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. 

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Davis Mills will get every opportunity to prove he's the guy this year. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans have one of the unique quarterback situations in all football. This isn’t to say the situation is good, but it is unique. It will be all about Davis Mills, and he will either keep the attention of the fanbase and management or force their eyes to Saturdays.

Davis Mills is the rare middle-round pick to have a full season of starting games all to himself. Rarely, does this happen in the NFL. Since 2000, nine third-round quarterbacks have started a majority of their team’s games in their first two seasons. All those quarterbacks played at least 35 games in college. Mills played in 14 college games. In fact, he’s played in 27 football games the past four football seasons.

A successful season from Mills means he gets to start another season. The Texans would also be on their way to maximum financial advantage: a solid quarterback on a cheap contract. Failure in 2022 means the Texans are using the 2023 NFL Draft to find their next quarterback.

How does Davis Mills prove he can cut it for the Texans? All he must do is have a supersized version of his rookie year.

Two wins, 16 touchdowns, and a 35.5 QBR doesn’t delight and even a 50 percent improvement might not be enough for Mills. The improvement for Mills though was immense. If he improves as much as he did from the start of the year to the end, he will be the quarterback for the Texans in 2023.

Mills had one of the worst training camp practices I have ever seen in my life last year. He was constantly missing players when there weren’t defenders. He threw easily interceptable passes. It was horrid.

Two months later in his third career start, he turned in one of the best performances a rookie has ever had against a Bill Belichick-led defense. Two months after that, he led the Texans past the Los Angeles Chargers and second-year phenom Justin Herbert. Mills put together a final month that held off any real competition for his job.

The 2023 season is all about growth for Mills. If he can grow as much as he did from that awful summer day to the best of his performances, he will play enough to keep his job. This is where Mills is an exciting element for the upcoming season. He is an unknown possessing an opportunity to rewrite his future and the team’s as well.

He must keep being dangerous in the red zone. It is necessary he continues to be successful passing the ball deep as new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton pushes the ball more than in recent years. There can’t be any horrible games and only a few bad ones. Kyle Allen is the backup for Mills and won’t play unless there is an injury to Mills.

It will be a 17-game rollercoaster for the Texans and Mills, and only if he eliminates doubt through growth, will he get to ride the rollercoaster again in 2023.

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