COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT

NCAA hoops: Bamba comes up big for UT as conference play begins for most schools

Mohamed Bamba of Texas had a strong week. Chris Covatta/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (10-4, 1-1 BIG XII)

Last week (1-1): L-Kansas 92-86, W-@ Iowa State 74-70 OT

This week: Saturday @ Baylor

Mohamed Bamba had the best game of his career, but it wasn’t enough for Texas to get the win over Kansas, as the Jayhawks shot their way to a 92-86 win. Kansas hit 11 3-pointers in the 2nd half, and 17 in the game. Shooting had to come from the outside because Bamba had 8 blocks to go along with his 22 points and 15 rebounds. Dylan Osetkowski and Matt Coleman scored 17 a piece for the Horns in the loss. The 3-point touch went in Texas’ favor on New Year’s Day in a 74-70 overtime win over Iowa State. Osetkowski hit 7 from distance as part of his career-high 25 points. Bamba shined again with 10 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks. A loss against Iowa State would have been tough, given they are not expected to contend in the Big 12 this season. Texas has another tough matchup on their hands, as they go to Baylor on Saturday.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (11-2, 0-1 SEC)

Last week (0-1): L-@ Alabama 79-57

This week: Tuesday vs. Florida, Saturday vs. LSU

Texas A&M climbed to No. 5 in the rankings, and were quickly dropped by an Alabama team that had everything going for them in a 79-57 blowout. With Admon Gilder injured and leading scorer D.J. Hogg suspended, the Aggies struggled to score, shooting 30% from the field and under 10% from 3 in the game. Tyler Davis and Robert Williams led the Aggies with 14 points a piece. Texas A&M will look to bounce back against an up and down Florida team and LSU at home this week. 

HOUSTON COUGARS (12-2, 2-0 AAC) 

Last week (2-0): W-@ South Florida 79-60, W-Temple 76-73

This week: Thursday @ Wichita State

Houston started out its conference season with a bang, blowing out South Florida on the road 79-60. The Cougars out-shot the Bulls 45%-32%, Corey Davis Jr. led the way with 15 points for UH. The Cougars kept their momentum rolling when they got home, edging Temple 76-73. Breaon Brady had 9 rebounds to go along with his career-high 21 points in the win. After a back and forth first half, Houston went on a 20-2 run to pull ahead for good. The Coogs get the toughest game on their schedule this week, as they hit the road to take on the 9th ranked Wichita State Shockers. Houston has now won 11 of its last 12.

RICE OWLS (3-12, 0-2 CUSA)

Last week (0-2): L-@ UTSA 79-66, L-@ UTEP 80-62

This week: Thursday vs. Old Dominion. Saturday vs. Charlotte 

The awful non-conference season for Rice seems to have spilled over into the Conference USA schedule. Rice got hammered on the road twice this week. First, they fell at UTSA 79-66 in a game where their 21 turnovers killed the Owls. Connor Cashaw led the Owls with 14, albeit in a 4-14 shooting performance. Things went from bad to worse in El Paso, in an 80-62 loss to the UTEP Miners. Rice shot 36% from the field, while UTEP was over 55% for the game. The Owls have a tough matchup against Old Dominion on Thursday, but have one of their most favorable matchups of the conference season on Saturday, as Charlotte heads in to Houston. 

BAYLOR BEARS (10-3, 0-1 BIG XII)

Last week (0-1): L-@ Texas Tech 77-53

This week: Tuesday vs. TCU, Saturday vs. Texas

Baylor has had two road games, and neither have gone well for them. Texas Tech protected their home court in a 77-53 win. Baylor was without their top rebounder, Jo Lual-Acuil, and the Bears lost the battle on the glass 39-21. Baylor shot 37% from the field. Mark Vital led the Bears with 12 points in the loss. The Bears have two home games this week, but the competition will be stiff with TCU and Texas coming in to Waco. 

TCU HORNED FROGS (12-1, 0-1 BIG XII)

Last week (0-1): L-Oklahoma 90-89

This week: Tuesday @ Baylor, Saturday vs. Kansas

TCU’s 17-game win streak came to an end, as Oklahoma overcame a 13 point second half deficit to hand the Frogs their first loss of the season, 90-89. TCU couldn’t hold OU’s freshman standout Trae Young, who scored 39 for the Sooners. Desmond Bane and Ahmed Handy both had 15 for the Horned Frogs in the loss. This week won’t get easier for TCU, as they travel to Baylor and face Kansas in Fort Worth this week. 

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (12-1, 1-0 BIG XII)

Last week (1-0): W-Baylor 77-53

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

Texas Tech had their way with a solid but shorthanded Baylor team, getting a 77-53 win in Lubbock. Tech continues to ride a strong defense and have now won 6 straight games. Keenan Evans paced the Red Raiders with 18 points. Things are getting tougher this week, as Tech plays their first true road game of the season, and it happens to be at Kansas. Tech gets Kansas State at home this weekend.

SMU MUSTANGS (12-3, 2-0 AAC)

Last week (2-0): W-UCF 56-51, W- South Florida 79-39

This week: Thursday @ Tulane, Sunday @ Cincinnati

SMU won a grinder against Central Florida, eventually pulling out a 56-51 win despite committing 15 turnovers. Jarrey Foster and Shake Milton scored 14 each for the Mustangs in the win. Their next game was anything but grinding, as the Ponies blew the doors off of South Florida 79-39. Milton had 14 again in the win. SMU held USF to 28% from the field and forced 21 turnovers in the blowout win. They hit the road this week, taking on Tulane and 19th ranked Cincinnati. 

LSU TIGERS (9-3)

Last week (1-0): W-Memphis 71-61

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

LSU beat Memphis 71-61, and the story of the game was the 3-point line. The Tigers hit 13 of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc, while holding Memphis to 4 of 22 shooting. Tremont Waters had 18 points and 8 assists for LSU in the win. The game was LSU’s first road game of the season. They have a daunting start to conference play, as they draw Kentucky and a road trip to Texas A&M this week. 

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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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