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.

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!

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome