their 15 freebies, while the Cyclones hit 13 of 19. Things went from bad to worse against Baylor, who beat the Raiders 73-62. Culver led Tech again with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists. On the downside, he turned the ball over seven times. Tech will look to get back on track, but have a tough road game at Kansas State before getting Arkansas at home.

SMU MUSTANGS (11-7) 3-3 American

Last week (0-2):
L- Houston 69-58, L- @ Memphis 83-61

This week: Saturday vs. Tulane

SMU got a massive game from Jimmy Whitt, Jr. against Houston, but it wasn't enough to pull out a win. Despite 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, the Mustangs fell to Houston 69-58. The Ponies struggled from distance, hitting just 21% from long range. Things got worse on the road, where Memphis throttled SMU 83-61. SMU trailed wire to wire, and it was easy to understand why. The Ponies shot just 36% and had 21 turnovers in the loss. Whitt's 12 points led the Mustangs in their most lopsided loss of the season. SMU has now dropped three of their last four. They get Tulane at home on Saturday.

LSU TIGERS (14-3) 4-0 SEC

Last week (2-0):
W- @ Ole Miss 83-69, W- South Carolina 89-67

This week: Wednesday vs. Georgia, Saturday @ Mizzou

LSU is really rounding into form since conference play started. They started the week with an 83-69 drubbing at Ole Miss. The Tigers had 4 players in double digits, led by Tremont Waters' 20 points. LSU was on fire from distance, going 9-19 from 3. The Tigers then rolled on to an 89-67 win against South Carolina. The 3-point shooting couldn't have been much worse in this one, with the Tigers hitting one 3-19 from deep. They made up for it at the free throw line (32 of 35) and on the boards, where they had a 49-29 advantage. LSU is one of only 2 SEC teams (Tennessee) who have yet to lose a game in conference. LSU gets Georgia and Mizzou this week.

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12. RICE

They did it, they actually did it! They beat someone, a Division I program at that, and even better an in conference rival. This is great news for the Rice Owls, and just as much for Mike Bloomgren who has to feel a massive weight come off his shoulders for getting a win this year. He needs one more to tie last year's win record and two more with two games left to show progress. Wow this program has a long way to go, remember a few years back when they were conference champs with 10 wins? I know it was a while back now but man, this program is thrilled to a get a win right now and there was a time not too long ago when they were one of the better teams in this conference. They host The Mean Green this week and they need to win out if they want to show growth from last year.

11. UTEP


UTEP lost to the UAB Blazers and now are on the road to New Mexico State University. Rice won so the pressure is officially on. Previously a loss to Rice next week meant only a tie for worst team in Texas but now a loss would actually make The Miners the 12th worst team in Texas. Someone please have some pride and play to win that game next week. And this week too, please, seriously.

10. NORTH TEXAS

If there was ever a team to have on the schedule post a bad loss then a bye week on a schedule it would be Rice University, right? You would take Rice as one of the worst teams in the country this year and you'd say yes right away if someone offered you them on a silver platter. Like if the waiter brought the wrong dish to your table but it looked better is how excited you would be to see Rice on the schedule after the last few weeks, EXCEPT, Rice just won their first game of the year and may be feeling themselves a little bit.

9. TEXAS STATE

Troy crushing Texas State is a massive blow to the season for The Bobcats. It probably isn't going to get much better as they face Appalachian State Mountaineers who are ranked No. 24 right now and are looking to keep on winning. All of the losing is why they dropped down to ninth place and there's probably going to be a little more dropping before it's all said and done.

8. UTSA

The Roadrunners need to stay focused and just keep an eye on the goal of finishing strong and not quitting on this year. Florida Atlantic comes to town and they are looking to rub salt into any wounds UTSA brings into this game.

7. TEXAS TECH

In a stunning loss to TCU, Texas Tech was yet again close to winning a big game but this time late in the fourth quarter gave up the lead. This will be the season that got away and should be both a statement of perseverance and "almost." Football is a game of inches and Al Pacino speeches and this is just another example of that. Imagine the scenario where Tech won those close games Baylor, Kansas and TCU, where would they be both nationally and here on this list? Tough to say. Kansas State comes to town and the close calls are likely to continue.

6. HOUSTON

Memphis put a hurting on Houston and it was a bad one. Memphis came to town and did what a lot of teams have done this year, punched Houston in the mouth and they failed to respond in any real way. The losses are piling up and now Houston is going on the road to visit the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. They are likely to lose this game being on the road against a team that's about as good as they are, so The Cougars are struggling.

5. TCU

A close win is better than a close loss and TCU came out of Lubbock with a close win. With three different loss differentials being a touchdown or less, TCU's whole season much like Tech's will be measured by the close losses rather than the wins. But you can't go backwards and TCU has to travel to Oklahoma and find a way to win if they want to stay bowl eligible.

4. TEXAS

Texas is now officially in trouble. They've lost all kinds of games they shouldn't have and now are going to Baylor after losing to Iowa State University. It's hard to imagine a scenario where this team pulls it together and actually beats Baylor, but they need to. They need to get it together and start playing good football or they'll go into next weekend.

3. TEXAS A&M

Coming off a great win against South Carolina, Texas A&M now tries its hat in the role of spoiler as they travel to Georgia and try and ruin the Bulldogs season. Ultimately there's a real chance they could pull off a sneaky win here and derail Georgia's shot at an SEC championship game but it isn't the best bet in the world. A&M has struggled this year in big games having lost to Clemson, Alabama and Auburn.

2. SMU

The Mustangs were in the stables this week with a bye but it gave the President of the AAC time to complain that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has undervalued his entire conference since it was created. He's right, they have been undervalued but not by enough to whine about it and not by enough to actually make a stink. A few weeks ago I was feeling bad about having A&M as low as I did because yes they were losing but they were playing better teams and I looked up all the rankings, strengths of schedules etc. The fact is simply this, SMU doesn't play the kind of competition that A&M did and even though they were winning, they weren't beating anyone of merit. They still haven't and there's no getting around that really. However this week they go to Navy and they need to win to even stay ranked.

1. BAYLOR

They had been playing close games and coming out on top and usually that makes a team happy to get a big lead, and usually a team that's been winning and gets a big lead knows what to do with it and usually a team in a must win knows they can't mess up. All of that being said, they were up early, they were up big and they blew it. There's no getting around it, this kills any chance of back dooring the playoffs, with wins over Oklahoma and then hypothetically beating Texas this week would have made Baylor a real force with only a few weeks left on the whole thing. Instead they let Oklahoma post a record comeback and then when it's all said and done they have Texas this week. The season is slipping through their fingers like sand in an hourglass.

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