Weekly College Basketball Roundup

Houston drops its first, Texas stumbles, Tech continues to roll

Chris Beard and Tech are on a mean roll. Sarah Stier/Getty Images


Last week (0-3):
L- @ Oklahoma State 61-58, L- Texas Tech 68-62, L- @ Kansas 80-78

This week: Saturday vs. Oklahoma

Any momentum Texas had going into this week after a 2-0 start to Big XII play is out the window after a horrid second week of conference play. First, the Horns dropped a heartbreaker to Oklahoma State on the road, 61-58. You don't have to dig deep into a box score to find out what led to Texas' downfall. Texas shot 2-22 from 3-point range in the game, including a miss with a chance to tie the game at the buzzer. Kerwin Roach was the leading scorer for Texas with 18. Things didn't get better with Texas Tech coming into Austin. The Horns dropped a 68-62 battle with the Red Raiders, giving Tech their first win in Austin since 1996. Roach had 17 points in the loss. Texas' biggest issue in this one was turnovers, as the defensive-minded Red Raiders forced 14 in the game. Finally, the Horns battled hard and came up just short against Kansas in Phog Allen Fieldhouse, dropping their third straight by a final of 80-78. Texas shot the ball well, won the rebounding battle 38-31, and only had 6 turnovers, but it wasn't enough. Kansas only committed 4 turnovers all night. 5 Longhorns hit double digits, led by Matt Coleman III's 16 points. Texas will look to get back on track this week against Oklahoma.


Last week (1-1):
L- @ Kentucky 85-74, W- @ Alabama 81-80

This week: Wednesday vs. Auburn, Saturday vs. Mizzou

The Aggies started well against Kentucky, but couldn't hold off the talented Wildcats, losing 85-74 in Lexington. The game was closer than the score indicates, with the Aggies shooting nearly as well as the Cats all game. The 19 turnovers for Texas A&M were the deal breaker, though. TJ Starks and Jay Jay Chandler both had 18 points for the Aggies. The Aggies came back strong with a buzzer-beater win over Alabama, 81-80. Starks struggled mightily in this one, getting his 12 points on 4-17 shooting. He came through when it mattered most, though, banking in a game winning 3 as time expired. Josh Nebo was near perfect, shooting 10-12 en route to a season-high 21 points. The Aggies get Auburn and Mizzou at home this week.

HOUSTON COUGARS (16-1) 3-1 American

Last week (1-1): L- @ Temple 73-69, W- Wichita State 79-70

This week: Wednesday @ SMU, Saturday @ South Florida

Houston tasted defeat for the first time this season, dropping a 73-69 battle with Temple. A late charge call sealed the win for Temple. The game was only the 3rd road game all season for Houston, who has a nation's best home winning streak at 29 games. Senior Breaon Brady's 19 points kept the Cougars in the game on a night when their top two scorers, Armani Brooks and Corey Davis, combined for 6 of 23 shooting. The Coogs bounced back with a 79-70 win over Wichita State. Davis led the way with 20 points in the win, with Brooks adding in 14 more. Houston held Wichita to just 39% shooting in the win. Houston hits the road for matchups against SMU and South Florida this week.

RICE OWLS (7-11) 2-3 CUSA

Last week (0-2): L- @ UTSA 95-79, L- @ UTEP 65-64

This week: Saturday @ North Texas

Rice followed up their first back to back wins in two years with a week of back to back losses. The Owls dropped their game at UTSA, 95-79. Rice shot just 25% from 3-point distance and turned the ball over 15 times. Chris Mullins and Quentin Miller-Brown each had 14 for the Owls in defeat. That was followed up dramatic 65-64 loss to UTEP. The Owls hit a 3-pointer to take a 1 point lead with just 1.5 seconds left. The inbound was knocked out of bounds, so UTEP had a chance to inbound again with .5 seconds left. The 3/4 court inbound was on the money, as was the turnaround jumper that followed it, giving the Miners a 1 point win. Jack Williams led the Owls with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Rice plays at North Texas on Saturday.

