Texas College Hoops Roundup: No. 11 Texas braces for No. 2 Gonzaga challenge while No. 14 TCU looks to improve upon last week

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Gay/AP/Shutterstock (13618897v) Texas guard Marcus Carr (5) and teammates celebrate a score during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Houston Christian, in Austin, Texas Houston Christian Texas Basektball, Austin, United States – 10 Nov 2022

Texas College Hoops Roundup: No. 11 Texas braces for No. 2 Gonzaga challenge while No. 14 TCU looks to improve upon last week

Each week, Gallery Sports will take a quick look at the week that was and the week that is coming up for several of the premier NCAA men’s basketball programs in Texas. With an abundance of championship contenders across the hoops landscape in Texas, 2022-2023 is bound to be a huge year of college basketball across the state. 

No. 5 BAYLOR BEARS (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 117-53 vs. Mississippi Valley State; Won, 87-70 vs. Norfolk State

Expectations are extremely high for Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears heading into the 2022-2023 season following two straight seasons earning a number one seed and a National Championship back in 2021. Baylor adds star freshman Keyonte George, the seventh-ranked incoming freshman recruit in the country, to a talented and experienced roster in a winning culture. Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer make up arguably the country’s best backcourt alongside George, while senior Flo Thamba headlines the frontcourt. The Bears got off to the start most fans would expect, punishing two teams ranking outside of KenPom’s top 150. Baylor’s 64-point win over Mississippi Valley State saw six different Bears get to double digits in scoring while Flagler led the way with 21. Norfolk State kept things close for a bit longer but eventually succumbed to Baylor’s talent as the second half wore on. George had a coming-out party against the Spartans, finishing with 23 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. 

The week to come: Monday, Nov. 14, vs. Northern Colorado (home); Friday, Nov. 18, vs. No. 18 Virginia (T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada)

The Bears get one more tune-up against weaker competition when the Northern Colorado Bears (KenPom No. 210) come to Waco Monday night, a team, the Houston Cougars held to just 36 points in a blowout win last week. Things get a lot more challenging Friday night when Baylor battles the 18th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in a neutral-site game in Las Vegas. Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers are known for their defensive prowess each and every year, and they’re led by arguably their most experienced roster in Bennett’s entire tenure this season. Baylor will need to play within themselves and avoid being frustrated by Virginia’s snail-paced basketball to execute the way they’ll need to Friday night. 

No. 14 TCU HORNED FROGS (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 73-72 vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff; Won, 77-66 vs. Lamar

The TCU Horned Frogs entered the 2022-2023 season with lofty expectations following their NCAA Tournament appearance last spring, which included a blowout win of Seton Hall before coming within a razor’s edge of upsetting top-seeded Arizona in overtime. Despite starting this season 2-0, it’s hard to argue that the Frogs are living up to expectations early on. Both Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Lamar rank in the bottom 10 out of 363 teams ranked by KenPom, and both kept things much too close for comfort at Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth. UAPB held the lead with just a minute to play and might’ve pulled the upset if not for Mike Miles’ clutch three with 51 seconds left. Miles popped off for 26 points in TCU’s second game against Lamar, but the Horned Frogs once again struggled to pull away until the final minutes of an eventual 11-point win. 

The week to come: Monday, Nov. 14, vs. Northwestern State; Thursday Nov. 17, vs. UL Monroe

Head coach Jamie Dixon will be looking for stronger performances from the Horned Frogs this week, who should be able to grab control early against two Louisiana schools ranking outside KenPom’s top 260. The matchups this week against Northwestern State and UL Monroe will set the stage for more difficult tests to come, and Big 12 play will certainly offer quite a gauntlet for the Horned Frogs when it gets started. 

No. 11 TEXAS LONGHORNS (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 72-57 vs. UTEP; Won, 82-31 vs. Houston Christian

Chris Beard’s second year at the helm of the Texas Longhorns comes with high expectations once again in a Big 12 conference that isn’t getting any easier to win games in. The Longhorns handled business against relatively weak competition in their first two games, pulling away from UTEP early and completely burying overmatched Houston Christian from the opening tip. Texas boasts a starting lineup with three seniors, and they’ve had the luxury of balanced scoring in each of their first two wins. Texas’ backcourt of Marcus Carr and Tyrese Hunter, transfers from Minnesota and Iowa State, have each played a major part in the Horns’ early success. 

The week to come: Wednesday, Nov. 16, vs. No. 2 Gonzaga

Texas did what was needed to dispatch their two mid-major opponents during the season’s first week but face a much stiffer challenge as Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs come to Austin Wednesday night. Gonzaga, led by arguably the most productive college player in the country in Drew Timme, began their season with a blowout win over North Florida and a one-point win over Michigan State in a game played outdoors on an aircraft carrier. Taking on a projected top seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Longhorns will learn a lot about where they’re at early in the 2022-2023 season in front of a sellout crowd at the Moody Center Wednesday night. 

No. 24 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (2-0, 0-0 SEC)

The week that was: Won, 87-54 vs UL Monroe; Won, 77-58 vs Abilene Christian

Buzz Williams’ second year at the helm in College Station is off to a strong start, as the Aggies dispatched two lesser opponents with ease last week. Sophomore Wade Taylor IV (77% on three-pointers so far) leads the Aggies in scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game, while Duke transfer Henry Coleman and Virginia Tech transfer Tyrece Radford figure to play prominent parts in the offense this season as well. The SEC has improved greatly as a basketball conference in recent years, making the early portion of the season critical for Texas A&M as they look to get themselves prepared for the gauntlet ahead. 

The week to come: Thursday, Nov. 17, vs. Murray State

Despite being a mid-major from rural western Kentucky, the Murray State Racers basketball program has a proud history and won’t be intimidated at all by their upcoming trip to Reed Arena. Buzz Williams’ Aggies would do well not to overlook the Racers with DePaul and SMU on deck, especially given that Murray State undoubtedly has their trip to College Station circled on their schedule. 

No. 23 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (2-0, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 73-49 vs. Northwestern State; Won, 78-54 vs. Texas Southern

Texas Tech’s basketball program has become one of the state’s best over the last several years, as Mark Adams has continued the foundation set by former head coach Chris Beard. The Red Raiders made the Sweet Sixteen a year ago, eventually falling to Duke while boasting a team that topped KenPom’s defensive efficiency metrics all season. Texas Tech will lean on their defense again this season and allowed just 51.5 points per game to their first two opponents at home. Senior Kevin Obanor will be looked to as the Red Raiders’ heart and soul, leading a balanced attack that focuses on elite defense first. 

The week to come: Monday, Nov. 14, vs. Louisiana Tech

Tech has only one game this week, another tune-up of sorts against Louisiana Tech out of Conference USA. The Bulldogs have yet to play a Division I opponent, so they’ll certainly be chomping at the bit to take their shot at the Red Raiders Monday night at United Supermarkets Arena. Louisiana Tech went 24-10 a year ago, falling in the Conference USA tournament final to UAB.

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1 Comment

  • If you are going to call yourself Texas Sports, then cover ALL of Texas Colleges. I remind you that Baylor was only the 2nd Texas school to win an NCAA men’s basketball championship. I’ll leave it to you to figure out the first.

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