Mandatory Credit: Photo by Eric Gay/AP/Shutterstock (13646133t) Texas guard Marcus Carr (5) drives around Creighton guard Baylor Scheierman during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Austin, Texas Creighton Texas Basketball, Austin, United States – 01 Dec 2022
Texas College Hoops Roundup: No. 2 Texas, still unblemished, heads to MSG for prime time matchup with No. 17 Illinois
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.
No. 12 BAYLOR BEARS (6-2, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Lost, 96-70 at Marquette; Won, 64-63 vs. No. 14 Gonzaga
Baylor experienced a range of emotions over the last week, routed emphatically by Marquette on the road before picking up a huge neutral-site win against Gonzaga. The effort against Marquette was unbecoming of Baylor’s veteran guards, a 20-turnover performance that saw the Bears cough up the ball 16 times before halftime. Baylor entered the game ranked third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio, but fell precipitously after Tuesday night’s effort. Scott Drew’s team trailed 51-25 at halftime, and never could make much of a game of it in the second half. Baylor shot the ball relatively well (48.2% field goals) but Marquette’s “havoc” defense overwhelmed them as the crowd roared louder. The 26-point loss was Baylor’s worst since 2007.
Baylor had no time to dwell on the ugly loss before traveling to Sioux Falls, SD for a rematch of the 2021 national championship game against No. 14 Gonzaga. The Bears came out much more dialed in against the Bulldogs, leading by as many as 12 in the first half and eventually leading by five at halftime. Gonzaga worked their way back into the game as it went along, eventually trading leads with Baylor down the stretch. Baylor trailed by as many as seven with just 1:33 to play, but came up with a gutsy 8-0 run to finish with a one-point win. Two free throws from Jalen Bridges gave the Bears a one-point advantage, and Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton’s layup at the buzzer missed. Scott Drew applauded his team’s resilience, especially that of Adam Flagler who played through pain while drilling two huge three-pointers in the final moments.
The week to come: Tuesday, Dec. 6 vs. Tarleton
After a busy week of travel and high-level opposition, Baylor hosts Tarleton in their only game of the coming week. The Texans are 3-3 against Division I competition, including road wins against Boston College and Belmont so far this season. Tarleton starts the week ranked No. 154 in KenPom’s efficiency margin rankings, and doesn’t have a win over a team ranked higher than No. 133 this season. Expect Baylor to handle business at home before a 12 day break.
No. 24 TCU HORNED FROGS (6-1, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Won, 75-62 vs. Providence
TCU continued to rebuild its resume following the stunning loss to Northwestern State on Nov. 14 with a comfortable win over the visiting Providence Friars Wednesday night at Schollmaier Arena. Damion Baugh made his debut for the Horned Frogs after serving a six-game suspension for signing with an NBA certified agent last offseason and finished with 10 points. Eddie Lampkin led TCU in scoring with 16 points on a night the Frogs shot an impressive 50% from the field and 50% from three. A 12-0 run in the second half extended TCU’s lead to 49-34, and they never looked back. The win is TCU’s fourth straight, and third straight over teams from power conferences.
The week to come: Tuesday, Dec. 6 vs. Jackson State; Saturday, Dec. 10 vs. SMU (at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, TX)
No. 24 TCU ought to roll in Tuesday night’s bout with Jackson State, who comes to town just 1-6 on the season. The Tigers picked up their first win of the season Saturday against SMU, but have lost by as many as 39 on the road at Indiana. Jackson State ranks outside KenPom’s top 300 teams, in large part because of exceptionally poor defensive metrics. Saturday, TCU heads nine minutes south by bus to Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, where they’ll take on DFW-area rival SMU. The Mustangs are in the midst of an obvious rebuild, evidenced by the loss to Jackson State referenced above. SMU hasn’t beaten a team ranked above No. 263 in KenPom’s rankings, losing at home to the likes of Louisiana and New Mexico already this season. SMU has really struggled to shoot the basketball, making just 40% of their field goals on the season.