BAYLOR BEARS (10-6) 2-2 Big XII

Last week (1-1):
W- Iowa State 73-70, L- Kansas 73-68, W- Oklahoma State 73-69

This week: Saturday vs. Texas Tech, Monday @ West Virginia

Baylor went 2-1, but their biggest loss of the week won't show up in the standings. Baylor's 2nd leading scorer, Tristan Clark, was lost for the season to a knee injury. He scored 16 points in the 73-70 win over Iowa State. Makai Mason led the team with a season-high 25 points. Mason hit 5 free throws in the last minute to seal the win, and the Bears were 17-20 from the stripe overall. The Bears lost their other game this week, dropping a hard fought 73-68 matchup with Kansas. The Bears cut a 23 point Kansas lead to just 4 with under a minute remaining. Freshman Jared Butler led the Bears with 14 points in defeat. Baylor got a massive showing from King McClure to pace them to a 73-69 win over Oklahoma State on Monday. McClure had 29-points 9 rebounds and 4 assists in the win. He knocked down 7 3-pointer's on the night. The Bears as a team were 15-25 from deep. Jared Butler, starting for the injured Clark, had 16 points in the win. Baylor gets Texas Tech on Saturday and a road trip to West Virginia on Monday.


Last week (1-0):
L- @ Kansas 77-68, L- @ Oklahoma 76-74

This week: Tuesday vs. WVU, Saturday @ Kansas State

TCU had its worst week of the season, dropping two road games to drop their conference record to 1-2. First, they lost 77-68 to Kansas in Lawrence. The Frogs killed themselves in this one, turning the ball over 20 times in the loss. The Frogs had five players in double digits, led by RJ Nembhard's 14 points. Things didn't get much better in Norman, OK, where the Frogs blew a 6 point halftime lead and fell to Oklahoma 76-74. Kouat Noi was the lone offensive bright spot for TCU, scoring 30 points on 10-14 shooting. The rest of the Frogs shot 15-58 from the field. TCU gets West Virginia and Kansas State next week.


Last week (2-0): W- vs. Oklahoma 66-59, W- @ Texas 68-62

This week: Wednesday vs. Iowa State, Saturday @ Baylor

Texas Tech again trailed at halftime, and again Jarrett Culver led them back to a victory, 66-59 over Oklahoma. Culver had 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Red Raiders back from a halftime deficit. Tech's dominant defense held the Sooners to just 32% shooting and 31% from 3-point distance. They followed it up with a win in Austin, downing the Longhorns 68-62. Matt Mooney led the charge with 22 points. The Red Raiders forced 14 turnovers and only gave up 9. Texas Tech, now 8th in the polls, gets Iowa State and Baylor this week.

SMU MUSTANGS (11-5) 3-1 American

Last week (1-1):
L- @ UConn 76-64, W- Tulsa 77-57

This week: Wednesday vs. Houston, Saturday @ Memphis

SMU started their game at UConn well, but shot their way out of it and ended up getting beat 76-64. SMU shot 23-66 and 3-23 from distance in the loss. Jimmy Whitt, Jr. shot 9-18 for 20 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Things improved dramatically for the Ponies against Tulsa, winning in blowout fashion, 77-57. Jahmal McMurray led the way scoring 22 points on 7-12 shooting, including 6-11 from 3-point range. McMurray added another double-double scoring 10 points and hauling in 10 rebounds. SMU held the Golden Hurricane to just 36% shooting in the victory. SMU gets Houston and Memphis this week.

LSU TIGERS (12-3) 2-0 SEC

Last week (2-0):
W- Alabama 88-79, W- @ Arkansas 94-88 (OT)

This week: Tuesday @ Ole Miss, Saturday vs. South Carolina

LSU looked well rested after their week off. They started off with an 88-79 win over Alabama. LSU jumped out to a big lead and never looked back. The Tigers hit 10-15 from long range, and hit 49 percentfrom the field overall. Tremont Waters was 6-9 shooting and led the Tigers with 19 points. Kavell Bigby-Williams had 14 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks as well. They followed that up with a solid road win against Arkansas, 94-88. Freshman Naz Reid was dominant, with 27 points and 7 rebounds on 10-12 shooting. Again the difference in this game came at the 3-point line, where the Tigers shot 40% and the Hogs shot 19%. LSU goes to Ole Miss on Tuesday and hosts South Carolina on Saturday.

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Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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