College Basketball Week In Review

Coogs move into top 10; Horns heating up

Shaka Smart and Texas got two big wins. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (14-10) 6-5 Big XII

Last week (2-0):
W- Baylor 84-72, W- @ West Virginia 75-53

This week: Tuesday vs. Kansas State, Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

Texas wrapped up a 2-0 week, and ESPN's Joe Lunardi placed them as a 9-seed in the latest "Bracketology" update. Texas started with an 84-72 win over Baylor, breaking a six-game winning streak for the Bears in that matchup. Texas got a great game out of Kerwin Roach II, who put up 21 in the victory. The whistles favored the Horns, who took 34 free throws compared to Baylor's 15. Dylan Osetkowski was the only Texas starter not in double digits, and he posted 9. The Horns followed that up with a 75-53 drubbing of West Virginia in Morgantown. Freshman Courtney Ramey led Texas with 19 points, but Shaka Smart was able to get minutes for 13 players in the blowout win. Texas shot 39% from 3-point range and held West Virginia to 19%. Texas will look to carry the momentum into this week, when they get Kansas State (whom they already beat in Manhattan) and cellar-dwelling Oklahoma State at home.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (8-12) 1-7 SEC

Last week (0-2):
L- @ Ole Miss 75-71, W- @ Mizzou 68-59

This week: Tuesday vs. Georgia, Saturday @ South Carolina

After suffering back to back blowout losses to LSU and Tennessee, the Aggies looked like they were on their way to a solid road win against Mississippi. After falling behind 19-6 early, A&M rallied and actually had a nine point lead in the second half. The Aggies couldn't hold on, though, and lost 71-75. The Aggies turned it over 18 times in the loss. Ole Miss was 18-19 from the free throw line, helping them to get back in the game. Wendell Mitchell scored 23 to pace A&M, but the rest of the Aggie starters combined for just eight points. Texas A&M did get its second conference win this week, and this time it was the Aggies playing catch-up. The Aggies were down 12 in the second half, but came back to beat Mizzou 68-59. Mitchell again led the charge with 20 points. The Aggies had nearly a double-digit edge in rebounding. Texas A&M has two winnable games this week, home against Georgia and a road game at South Carolina.

HOUSTON COUGARS (23-1) 10-1 American

Last week (2-0): W- @ UCF 77-68, W- Cincinnati 65-58

This week: Thursday @ UConn, Sunday @ Tulane

If you didn't take Houston seriously before last week, you basically have to now. They passed the two toughest conference tests to date with flying colors, and moved to ninth in the polls. Lunardi has the Coogs as a No. 3 seed right now. First, a 77-68 win on the road against Central Florida. The teams were pretty even in most statistics, but a nine rebound edge and a better percentage of free throws made sealed the win for UH. Corey Davis, Jr. led the Cogs offensively with 26 points and 5 assists. Houston then came back home to play Cincinnati in a matchup of the two first place teams in the conference. Houston proved that they are the team to beat in the AAC, winning 65-58. The teams were evenly matched throughout, until Cincinnati was held scoreless for the last six minutes. Davis and Dejon Jarreau both had 16 points in the win. Houston has a little easier week ahead, with road games at conference bottom-feeders UConn and Tulane.

RICE OWLS (10-15) 5-7 CUSA

Last week (1-1): L- Western Kentucky 92-85 2OT, W- Marshall 74-69

This week: Thursday @ FIU, Saturday @ FAU

Rice nearly had the perfect week. Up 13 with seven minutes left, they let Western Kentucky come back and beat them in two overtimes, 92-85. A dunk that would have won it for WKU at the end of the 1st OT was called off for basket interference. The Hilltoppers heated up in the second OT and Rice couldn't hold on. Not surprisingly, Ako Adams led the Owls with 23 points, including 7 made 3-pointers. The Owls followed it up with a home win against Marshall, 74-69. The Owls got a solid effort across the board, getting double digits from five different players. They held Marshall to just 32% from the field.

