College basketball week in review

Texas in a tailspin; LSU and Baylor surging this week

Shaka Smart and Texas are fading fast. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (11-9) 3-4 Big XII

Last week (0-2):
L- @ TCU 65-61, L- @ Georgia 98-88

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

Texas' tournament chances are fading. They lost both of their games this week, and have now lost five of their last six games. They started off with a 65-61 loss at TCU. Texas actually kept pace with the Frogs from a shooting standpoint (46.1%-45.6%) but lost the turnover and rebounding battles. The Horns hung in the game until late, but missed a desperation 3-point attempt with a chance to tie after the Frogs used their fouls to give to disrupt the Texas offense. Kerwin Roach III led the Horns with 15 points in the loss. Things went from bad to worse against Georgia, with the Dawgs taking down Texas 98-88 in the Big XII-SEC Challenge. The Bulldogs had their way from the field, shooting 67% from the field and 71% from 3-point range. Texas forced 26 turnovers, but the hot shooting of Georgia prevented them from taking advantage of it. Courtney Ramey scored 19 points to lead Texas in the loss. Things don't get much easier this week for Shaka Smart's team, with Kansas and a road trip to Iowa State on the schedule.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (8-10) 1-5 SEC

Last week (1-1): L- @ Florida 81-72, W- Kansas State 65-53

This week: Wednesday vs. LSU, Saturday vs. Tennessee

Odd week for the Aggies. First, they dropped an 81-72 battle to Florida, dropping them to 1-5 in SEC play. Florida killed the Aggies from outside, shooting 18-37 from distance. The Aggies led for a long portion of the game, from the middle of the first half to the middle of the second half, but finally gave up the lead for good with about nine minutes to play. Wendell Mitchell scored 25 points to lead the Aggies in the loss. Texas A&M then got their best win of the season, and their first win over a likely tournament team, beating Kansas State 65-53. The Aggies trailed by four at halftime, but dominated the second half. Wendell Mitchell scored 22 to lead the Aggies, and all of them came after halftime. The Aggies used a zone-heavy defensive scheme, and it paid dividends, as the Wildcats shot just 33% from the field and 23% from 3-point range. The Aggies have tough matchups this week against LSU and the No. 1 team in the country, Tennessee.

HOUSTON COUGARS (20-1) 7-1 American

Last week (2-0): W- East Carolina 94-50, W- @ Tulsa 77-65

This week: Thursday vs. Temple

Houston continues to roll through AAC competition. They got a dominant win over East Carolina, 94-50. Armoni Brooks led the Cougars with 17 points, but it was a balanced attack from UH. Twelve players saw minutes in the blowout win, with 10 of them logging points. The Coogs dominated on the boards, 47-22 and at the 3-point line, 67% to 9%. Houston then went on the road, and got an impressive road win over an underrated Tulsa team, 77-65. Brooks again led the way for the Coogs, scoring 22 points, including six 3-pointers. The rebounding difference again told the story, with the Coogs grabbing 49 boards to Tulsa's 24. Houston became the first team in the country to hit the 20 win mark. The 2-0 week bumped the Cougars to 13 in the latest polls. UH has just one game this week, a home game with Temple that will give them the opportunity to avenge their lone loss of the season.

RICE OWLS (8-13) 3-5 CUSA

Last week (1-1): W- Middle Tennessee 72-68, L- UAB 89-86

This week: Thursday @ Charlotte, Saturday @ Old Dominion

It's hard to say that Rice is having a solid season, but they are definitely better than expected. The Owls got their eighth win of the season last week, 72-68 over Middle Tennessee, surpassing their 2017-18 win total. Chris Mullins had 19 and Trey Murphy put up 18 in the win. The two combined to go 7-of-12 from deep. The Owls trailed by four at halftime, but controlled the second half on their way to an easy win. They followed it up with a tough loss, 89-86 against UAB. Murphy put up 24 points in the losing effort. Rice shot the ball well (52%) but the difference came in the turnover department, where the Blazers bested the Owls 13-3. The Owls have a good shot at another win this week, with a road game at CUSA bottom-feeding Charlotte before heading to Old Dominion.

