Mandatory Credit: Photo by Robert Backman/CSM/Shutterstock (13627010af) Dylan Disu #1 of the Texas Longhorns in action vs the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Moody Center in Austin Texas. Texas defeats the #2 Bulldogs 93-74 NCAA Basketball Gonzaga vs Texas, Austin, USA – 16 Nov 2022
Texas College Hoops Roundup: No. 2 Texas welcomes No. 7 Creighton to Austin to headline a slew of Big 12-Big East battles
Each week, Gallery Sports will take a quick look at the week that was and the week that’s coming up for several of the premier NCAA men’s basketball programs in Texas.
No. 6 BAYLOR BEARS (5-1, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Won, 89-60 vs. McNeese
Baylor had a relatively quiet Thanksgiving week, handling business at home against McNeese in their only action. Head coach Scott Drew lauded the increased intensity the Bears showed after halftime, outscoring the Cowboys by 20 points in the second half en route to a 29-point victory. The backcourt led the way for Baylor, with Keyonte George scoring 17 points, L.J. Cryer scoring 16, and Adam Flagler adding 13.
The week to come: Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Marquette; Friday, Dec. 2 vs. No. 14 Gonzaga (in Sioux Falls, SD)
The Baylor schedule heats back up again after a more relaxed week with two challenging nonconference matchups. First, the Bears will head to Milwaukee for a road matchup with the Marquette Golden Eagles of the Big East. Led by Shaka Smart, Marquette has completely embraced “havoc” style basketball. They will look to press Baylor defensively and force turnovers, setting up easy baskets in transition if given the opportunity. Marquette’s unique style and a challenging road environment will present a good test for the Bears, but Baylor ought to pass on their talent advantage alone. Friday’s battle with Gonzaga in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will present another difficult hurdle for the Bears – this time against one of the premier programs in the country over the last two decades. The Zags have lost twice in blowout fashion this season to Purdue and Texas but showed what they’re capable of in a wire-to-wire dismantling of Kentucky. Gonzaga is a veteran team led by All-American Drew Timme and a team that wants to get up and down the floor quickly. The Bulldogs and Bears are the two top teams in the nation per KenPom’s offensive efficiency metric, but Baylor has done a much better job avoiding turnovers. If Baylor’s bigs can compete with Drew Timme and Efton Reid down low, Scott Drew’s team ought to be able to take advantage of Gonzaga’s sloppiness on the perimeter.
TCU HORNED FROGS (5-1, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Won, 59-48 vs. California; Won, 79-66 vs. No. 25 Iowa
The Horned Frogs, left for dead by many in the college basketball media after an uncharacteristic home loss to Northwestern State, bounced back in a big way during Thanksgiving week by winning the Emerald Coast Classic. Junior Mike Miles led the way against Cal with 23 points in his first game back from injury as TCU handled business in a low-possession defensive struggle. Jamie Dixon’s Horned Frogs forced 19 Golden Bears’ turnovers while only giving the ball away seven times themselves. Iowa figured to present a much tougher challenge to TCU, but the Horned Frogs executed meticulously in a 13-point win over the ranked Hawkeyes. Micah Peavy led the Frogs with 16 points in the win, while TCU’s defense held Iowa to a season-low 66 points while allowing them to make just 4-of-17 3-pointers. TCU will try to carry the defensive physicality that helped them against Iowa forward, as they will definitely need it in the Big 12.
The week to come: Wednesday, Nov. 30 vs. Providence
The Horned Frogs return home to Fort Worth for just one game this week, a home matchup with the Providence Friars of the Big East. The Friars, led by head coach Ed Cooley, are looking to defend last season’s Big East regular season championship but have not looked the part in the early going. Still, the Friars are probably the second-most talented team the Frogs have faced this season and have the pedigree and coaching experience to remain competitive at Schollmaier Arena.
No. 2 TEXAS LONGHORNS (5-0, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Won, 73-48 vs. Northern Arizona; Won, 91-54 vs. UT Rio Grande Valley
The previously fourth-ranked Longhorns handled business during Thanksgiving week against two inferior opponents with blowout wins. Texas’ 25-point romping of Northern Arizona was over before halftime and was led by Marcus Carr’s 17 points and four assists. The Horns handled UT Rio Grande Valley with even greater ease, blasting the Vaqueros 91-54 behind 17 or more points from three different guards (Carr, Tyrese Hunter, and Sir’Jabari Rice).