BAYLOR BEARS (16-8) 7-4 Big XII

Last week (1-1): L- Kansas State 70-63, W- Oklahoma 59-53

This week: Saturday @ Texas Tech

Baylor started the week with a 70-63 loss to Kansas State. Baylor was without Makai Mason and King McClure, arguably their two best players, and the K State depth wore them down after a tightly contested game. Baylor was just 6-24 from distance in the game. Junior guard Devonte Bandoo led the Bears with 15 points in the loss. Baylor followed it up with a 59-53 home win against Oklahoma. Baylor got some separation in the second half, but a 10-0 Oklahoma run tightened it up. Offensive rebounding and clutch free throws sealed the win for the Bears. Mason was 2-14 in his return for just 6 points, but Bandoo again picked up the slack with 19 points. The Bears have just one game next week, Saturday at Texas Tech.

TCU HORNED FROGS (17-7) 5-6 Big XII

Last week (1-1):
W- @ Iowa State 92-83, L- Kansas 82-77 OT

This week: Wednesday @ Oklahoma State, Saturday vs. Iowa State

TCU got their biggest road win in a long time, knocking off Iowa State in Ames, 92-83. TCU was 1-84 in their previous 85 road games against ranked teams. TCU shut down the Iowa State offense in the first half, and the Cyclones never recovered. TCU shot just under 45% from 3-point land in the win. Freshman guard Kendric Davis led the Frogs with 22 points. TCU erased a second half deficit to send their game with Kansas to overtime, but the Jayhawks were too much in the extra frame, dropping the Horned Frogs 82-77 in overtime. Desmond Bane led the way for the Frogs in the loss with 18 points. Kouat Noi had 14 points, but went a rough 1-9 from 3-point range. TCU has Oklahoma State and Iowa State this week.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (19-5) 7-4 Big XII

Last week (1-1): W- @ Oklahoma 66-54

This week: Saturday @ Oklahoma

Texas Tech got a much needed road win in their only game last week, 66-54 at Oklahoma. Davide Moretti led the Red Raiders with 14 points. The defense was strong, as it typically has been for Texas Tech, but Tech's 3-point shooting led the way. The Raiders hit 10 of 22 from deep in the win. Texas Tech missed the committee's initial top 16, but currently sit 15th in the AP poll. Tech gets a road game at Oklahoma State and a home game with Baylor this week.

SMU MUSTANGS (12-11) 4-7 American

Last week (0-2):
L- South Florida 67-66, L- @ Central Florida 71-65

This week: Wednesday @ Temple

The losses continue to pile up for SMU, who has now dropped 6 of the last 7 after a 3-1 start to conference play. They lost a tough one against USF 67-66. A 3-pointer with 6 seconds left gave the Bulls the lead, and SMU couldn't get a good shot off before the buzzer. SMU lost this one behind the arc. USF hit 44% and SMU was held to just 29%. Isiaha Mike led SMU with 18 in the loss. The Ponies followed that up with a 71-65 loss to Central Florida. Again the Mustangs lost the 3-point battle, 44%-27%. Jimmy Whitt, Jr. led SMU with 23 points in the game. SMU has just one game this week, a road trip to Temple.

LSU TIGERS (19-4) 9-1 SEC

Last week (2-0):
W- @ Mississippi State 92-88 OT, W- Auburn 83-78

This week: Tuesday @ Kentucky, Saturday @ Georgia

LSU continues to find ways to win games, despite slow starts. LSU got a 92-88 win at Mississippi State in a game that MSU led by eight at halftime. The Tigers roared back to send the game to overtime, where Naz Reid hit a decisive 3-pointer to finish it off. Reid led the Tigers with 29 points, despite only having 4 points in the first half. Tremont Waters came up big as well, adding 26. LSU got the win despite only making 3 of their 11 3-point attempts. LSU then got an 83-78 win against Auburn, after trailing by 16 in the 1st half in large part to letting Auburn have their way from 3 early. LSU cut the deficit to 3 at halftime, and dominated the pacing in the 2nd half to get the win. LSU won the turnover battle 19-11. Waters had 19 points and 10 assists in the win. LSU moved up to 19th in the polls with the 2 wins. The Tigers get their toughest test of the season on Tuesday, when they travel to 5th ranked Kentucky. They also have a road game against Georgia.

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!

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