BAYLOR BEARS (14-6) 5-2 Big XII

Last week (2-0):
W- Alabama 73-68, W- @ Oklahoma 77-47

This week: Saturday vs. Alabama, Sunday @ Oklahoma

Baylor played their role in helping the Big XII win the Big XII/SEC Showdown with a 73-68 win over Alabama. Sophomore Mario Kegler led the way with 17 points in the victory. Statistically, the teams were even for the most part. Baylor used a slight edge in rebounding and turnover margin to seal the win. There wasn't anything even about Baylor's matchup with Oklahoma. The Bears trounced the Sooners, 77-47. The Sooners last lead was at 9-8, and Baylor went on to dominate on both ends. The Bears shot 54% from the field, compared to Oklahoma's 27%. Baylor dominated in basically every statistical metric. Makai Mason led the Bears with 12 points in the win. Baylor gets TCU at home on Saturday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (15-5) 3-4 Big XII

Last week (2-1):
W- Texas 65-61, W- Florida 55-50, L- @ Texas Tech 84-65

This week: Saturday @ Baylor

TCU started the week strong, with a 65-61 win over Texas. Kouat Noi had missed the previous game with an illness, but showed no signs of it against the Horns, posting 15 points and 11 rebounds in his first career double-double. Desmond Bane led the Frogs with 17 points. TCU was +9 in rebounding, and was able to hold off a late Texas charge to take home the win. They followed that up with a non-conference win over a solid Florida team, 55-50. Noi was big again, this time leading the Frogs with 22 points. Again the Frogs dominated the glass, with a 45-33 rebounding advantage. Things didn't go as smoothly on the road, as TCU got smashed by Texas Tech in Lubbock, 84-65. Noi played well again, with 17 points, but TCU lost the rebounding battle and turned it over nearly twice as many times as the Raiders. TCU has an important road game against Baylor on Saturday.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (17-4) 5-3 Big XII

Last week (2-1): L- @ Kansas State 58-45, W- Arkansas 67-64, W- TCU 84-65

This week: Saturday @ Kansas, Monday vs. West Virginia

Texas Tech started off the week with their third straight loss, 58-45 to Kansas State. Tech got a taste of its own medicine, as the Wildcats held the Raiders to just 33% from the field. Jarrett Culver had 17 and Tariq Owens added 12 to lead Tech, but no other Red Raider scored more than 6 points in the loss. They righted the ship against Arkansas, taking a 67-64 victory at home. The Raiders got their shooting percentage back up to 51%, and Davide Moretti led the way with 21 points in the victory. Tech lost the turnover battle, a rarity this season, but overcame it with hot shooting from outside, hitting 10-of-19 from long range. The Red Raiders stepped on the gas against TCU, drubbing the Frogs 84-65. Culver and Matt Mooney both had 18 points in the win, and Owens added 17. The Raiders handled the ball well all night, dishing out 20 assists and committing only seven turnovers. Tech has a road trip to Kansas and a home tilt against West Virginia in the next week. They currently sit at 16th in the poll.

SMU MUSTANGS (12-7) 4-3 American

Last week (1-0):
W-Tulane 85-75

This week: Wednesday @ Wichita State, Saturday @ Cincinnati

SMU rebounded from back to back losses last week with an 85-75 win over Tulane. This was a back and forth game for the most part, but a 9-0 run gave the Mustangs enough juice to pull ahead and stay ahead, taking the season sweep over the Green Wave. The Mustangs forced 16 turnovers, and only gave it back nine times. Jahmal McMurray led the Mustangs with 29 points. Isiaha Mike went 5-of-5 from 3-point range to help him to 20 points. SMU hits the road this week against a struggling Wichita State team and a strong Cincinnati squad.

LSU TIGERS (16-3) 6-0 SEC

Last week (2-0):
W- Georgia 92-82, W- @ Mizzou 86-80 (OT)

This week: Wednesday @ Texas A&M, Saturday vs. Arkansas

LSU continued to roll through the SEC with another 2-win week. The Tigers got a 92-82 win over Georgia in a game that saw Tremont Waters break out. Waters was 9-of-14 from the field and had 26 points to go along with four assists and four steals. Skylar Mays added 20 points in the win. Mays came up even bigger against Mizzou, leading them to an 86-80 overtime win. Mays scored 11 of his 24 points with under three minutes to go in regulation. The Tigers were down by 14 points with just over two minutes to play, and were able to roar back and force overtime. LSU dominated in overtime to get a six-point win. Ja'Vante Smart and Nad Reid each added 14 in the win. The Tigers jumped from 25 to 19 in the latest polls. They get Texas A&M and Arkansas 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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