The week to come: Thursday, Dec. 1 vs. No. 7 Creighton
The second-ranked Texas Longhorns have only one game this week, but it might be the biggest game on this week’s college hoops schedule when the No. 7 Creighton Bluejays come to town. Creighton finally picked up their first loss in Maui in a tight game against now-No. 4 Arizona, but also picked up impressive wins over No. 23 Texas Tech and No. 9 Arkansas. Creighton has experienced scorers all over the floor, including highly-touted South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman. Texas’ third-ranked defense in the nation by KenPom’s defensive efficiency metric will have its hands full with Creighton’s uber-efficient scoring. The Longhorns will need to shoot the ball effectively against a Bluejays defense that is sending teams to the free-throw line at the lowest clip in the country. Chris Beard’s team rose to the challenge two weeks ago when the Gonzaga Bulldogs traveled to Austin, and will be looking to prove themselves again Wednesday night.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (4-2, 0-0 SEC)
The week that was: Won, 82-66 at DePaul
Texas A&M picked up a nice road win during Thanksgiving week in Chicago against DePaul, topping the Blue Demons 82-66. The Aggies controlled the action wire-to-wire, led by Tyrece Radford’s incredible 31-point outburst. Wade Taylor IV added 21 points of his own, and was the catalyst for A&M on defense with six steals.
The week to come: Wednesday, Nov. 30 vs. SMU; Saturday, Dec. 3 vs. Boise State (in Fort Worth, TX)
Texas A&M continues its nonconference schedule this week with a home game and a game in Fort Worth, taking on the SMU Mustangs, followed by the Boise State Broncos. SMU has yet to defeat a team ranked inside of KenPom’s top 270 in the country, notably falling at home to New Mexico by 21 points back on Nov. 15. The Mustangs have shot the ball especially poorly early this season, so Texas A&M should be able to win with ease if the Aggies can avoid playing with their food. Boise State should present a stiffer challenge for the Aggies, given that the Broncos are already 2-0 against opponents from power conferences. Boise relies on swarming defense, holding opponents to a low field goal percentage while keeping them off the offensive glass. Where the Broncos lack is in depth, as they hardly use their bench – if Texas A&M can get any of Boise State’s starters in foul trouble or tire them out, the scales will quickly tip in the Aggies’ favor.
TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (4-2, 0-0 Big 12)
The week that was: Lost, 76-65 vs. No. 10 Creighton; Won, 70-38 vs. Louisville; Lost, 80-73 vs. Ohio State
The Maui Jim Maui Invitational was a dose of humble pie for Mark Adams’ Red Raiders, who fell to both Creighton and Ohio State while bludgeoning a winless Louisville team. Creighton was efficient offensively, pulling away with 45 points in the second half after going into the break tied. The Bluejays blocked six Texas Tech shots and out-rebounded the Red Raiders 33-28 in a physically bruising game. The Red Raiders’ win over Louisville was an impressive defensive display, but Louisville’s resume is beginning to make the case that they are one of the worst teams in the country. The Red Raiders’ second loss in Maui came against Ohio State, another opponent ranking in KenPom’s top 10 most efficient offenses. The Buckeyes shot 40% on 3-pointers and were led by Justice Sueing’s career-high 33 points. Texas Tech, who boasted one of the nation’s best defenses last season, will need to return to that form in a hurry if they want to compete in the Big 12.
The week to come: Wednesday, Nov. 30 vs. Georgetown
Texas Tech will look to bounce back with a single home game this week against the Big East’s Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown’s program has seen better days, struggling mightily under head coach Patrick Ewing. The Hoyas have yet to beat a team inside KenPom’s top 200 and are barely clinging to a spot inside the top 150 themselves. Tech’s sophomore center Daniel Batcho should have a field day on the glass against the Hoyas’ poor defensive rebounding, and the Red Raiders should put Georgetown to bed with ease at United Supermarkets Arena.