COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT

NCAA hoops: Big win for UH as most teams roll through the week

Rob Gray has the Houston Cougars on a roll. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The weekly college basketball report:

TEXAS LONGHORNS (9-3)

Last week (2-0): W-Louisiana Tech 47-46, W-@ Alabama 66-50

This week: Friday vs. Kansas

Texas played their worse offensive game of the season against Tennessee State. Luckily, the defense was just good enough for them to sneak out with a 47-46 win. The Horns shot 3-21 from 3 and had 17 turnovers on the day. Dylan Osetkowski led the Horns with 16 in the win. The offense improved slightly against Alabama, as Mohamed Bamba led the way with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The freshman also added 5 blocks in the win. Texas starts up Big XII play with 11th ranked Kansas on Friday night. 

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (11-1)

Last week (2-0): W-Northern Kentucky 64-58, W-Buffalo 89-73

This week: Saturday @ Alabama

Texas A&M struggled against Northern Kentucky without Admon Gilder and Robert Williams, but were able to hold on for a 64-58 win. The Aggies shot 2-20 from 3 in the win, and the game was tied with less than 8 minutes to play. The Ags had a bounce-back showing against Buffalo though, rolling to an 89-73 victory. The sweet victory has some sour to go along with it, as Billy Kennedy announced before the game that leading scorer D.J. Hogg was going to be suspended for 3 games for violating team rules. The 2nd of those 3 games comes Saturday in their SEC opener at Alabama. 

HOUSTON COUGARS (10-2) 

Last week (1-0): W-Providence 70-59

This week: Thursday @ South Florida, Saturday vs. Temple

Rob Gray led the Cougars to a 70-59 win, in maybe their best victory of the season to date. Gray had 24 points in the win, including a run of 7 straight in the 2nd half. The Cougar bench also outscored the Friar bench 20-5. AAC play starts up this week with a game at South Florida and a home game against Temple. 

RICE OWLS (3-10)

Last week (0-2): L-@ New Mexico 78-69, L- Texas State 74-66

This week: Thursday @ UTSA. Saturday @ UTEP

The nightmare continues for Rice. New Mexico has been consistently competitive until this year, and they have run into serious struggles. The Owls couldn’t take advantage though, falling 78-69 to the Lobos in Albuquerque. Connor Cashaw led the Owls with 16 points but ultimately fouled out of the game. Cashaw was strong again on Friday, leading the Owls with 15 in a 74-66 loss to the Texas State Bobcats. Rice has now lost 6 of their last 7 and head into conference play as possible the worst team in the league. They start off the second season with back to back road games against UTSA and UTEP. 

BAYLOR BEARS (10-2)

Last week (2-0): W-Southern 80-60 

This week: Friday @ Texas Tech

The Baylor Bears won their fifth straight game, and established themselves as a real contender in the Big XII as they rolled Southern 80-60. Manu Lecomte led the Bears with 22 points in the win, and the Bears shot 63% from the field. They start conference play at Texas Tech on Friday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (12-0)

Last week: W-Texas Southern 91-72, W- William & Mary 86-75

This week: Saturday vs. Oklahoma

No surprise, TCU took care of business this week and head into conference play unbeaten. They started out with a 91-72 drubbing of Texas Southern. JD Miller led the Horned Frogs in the win. Texas Southern fell to 0-12 with the loss. Texas A&M transfer Alex Robinson led the Frogs in their 86-75 win over William and Mary with 23 points. The win set the school record for consecutive wins at 17, dating back to last season’s NIT Championship run. TCU starts conference play with a home game against Oklahoma on Saturday. 

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (11-1)

Last week (2-0): W-Florida Atlantic 90-54, W-Abilene Christian 74-47

This week: Friday vs. Baylor.

Florida Atlantic hung with Texas Tech for about a half. Whatever Chris Beard said to his team at halftime worked wonders. The Red Raiders outscored the Owls by 29 in the 2nd half en route to a 90-54 win. Keenan Evans led the Raiders with 15 and Tech hit a season high 14 3-pointers in the win. Zach Smith scored a team-high 16 in the Red Raiders 74-47 win over Abilene Christian. Tech was +12 in the rebounding department. The Red Raiders start off Big XII play with a matchup against a tough Baylor team on Friday. 

SMU MUSTANGS (10-3)

Last week (2-0): W-Boise State 86-63, W-Cal Poly 84-64

This week: Wednesday vs. UCF, Sunday vs. South Florida

SMU had five guys in double digits in the 86-63 win over Boise St., led by Jimmy Whitt, Jahmal McMurray and Ethan Chargois with 16 a piece. SMU shot 59% from the field in the win. They followed that up with a drubbing of Cal Poly, 84-64. It was the Ben Emelogu show, as he was perfect from the field, including 5-5 from 3. The Mustangs start conference play with home games against UCF and USF this week. SMU has now won 31 consecutive games at home. 

