Texas College Hoops Roundup: TCU heads to Utah for tough test while Texas adjusts to new reality under interim coach Rodney Terry

Dec 18, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs head coach Jaime Dixon looks on from the sidelines during the second half against the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Texas College Hoops Roundup: TCU heads to Utah for tough test while Texas adjusts to new reality under interim coach Rodney Terry

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. 12 BAYLOR BEARS (9-2, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 65-59 vs. Washington State

Baylor pulled out a win Sunday night in Dallas in its only game of the week, topping the Washington State Cougars 65-59 in a back-and-forth, low-scoring battle. Baylor struggled to pull away from the Cougars until the final few minutes, taking the lead for good with 10:32 to go but only holding a three-point advantage at the five-minute mark of the second half. Washington State helped the Bears by shooting exceptionally poorly at the free-throw line (58%) and turning the ball over 16 times on the night. The Bears’ defense held the Cougars to a season-low 59 points and needed every bit of its effort on that end of the floor to overcome a poor 3-point shooting night of its own. Baylor finished the night just 6-for-24 from 3 and was out-rebounded – but when it counted, guards Keyontae George and Adam Flagler made the plays their team needed. George’s 19 points and Flagler’s 12 paced the Bears, who improved to 9-2 with Big 12 play quickly approaching.

The week to come: Tuesday, Dec. 20 vs. Northwestern State

Baylor returns home for Tuesday night’s matchup with Northwestern State out of the Southland Conference. The Demons are a matchup the Bears ought to dominate in theory, although Northwestern State does have a win on the road at TCU under its belt. Baylor should dominate the Demons on the glass and score at will, as Northwestern State ranks outside KenPom’s top 300 in both defensive rebounding and defensive efficiency. Where the Demons can cause problems for teams that overlook them is in transition – Corey Gipson’s team creates the 16th-most steals in the country with its pressure defense. Unless Baylor’s excellent backcourt melts down, the Bears ought to handle business.

No. 20 TCU HORNED FROGS (9-1, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 88-43 vs. Mississippi Valley State

TCU handled Mississippi Valley State as comfortably as expected, more than doubling up the Delta Devils in a matchup that was never close. The Horned Frogs scored 53 in an explosive first half. Head coach Jamie Dixon was able to get all 15 players on the roster into the game, and six different Frogs scored nine or more points.

The week to come: Wednesday, Dec. 21 at Utah (in Salt Lake City, UT)

The Frogs will travel to Salt Lake City for a battle with the Utah Utes out of the Pac-12 this week, albeit not in the Utes’ home arena. The programs will instead play at the home of the NBA’s Utah Jazz, Vivint Arena. The Utes are 9-3 but have an impressive win over then-No. 4 Arizona on their resume. Utah presents an elite challenge on the defensive end, ranking sixth nationally according to KenPom at defending 3-pointers and third nationally in effective field goal percentage allowed. Where Utah is far from elite is on the glass, which happens to be an area the Horned Frogs thrive. TCU pulls down 35.9% of its own offensive rebounds, ranking 25th nationally per KenPom. If the Frogs can remain patient, seek good shots, and give themselves second chances, they’ll have a good chance to succeed in a challenging road environment at elevation.

No. 7 TEXAS LONGHORNS (9-1, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 87-81 vs. Rice; Won, 72-62 vs. Stanford 

Texas picked up wins over Rice and Stanford this past week, but the bigger news surrounding the program was made away from the court. Longhorns’ head coach Chris Beard was arrested by Austin police and booked at the Travis County jail at 4:18 a.m. CT on Monday on a charge of assault on a family or household member in which their breathing was impeded. Beard has been suspended indefinitely without pay by the University of Texas, with assistant coach Rodney Terry taking the reins in his stead. Rice kept things uncomfortably close with an understandably-distracted Texas team Monday night, but Marcus Carr’s 28 points helped ensure an 87-81 win. The Longhorns turned the ball over just eight times in their 10-point win over Stanford, led by Carr’s 17 points.

The week to come: Wednesday, Dec. 21 vs. Louisiana

Texas continues onward without its head coach this week with just one game, a home date with Louisiana on Wednesday night. The Ragin’ Cajuns come to Austin with an impressive 10-1 record but have yet to win a game over a team ranked in KenPom’s top 140. Louisiana has shot the ball impressively from the 3-point line this season, converting 38.4% of its shots from beyond the arc. The Longhorns’ intense defensive pressure should cause problems for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who are seeking the most impressive win in program history on the road in Austin.


The week that was: Lost, 83-79 at Memphis

Texas A&M played just its second road game of the season Saturday at Memphis and lost by four points in a hard-fought battle with the talented Tigers. The Aggies dominated the game on the glass, out-rebounding Memphis 37-26, but could not overcome a poor shooting performance along with 17 turnovers. Wade Taylor IV led the Aggies with 25 points while making nine of his 10 free throw attempts, but it was not enough to overcome the Tigers’ 55.8% field goal percentage. Kendric Davis paced Memphis with 23 points and nine assists in what Texas A&M hopes is a game to learn from as it heads toward SEC play.

The week to come: Wednesday, Dec. 21 vs. Wofford

The Aggies will welcome the Wofford Terriers of the Southern Conference to Reed Arena in College Station Wednesday night. Wofford has already played two SEC opponents this season, losing both games by a total of six points. The Terriers struggle defensively with contesting shots, but rarely foul their opponents and do a good job of forcing turnovers. Wofford’s defense should provide Texas A&M to get back in a shooting groove, but Jay McAuley’s team has already shown how competitive it can be in close road losses to LSU and Vanderbilt.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (8-2, 0-0 Big 12)

The week that was: Won, 77-70 vs. Eastern Washington; Won, 102-52 vs. Jackson State

Texas Tech struggled to pull away from Eastern Washington Tuesday night, winning 77-70 after the game was tied 29-29 at halftime. Kevin Obanor led the Red Raiders with 25 points and 10 rebounds, extending Tech’s home winning streak to 27 games. Texas Tech went just 4-for-25 on 3-pointers in the win but forced 21 turnovers to hold off the Eagles’ upset bid. Saturday’s win in Houston over Jackson State was much more comfortable, a 50-point throttling of the Tigers in which the Red Raiders led 52-17 at halftime. Jackson State turned the ball over a remarkable 30 times, and five different Texas Tech players finished in double figures.

The week to come: Wednesday, Dec. 21 vs. Houston Christian

Texas Tech plays just one game this week, a Wednesday matinee at home against Houston Christian. The Huskies are just 3-9 and have not beaten a Division I opponent this season. They’ve played one other Big 12 opponent this season, an 82-31 loss at the hands of Texas. The Red Raiders should be able to name their score Wednesday afternoon.

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