Texas College Hoops Roundup: No. 4 Texas hopes to build off impressive win while No. 21 Texas Tech and TCU head to Thanksgiving tournaments

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Justin Rex/AP/Shutterstock (13626086o) Texas Tech guard De’Vion Harmon (23) controls the ball against Louisiana Tech during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Lubbock, Texas Louisiana Tech Texas Tech Basketball, Lubbock, United States – 14 Nov 2022

Texas College Hoops Roundup: No. 4 Texas hopes to build off impressive win while No. 21 Texas Tech and TCU head to Thanksgiving tournaments

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. 7 BAYLOR BEARS (4-1, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 95-62 vs. Northern Colorado; Lost, 86-79 vs. No. 16 Virginia; Won, 80-75 vs. No. 8 UCLA

The Baylor Bears went 2-1 this week, topping lowly Northern Colorado at home with ease before playing two hard-fought games in Las Vegas against No. 16 Virginia and No. 8 UCLA. Virginia handed the Bears their first loss, mainly because they shot the lights out all night at T-Mobile Arena. The Cavaliers finished 9-of-14 on three-pointers, a 64% clip that allowed them to overcome the fact that Baylor out-rebounded them and committed one fewer turnover than they did. Baylor picked up 44 combined points from their backcourt trio of L.J. Cryer, Adam Flagler, and Keyonte George. Baylor’s win over No. 8 UCLA was a solid bounce-back performance, holding off the experienced Bruins in a game that was tight the entire way. Cryer scored 28 points in the win, a career-high, while Adam Flagler poured in 22 to make up for Keyonte George’s rough shooting night.

The week to come: Wednesday, Nov. 23, vs. McNeese St.

Baylor’s Thanksgiving week features just one matchup, Wednesday afternoon against the McNeese St. Cowboys. While many top-tier college teams play in early season tournaments over the holiday week, Baylor already got theirs out of the way and will be able to enjoy the holiday to a limited degree following their matchup with McNeese. The Cowboys rank 351st in KenPom’s college basketball rankings, so it would be alarming if they caused Baylor any problems.

TCU HORNED FROGS (3-1, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Lost, 64-63 vs. Northwestern State; Won, 95-60 vs. UL Monroe

If last week’s close wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Lamar were slightly concerning, TCU’s home loss to Northwestern State on Monday was like a blaring warning alarm that the Horned Frogs have plenty of work to do if they want to contend at the highest level. Northwestern State ranks 336th in KenPom even after topping the Frogs, and managed their upset in Fort Worth in part because TCU shot just 9.5% from three. The Horned Frogs’ performance against UL Monroe was a much better indication of who Jamie Dixon’s team would like to be, a wire-to-wire dominant performance of an inferior team resulting in a 35-point win.

The week to come: Friday, Nov. 25, vs. California (in Niceville, FL); Saturday, Nov. 26, vs. No. 25 Iowa or Clemson (Niceville, FL)

TCU will face more difficult competition this week as they head southeast to Niceville, Florida, for the Emerald Coast Classic Friday and Saturday – at least in theory. While the California Golden Bears play in the Pac-12, they’re currently 0-4 through the season’s first two weeks, with losses to schools like Southern, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. It would add to TCU’s alarming early season results to see them play even a close game with Cal. If the Horned Frogs handle business Friday, they’ll play Saturday against the winner of Iowa and Clemson in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic. Iowa boasts the third most efficient offense in the country, according to KenPom, and turns the ball over less than any team in the country. Clemson appears less likely to advance than Iowa, as they’ve struggled with lesser competition so far this season. The Horned Frogs’ performance this week will tell us a lot about what to expect from them moving forward.

No. 4 TEXAS LONGHORNS (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 93-74 vs. No. 2 Gonzaga

Longhorns basketball fans were excited about the 2022-2023 season to begin with, as a roster full of impact transfers and talented freshmen brought lofty expectations under second-year head coach Chris Beard. That enthusiasm reached a fever pitch Wednesday night when Texas blew out the then No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs in arguably the most impressive win by any team in the country. The Moody Center, which replaced the Erwin Center as the home of the Longhorns, was incredibly loud as Texas exploded for 47 points and a double-digit lead at halftime. Tyrese Hunter, a transfer from Iowa State, led the Longhorns with 26 points while drilling five of eight three-pointers. The win moved Texas all the way up to the top spot in KenPom’s efficiency margin-based rankings.

The week to come: Monday, Nov. 21, vs. Northern Arizona; Saturday, Nov. 26, vs. UT Rio Grande Valley

After a massive win with program-changing potential over Gonzaga last Wednesday, Thanksgiving week sees the Longhorns face a few lower-tier opponents. First, Texas will travel down to the bottom tip of Texas for a matchup with Northern Arizona in Edinburg, KenPom’s 223rd-ranked team. The Lumberjacks are just 1-3 against Division I competition, having already lost blowouts to Michigan State and Arizona State. Texas then heads back home for Saturday’s matchup against UT Rio Grande Valley. The Vaqueros rank just 338th nationally and don’t have a Division I win yet this season.


The week that was: Lost, 88-79 vs. Murray State; Lost, 103-75 vs. Colorado; Won, 67-51 vs. Loyola Chicago

Texas A&M entered the week ranked, but stumbled to two losses over three games in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Aggies first fell to Murray State by nine, a team ranked outside KenPom’s top 100 from the Missouri Valley Conference. The Aggies were undone by poor shooting against the Racers, who went an impressive 10-of-22 from three in the win. Texas A&M then dropped a game to Colorado in absolute blowout fashion, a 28-point defeat in which the Aggies were never really competitive. Colorado drilled 16-of-32 3-pointers, continuing a trend of Aggies’ opponents having no problems shooting over their defense. Buzz Williams’ Aggies did manage to escape Myrtle Beach with a win, Sunday’s 67-51 triumph over Loyola Chicago. Texas A&M only made 4-of-17 3-pointers in the loss, but ratcheted up their defensive effort significantly to pick up a much-needed win.

The week to come: Friday, Nov. 25, at DePaul

The Aggies’ Thanksgiving week schedule is a bit more relaxed than the previous week, with only one game Friday afternoon on the road at DePaul. The Blue Demons, who play in Chicago, do not enter Big East play with high expectations this year. DePaul dropped both games they played in the Bahamas last week, but remained competitive with both Santa Clara and Oklahoma State. DePaul, despite early losses, ranks well within the top 100 teams in the country per KenPom and will present a decent challenge for Texas A&M on the road.

No. 21 TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 64-55 vs. Louisiana Tech

Texas Tech took on a relatively tough challenge against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs last Monday, winning by nine after maintaining a lead most of the way. Head coach Mark Adams would undoubtedly like to see the Red Raiders play better in the week to come as they head to Hawaii for the always-tough Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

The week to come: Monday, Nov. 21, vs. No. 10 Creighton; Two additional Maui Invitational games guaranteed to follow

Texas Tech faces a real challenge with the Creighton Bluejays, a team projected by many to win the Big East conference. The Bluejays are led by a group of veteran players who can fill up a stat sheet, including South Dakota State transfer Baylor Scheierman and sophomores Ryan Kalkbrenner and Arthur Kaluma. The tournament in Maui won’t get any easier from there, as powerful squads like Arkansas, Arizona, and Cincinnati potentially awaits the Red Raiders, depending on how they perform. Mark Adams will leave Maui having learned a lot about where his team stands before Big 12 play.

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