COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT

NCAA hoops: TCU and UH keep rolling

TCU's Desmond Bane and Vladimir Brodziansky helped the Horned Frogs get wins over SMU and Nevada last week. TCU/Facebook

TEXAS LONGHORNS (6-2)

Last week (1-0): W-@ VCU 71-67

This week: Tuesday vs. Michigan, Saturday vs. Louisiana Tech

Texas is already a better road team than they were last season. After going winless in true road games last season, this was Texas’ first win on an opponent’s court since March of 2016. It didn’t come easy, as Shaka Smart’s former team charged back from a 19 point deficit to take a lead with under 5 minutes to play. The Horns stiffened though, and got out with a 71-67 win. Andrew Jones had 19 and Mohamed Bamba filled the box score with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks. Texas has home games against Michigan and Louisiana Tech this week. 

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (8-1)

Last week (1-1): L- Arizona 67-64, W- Prairie View A&M 73-53

This week: Wednesday vs. Savannah State

Texas A&M ran into their first diversity of the season, losing 67-64 to Arizona on a neutral court, albeit in Phoenix. The Aggies struggled defensively in the 2nd half, but were able to take advantage of sloppy passing by Arizona to keep it close. They missed a long chance to tie at the buzzer. Tyler Davis had 21 points and 10 boards in the loss. It looked like the loss could have sent the Aggies into a tailspin, as they were struggling with Prairie View A&M early in the 2nd half, but they were able to pull away on the strength of a 48-34 rebounding edge. Robert Williams had 8 points and 16 rebounds in the win. This should be a light week, with only Savannah State on the schedule. 

HOUSTON COUGARS (8-1) 

Last week (2-0): W- Fairfield 88-66, W- @ Saint Louis 77-58

This week: Wednesday @ LSU, Sunday vs. Prairie View A&M

The train keeps rolling for the Cougars, picking up a win over Fairfield at home and a win against Saint Louis on the road. The Cougars dominated Fairfield from start to finish, paced by Rob Gray’s 20. More impressive was the winner over Saint Louis. While they aren’t having a great season, it was a convincing road win against an Atlantic 10 opponent. The Coogs won the rebounding battle, as they have in every game this season, 37-24. Gray led the team in points and rebounds, putting up a 24-6 line. A road trip to LSU and a home game against Prairie View await this week. 

RICE OWLS (2-7)

Last week (0-1): L- Stephen F. Austin 81-62

This week: Thursday vs. Saint Edwards, Saturday @ Texas Tech

The Owls only played one game this week, and they weren’t competitive in it. The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks dominated the Owls, and while there are plenty of reasons they lost, the 1-17 shooting performance from 3 point range and the 27 turnovers stand out. Kevon Harris put up 31 for the Jacks in the win. Robert Martin and Connor Cashaw each had 13 for the Owls in defeat. Rice gets mixed competition this week, taking on a Division II team(albeit a good one) in Saint Edwards, and a ranked Texas Tech squad on the road. 

BAYLOR BEARS (7-2)

Last week (2-0): W- Sam Houston State 84-56, W- Randall 105-82

This week: Thursday vs. Texas Southern, Sunday vs. Savannah State

Baylor got back on track after losing their first two of the season with a couple of blowout wins. Baylor got double-digit efforts from 6 players in an 84-56 drubbing of Sam Houston State. The Bears hit 10 3-pointers in the effort. Randall University didn’t provide much competition for the Bears either, falling 105-82. The Bears only dressed 6 scholarship players, but had no problem with the much less physical Randall. Nuni Omot led the way with 30 points. Baylor gets Texas Southern and Savannah State in the week to come.

TCU HORNED FROGS (12-0)

Last week (2-0): W- SMU 94-83, W- Nevada 84-40

This week: Monday vs. Texas Southern, Friday vs. William & Mary

TCU stayed unbeaten with two solid wins over SMU and Nevada last week. The Frogs beat SMU 94-83 in a physical game between cross-Metroplex rivals. Kenrich Williams continued his outstanding season with 27 points in the win. TCU hit 12 of 24 from deep. The Frogs then got an 84-80 win over a tough Nevada team. TCU cruised early on, and Nevada made it close in the 2nd half, but were never able to take a lead. Jaylen Fisher led the Frogs with 20 points. Jamie Dixon’s team will look to finish the non-conference season unbeaten with games against Texas Southern and William & Mary this week. 