No. 2 TEXAS LONGHORNS (6-0, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Won, 72-67 vs. No. 7 Creighton
The No. 2 Texas Longhorns’ undefeated run extended to 6-0 to start the season with Thursday night’s win over No. 7 Creighton. Defense led the way for the Longhorns, who held Creighton to just 4-for-27 on three-pointers. Creighton and Texas combined for 27 assists to just 11 turnovers in a game full of crisp ball movement, but the shots never consistently went down for either team. Texas extended their lead early in the second half and led by around 10 most of the way before a blitz of points for the Bluejays late. Creighton pulled within three points on two different occasions in the final minute of the game, but Texas refused to give in. Marcus Carr’s free throws with 10 seconds left iced the game for the Longhorns and gave the senior guard 19 points on the night.
The week to come: Tuesday, Dec. 6 vs. No. 17 Illinois (in New York, NY); Saturday, Dec. 10 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Texas takes on their first ranked opponent away from the Moody Center Tuesday night when they battle No. 17 Illinois at Madison Square Garden. The game is the first of a twin bill at the Jimmy V Classic with Iowa-Duke to follow. The battle-tested Illini are 6-2, but both losses came against talented teams (in Las Vegas, NV versus then-No.16 Virginia and at then-No. 22 Maryland). Illinois also enters the contest with a blowout win over Syracuse and a neutral-site triumph over then-No. 8 UCLA under its belt. Texas will need to be prepared for the frenetic tempo Illinois prefers to play at and a defense that is forcing turnovers on 24.6% of opponents’ possessions so far this season. Texas also hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday at the Moody Center. UAPB has yet to win a game at the Division I level this season, although they almost caught TCU sleeping in a season-opening 73-72 loss in Fort Worth. With any reasonable amount of focus and execution, the ‘Horns should handle Pine Bluff without issue.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (5-3, 0-0 SEC)
The week that was: Won, 83-64 vs.SMU; Lost, 86-71 vs. Boise State
Wade Taylor IV and Henry Coleman led the way for Texas A&M in its blowout win against the rebuilding SMU Mustangs Wednesday night. Coleman finished the night with 23 points and five rebounds while Taylor IV added 13 points and nine assists. The Aggies led by nine at half and never let the Mustangs within arm’s distance down the stretch. Texas A&M’s trip north to Dickies Arena to take on Boise State did not go nearly as well, as Max Rice and Marcus Shaver combined for 45 points in the Broncos’ dominant win. Boise State led wire-to-wire by as many as 17 points, draining 11 of their 25 three-pointers and out-rebounding A&M 33-28.
The week to come: Sunday, Dec. 11 vs. Oregon State
Texas A&M will have some time to make adjustments after the loss before jumping back into action Sunday evening against visiting Oregon State from the Pac-12 conference. The Beavers do not carry much of a pedigree, ranking No. 217 in KenPom with two losses to Portland State on their resume. Oregon State has at least shown an ability to play up to its competition this season, especially on the defensive end. The Beavers’ losses to USC and Duke came by a combined four points, and they have a conference win under their belt against Washington. Oregon State’s excruciatingly slow tempo could prove tricky for the Aggies to adjust to, but Texas A&M ought to cruise on talent alone if it comes prepared.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (5-2, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Won, 79-65 vs. Georgetown
Texas Tech pulled away late for a comfortable win Wednesday night over Big East foe Georgetown. Tech guards De’Vion Harmon and Jaylon Tyson each poured in 18 points and center Daniel Batcho pulled down 13 rebounds. The Red Raiders used a 25-10 run over the final 10 minutes of the first half to open up a 41-26 lead at halftime, but Georgetown made a run of its own in the second half. The Hoyas pulled within a point with just 5:46 to play after trailing by as many as 22. Texas Tech recovered to close on a 17-4 run, improving to 5-2 on the season.
The week to come: Wednesday, Dec. 7 vs. Nicholls
Texas Tech’s only game of the coming week is a date with Nicholls Wednesday night at United Supermarkets Arena. Nicholls’ only Division I win this season came against San Diego, and the Colonels’ lone matchup with an opponent ranked in KenPom’s top 30 ended in a 42-point defeat. Nicholls allows the highest rate of offensive rebounds to opponents in the nation, which should give Daniel Batcho an opportunity to feast on the boards for Texas Tech.