COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT

NCAA hoops: Big weeks for UH, A&M, TCU

Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars had a nice week. UHCougars.com

TEXAS LONGHORNS (5-2)

Last week (1-0): W-Florida A&M 82-58

This week: Tuesday @ VCU 

Texas overcame a horrible 3 point shooting effort in the first half and took their game inside against Florida A&M in the second half en route to a convincing win over the Rattlers. Dylan Osetkowski scored 19 and pulled in 8 rebounds in the effort. Texas plays only once this week, a homecoming for Shaka Smart in a road trip to VCU. 

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (7-0)

Last week (1-0): W- UT-Rio Grande Valley 78-60

This week: Tuesday vs. Arizona, Saturday vs. Prairie View A&M

The Aggies looked sluggish in their lone game last week, a 78-60 win over UT-Rio Grande Valley. The game was close until the last few minutes before the Aggies pulled away. DJ Hogg and Admon Gilder scored 17 points each. The Aggies get a good test this week in Arizona, who is still dangerous despite their slow start. They play Prairie View A&M on Saturday. 

HOUSTON COUGARS (6-1) 

Last week (2-0): W-New Orleans 75-66, Arkansas 91-65

This week: Wednesday vs. Fairfield, Saturday @ Saint Louis

A strong week for the Cougars, opening with a 75-66 win over New Orleans. Rob Gray paced the Coogs with 23 points. More impressive was the crushing of a solid Arkansas team. Devin Davis, who was injured in the Arkansas game last year, had a career-high 28 points in the 91-65 victory. Corey Davis, Jr. had 17 in the win. This week should be a light one for Houston, who starts with Fairfield and finishes the week at Saint Louis, who currently rides a 4 game losing streak. 

RICE OWLS (2-6)

Last week (0-2): L-UT-Arlington 69-49, L-UT-Rio Grande Valley 69-67

This week: Saturday @ Stephen F. Austin

It was another rough week for the Owls. They started out getting drubbed by UT-Arlington, in a game where Rice shot 24.5% from the field. Saturday’s game was closer, but again ended with a loss against UT-Rio Grande Valley. Rice had two attempts from deep for the win, but missed both. Malik Osborne led the Owls with 14. Things won’t get easier for the Owls this week, as they hit the road to take on a stout Stephen F. Austin team on Saturday. 

BAYLOR BEARS (5-2)

Last week (0-2): L- @ Xavier 76-63, W-Wichita State 69-62

This week: Monday vs. Sam Houston State, Saturday vs. Randall

Baylor lost their first game this season at Xavier on Tuesday, and followed it up with their second loss later in the week. Xavier continued it’s home non-conference winning streak with a 76-63 win. Baylor fell behind early and could never recover. Terry Maston led the Bears with 15 in the loss. Baylor fell again on Saturday, this time at home against a very strong Wichita State team. The Shockers beat the Baylor zone-defense with a 10 of 16 shooting performance from 3. The Bears should rebound this week, with home games against Sam Houston and Randall. 

TCU HORNED FROGS (8-0)

Last week (2-0): W-Belmont 87-76, W-Yale 92-66

This week: Tuesday vs. SMU, Friday vs. Nevada

TCU stayed unbeaten with wins over Belmont and Yale last week. The Frogs currently have the longest win streak in the country at 13. Vladimir Brodziansky let TCU with 22 in their 87-76 win over Belmont. The Frogs dominated the boards with a 37-23 rebounding edge and took 19 free throws to the Bruins’ 6. TCU followed that up with a 92-66 drubbing of Yale. Desmond Bane led the Frogs with 18 points and Kenrich Williams had his fourth straight double-double. This week will present a tougher test for the Horned Frogs, as they get SMU and a ranked Nevada team. 

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (6-1)

Last week (0-1): L-Seton Hall 89-79

This week: Tuesday vs. Nevada

The Red Raiders suffered their first loss of the season against Seton Hall in New York. The Red Raiders, who have built their season on defense, played little of it against the Pirates. Seton Hall shot 11-20 from 3 and scored 50 points in the 2nd half. Keenan Evans scored 21 and Jarrett Culver put up 17 in the loss. The Raiders get a solid Nevada team on Tuesday evening. 

SMU MUSTANGS (7-2)

Last week (2-0): W- UT-Rio Grande Valley 95-64, W- USC 72-55

This week: Tuesday @ TCU

SMU’s backcourt torched Rio Grande Valley with Shake Milton, Jimmy Whitt and Jarrey Foster combining for 59 points en route to a blowout win. Milton led the way again against USC later in the week. The Mustangs got revenge for last year’s 1st round tournament exit with a 72-55 win over the Trojans. The Ponies travel across the Metroplex to take on TCU on Tuesday.

LSU TIGERS (4-2)

Last week (1-0): W-UT-Martin 84-60

This week: Sunday vs. UNC Wilmington

LSU got a good showing from their bench in their lone game this week, a 84-60 win over UT-Martin. Duop Reath and Daryl Edwards combined for 30 points off the bench. Skylar Mays led the Tigers with 18. LSU has another low-volume week with just 1 game in the upcoming week against UNC-Wilmington.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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