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (7-1)

Last week (0-1): W- Nevada 82-76 (OT)

This week: Wednesday vs. Kennesaw State, Saturday vs. Rice

The Red Raiders bounced back from their first loss of the season by beating the 22nd ranked Nevada Wolfpack 82-76 in overtime. Texas Tech didn’t make a shot in the last 5 minutes of regulation, but hit their free throws and forced overtime. Keenan Evans scored 8 of his team-high 32 points in extra time to seal the win. Tech should continue their strong non-conference run against Kennesaw State and a struggling Rice team this week. 

SMU MUSTANGS (7-3)

Last week (0-1): L- @ TCU 94-83 

This week: Wednesday vs. New Orleans

SMU couldn’t put out the TCU fire from 3-point range en route to a 94-83 loss. The backcourt that had SMU riding high last week, struggled in this game, with Shake Milton making just 1 of his 8 3-point attempts on the day. The Ponies kick off their 5-game homestead with New Orleans on Wednesday in their only game this week.

LSU TIGERS (5-2)

Last week (1-0): W-UNC Wilmington 97-84

This week: Wednesday vs. Houston, Saturday vs. Stephen F. Austin 

Duop Reath stayed hot, leading LSU to a 97-84 win with a 30 point performance that saw him make 13 of 17 attempts from the field. LSU took a 16 point lead into halftime, and were able to hold off UNCW in the 2nd half. This week will be tough for the Tigers, as they get matchups against the 8-1 Houston Cougars and the 9-1 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks.

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Let him cook! Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr are studs. KPJ just signed a four-year extension with the team. Other guys like Jabari Smith Jr, Kenyon Martin Jr, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher, Tari Eason, and Jae'Sean Tate are really good pieces to surround Green and KPJ with. The only issue with this group: they're REALLY young! Tate is the elder statesman at 27 of the young nucleus. Most are barely old enough to buy a drink. Some still aren't old enough! They're a bunch of green bananas waiting to turn yellow to slightly brown and be ripe enough for consumption.

We need to give it time. Just like bananas, they take time to ripen. Coach Stephen Silas is known for developing young players. His most prized student is the star player for that team in South Oklahoma up 45. Number 77 for that team credited Silas with helping him realize his All-Pro potential while Silas was a part of the coaching staff there. To a man, all his former players credit him with being a positive influence on their careers. So why are fans in a rush to get rid of him?

When you look at the Rockets' record over the last few years, it's gross. Sure, they've been a lottery team the last couple of seasons, but that was by design. As part of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trades, they gave away pick swap rights. Had they not been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to draft Green or Smith Jr. Those two guys are building blocks for the future, along with KPJ. Giving those picks away would've put this team further down the totem pole of developing themselves into a contender. Losing pays off when you can hit on high lottery picks.

If you give a chef dirt, bread, ham, molded cheese, and spoiled mayo, can you expect anything else but a nasty ham sandwich? How about if the chef was given a steak that is almost rotten, potatoes with root growth, and spoiled butter? Could you expect a better meal than the sandwich? Yes! However, that meal may still cause a stomachache. Now, give said chef a full complement of gourmet groceries and guess what you'll get?

This is why I say let Silas cook. He's the perfect coach for this group of kids. He can teach them all the fundamentals of the game at this level and help them grow into their full potential. If there's a change to be made on the sidelines, move Silas into a front office role, but DO NOT get rid of him! Guys like him are too valuable. Why do you think Mark Cuban hated losing him, but knew he couldn't retain him because he had a head coach already? Cuban knew what he had in Silas and what Silas did for Luka Doncic. He can do something similar for the Rockets if given the time to work his magic.

Should Tilman Fertita find the need to move on, I'd look for a more experienced coach who can guide them from bottom of the playoff ladder into top four in the West and real contenders. For now, Silas is the head chef. Continue giving him the groceries he needs, and he'll continue giving these kids the lessons they need to develop. Changing the coach now could stunt their growth. Let him cook!

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