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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Let's make a deal. Photo by Getty Images. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

The NFL trade deadline is less than a week away, and the Houston Texans have a significant decision to make regarding their franchise star, J.J. Watt. The Texans are 1-6 through the first seven games of the season, and the next few years of the franchise seem a bit bleak.

No player or staff member has encapsulated Houston's frustration quite like Watt. Excluding the Texans' victory over the Jaguars, the future Hall of Famer has looked miserable in every post-game press conference. Each week, it's the constant look of despair. And in hindsight, closing the chapter on Watt's career in Houston seems to be best for both parties.

At 31-years-old, the All-Pro defensive tackle should be spending the twilight of his career competing for Super Bowls — not playing for a team who is clearly about to hit the reset button at the conclusion of this season.

By departing from Watt, it would allow the Texans to get a jumpstart on their rebuilding project — one that has the potential to bring back quality draft picks, a young prospect, and clear close to $20 million in cap space.

If they decide not to move on from Watt, the Texans risk putting themselves in a situation where they may miss out on obtaining higher draft picks and strapped for cash heading into the 2021 free agency market. And with one year left on his contract following 2020, the Texans also risk losing leverage in a potential deal if forced into trading Watt come next season.

At this stage of his career, the Texans may not receive a haul for Watt's services but could maximize his trade value by dealing him to a championship-contending team. A move that would give Watt the best chances of adding a championship title to his luxurious resume in return.

With the future of the franchise in mind, here are three potential trade ideas that would be best if the Texans are truly considering moving on from Watt.

Watt returns home to Wisconsin and joins the Packers

Texans receive: 2021 first-round pick and LB Kamal Martin

Packer receive: J.J. Watt

The Green Bay Packers are one of a handful of teams who has a realistic chance to stamp their ticket to Super Bowl LV. Following a win over the Texans on Sunday, the Packers stand first in the NFC North with a 5-1 record and possess one of the NFL's best offensive teams.

Green Bay's offense can compete in a shootout with just about any team in the league, but their defense may be the reason why they fall short of representing the NFC in Tampa Bay come February. They have only accumulated a total of 10 quarterback hits and are currently 30th in the league in pass rush through the first six games. The Packers' lack of ability to get to the opposing team's quarterback could be an immense problem during a playoff game that could feature Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson.

So what do the Packers have to lose by acquiring their Wisconsin native?

The addition of Watt would allow the Packers to add one of the best pass rushers of all-time. Although Watt is nowhere near the player that finished second behind Aaron Rogers for league MVP honors in 2015, he has illustrated that he is still a disruptive defensive lineman five years later.

Through the first seven games, Watt has accounted for 11 pressures, six quarterback hits and three sacks — which would make him Green Bay's second most reliable pass rusher trailing only Za'Darius Smith.

For the Texans, receiving a first-round pick for Watt is self-explanatory and would be the most suitable return for the aging star. However, for a team that is building for the future, the Texans should consider obtaining a young and raw prospect to evaluate.

Kamal Martin, a fifth-round draft selection in 2020, made his NFL debut against the Texans on Sunday and left an exceptional first impression. He recorded six tackles and one tackle for loss in 29 snaps inside NRG Stadium, and could be a building block should the Texans begin to make modifications to their linebacking corps.

Seattle sends multiple draft picks for Watt

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and fourth-round pick

Seahawks receive: J.J. Watt

If the Packers do not take advantage of improving their pass rush with Watt — perhaps the Seattle Seahawks will. Both NFC teams mirror each other with a high-powered offense, but a feeble defense may hinder one another from advancing to the Super Bowl. In a deal for Watt to the Seahawks, the Texans would miss out on the chance to acquire a first-rounder, but obtaining multiple picks would be just as prominent.

Seattle's general manager John Schneider is no stranger to taking a significant risk, and appears willing to make any moves that will put his organization closer to their long-overdue second title with Russell Wilson. Perhaps, Watt would be that missing key.

The Seahawks are pretty solid at stopping the run but need a tremendous upgrade in their pass defense. Seattle has given up the second-most passing yards on the season (2,212), and the reason seems to be their inability to get to the quarterback. Seattle has only implemented pressure to the opposing team's quarterback on 20.1% of their dropbacks, while only recording a total of nine sacks.

The Seahawks pass defense may not become elite, but the disruption of Watt on their defensive line could be enough to limit the devastation they have experienced through the first seven weeks of the season.

Watt to the Big Easy for Brees' last dance

Texans receive: 2021 second-round pick and Marcus Davenport

Saints receive: J.J. Watt

Seven weeks into the season, the New Orleans Saints are not sitting near the top of the NFC nor their division when compared to recent years. A bevy of injuries have been attributed to their minor decline this season — mainly to their All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas.

However, the Saints have prevailed through the injury bug to march their way to a 4-2 record. If New Orleans can get healthy during the second half of the season, they will be in the running to represent the NFC in Tampa Bay for Super Bowl LV. But unlike the Packers and Seahawks, this could be the Saints last chance to recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy in what is likely Drew Brees' last dance.

The addition of Watt to the Saints would give general manager Mickey Loomis a chance to create the most disruptive defensive line in the league. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen would be able to shift the five-time Pro-Bowler to the interior — allowing the Saints to trot out a d-line of Watt, Cameron Jordan and Trey Hendrickson.

This trade would give Watt arguably the most help he has ever had on the defensive line — which would allow New Orleans to maximize what is left of his career.

This trade would have the Texans missing out on obtaining a first-rounder, but a sound-round pick would be just as valuable for Watt. However, Houston should consider adding a young prospect in a potential swap, and Marcus Davenport would be their best return.

Drafted in 2018, Davenport is a former first-round talent who can help transition the Texans into the post-Watt era. He has showed promise of a bright future through his first two seasons, but injuries have prevented the 24-year-old prodigy of San Antonio from establishing himself as one of the league's top young talents.

This season, elbow and toe injuries have limited Davenport to just a pair of games in 2020. Although there is an immense concern regarding Davenport's health, the Texans cannot pass on adding a player who has already registered 11.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hits through his first 28 career games.

Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.

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