LSU TIGERS (6-3)

Last week (2-0): W-Sam Houston 80-58,  W-North Florida 104-52

This week: Thursday @ Memphis

LSU rebounded from a slow start to get an impressive win over Sam Houston State, 80-58. Skylar Mays and Randy Onwuasor led the Tigers with 13 a piece. LSU scored the first 11 points of the 2nd half to put the game out of reach. LSU then hammered North Florida, doubling them up by a score of 104-52. Tremont Waters and Duop Reath each scored 15 in the win. LSU plays its first true road game of the season on Thursday as they head to Memphis to take on the 9-3 Tigers. 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Good news for Jose Altuve. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

One never knows how things will play out but of the known General Manager candidates, Jim Crane nailed it in hiring Dana Brown out of the Atlanta Braves' organization where he was Vice President of Scouting. The 55-year-old Brown's scouting and development pedigree is stellar. The Braves have been a talent-producing machine in recent years. Obviously all the credit isn't Brown's but his four years with the Braves preceded by a productive pipeline he was part of in Toronto speak highly of him. Not that it was or should have been the guiding principle to Crane's decision-making, but the Astros now have the only African-American General Manager in Major League Baseball (Ken Williams is Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox).

Brad Ausmus is a super-smart guy, but if had he gotten the GM gig it would have been in large part because he was teammate besties with Jeff Bagwell. While “It's not what you know it's who you know” plays a role in many, many hires, it would have been a poor rationale for tabbing Ausmus. Maybe Ausmus would have done a great job. Maybe Brown does a lousy job. Brown was the much more strongly credentialed candidate. While Bagwell has moved way up Crane's confidante list, Brown played college baseball with Craig Biggio at Seton Hall.

Speaking of Halls…

If I could tell you as absolute fact that exactly two members of the 2023 Houston Astros will someday make the Baseball Hall of Fame, who are you picking? Jose Altuve isn’t a lock just yet but he is obvious pick number one. So for the second spot are you going with Alex Bregman or Yordan Alvarez? We’ll get back to this a couple of paragraphs down.

As was basically a given, former Astro (and Phillie, Met, Red Sox, and Brave) Billy Wagner was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, but as I suggested last week the voting returns were very favorable toward Wagner making the Hall next year, or if not next year in his final year of eligibility on the Baseball Writers Association ballot for the Class of 2025. “Wags” in the Class of ’24 is looking good. Wagner jumped from 51 percent to 68 percent “put him in” votes. The only guy this year to get the necessary 75 percent for election is worthy third baseman Scott Rolen. Two years ago Rolen got 53 percent of the votes needed, last year 63 percent, before getting the call to Cooperstown with 76.5 percent this year. Wagner going from 51 to 68 to 75-plus looks likely. Of course it’s not as if Wagner can pad his case with a good 2023 season, but this is how the process works. The other ballot returnee well positioned to make it next year is former Colorado first baseman Todd Helton. Unlike this year there’s a sure-fire first time ballot guy going in next year. Third baseman Adrian Beltre will undoubtedly wear a Texas Rangers cap on his plaque.

As expected Carlos Beltran didn’t come close to election in his first year of eligibility, but drawing 46 percent of the votes sets him up well to eventually get the Cooperstown call. Beltran was a fabulous player and his Hall credentials are solid. However, no one reasonable would argue that Carlos Beltran was as good or better than Barry Bonds. In his first year of eligibility back in 2013 Bonds garnered 36 percent of the vote. There has been some turnover in the voter pool over the last decade, but it's clear that Beltran’s central role in the Astros’ sign stealing scheme was not held against him to the extent that PED use (actual and/or suspected) was held against Bonds and Roger Clemens. And Alex Rodriguez. And Sammy Sosa. And Manny Ramirez. And others. Foremost right now that’s encouraging for Beltran, but it’s also encouraging down the line for fellow Astros of 2017-18.

What does this mean for Jose Altuve?

If Jose Altuve retired today (perish the thought!) he’d have a good case for the Hall. He had superstar seasons in 2016, 2017, and 2022, and has five other seasons that while not in the realm of his three best certainly rate as excellent. If you judge a player by his five best seasons, there aren’t 10 second basemen in the history of the sport who’d rank ahead of Altuve. Among those who clearly would: Joe Morgan, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins, and Nap Lajoie. Among those four only Morgan played more recently than 1937. Then there’s a group of arguable guys like Jackie Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, and yes Craig Biggio. Altuve has had the prime of a Hall of Famer. What sort of final numbers will he accrue? In late May or early June he should reach the 2000 hit plateau. How many more prime years does Altuve have left before inevitable decline? His career batting average is .307. Four years ago it was .316. Will Altuve retire a .300 hitter?

Bregman or Alvarez? Bregman gets extra points for being an everyday third baseman as opposed to a left fielder-designated hitter, but by age alone Yordan is the better play. Bregman turns 29 on opening day this year. Yordan doesn’t turn 26 until late June. When Bregman was 25 (2019 season) he put up a season more valuable than Alvarez’s tremendous 2022. In the three years since Bregman hasn’t approached that level, though his big second half last season could be a springboard back to that stratosphere. Yordan is in that stratosphere and figures to stay there for a while if his health holds up.

Can't get enough Astros coverage?

Stone Cold ‘Stros is the weekly Astro-centric podcast I am part of alongside Brandon Strange and Josh Jordan. On our regular schedule it airs live at 3PM Monday on the SportsMapHouston YouTube channel, is available there for playback at any point, and also becomes available in podcast form at outlets galore. Such as:

Apple Podcasts

AudioBoom

Google Podcasts

iHeart

RSS

Spotify

Stitcher

YouTube

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome