Midwestern State was expecting a slow start to this season and had a completely new team. How new exactly? The Mustangs have no players who played any minutes for MSU Texas last season and have a roster filled with transfers and redshirt freshmen. The Mustangs have played well with the new roster, they went to Pueblo, Colo. and left with two wins. The Mustangs defeated Colorado State-Pueblo 92-66 last Friday before winning 75-71 over Adams State.
St. Mary’s (Tex.) are a traditional basketball school who has struggled with some lean years recently. The Rattlers could be turning things around this season as they are 3-2 after picking up three wins last week. The Rattlers defeated Texas A&M-Kingsville 60-55 on the road last Wednesday before playing in the Courtyard Marriot Classic in Laredo, Texas. The Rattlers left with a 75-71 win over UT Permian Basin followed by a 73-62 win over NCCAA Arlington Baptist.
Dallas Baptist began the season with a No. 21 national ranking and the favorites to win the Heartland Conference. The Patriots got off to a rough start and dropped the first game of the season 91-80 to south central region foe and surprising Colorado Mesa squad. The Patriots have not lost since and have won three straight games. DBU beat NCAA DIII Howard Payne 95-60 last Tuesday then defeated Ouachita Baptist 100-77.
Texas A&M-Commerce is a team who expects to compete for the Lone Star Conference title and ultimately host a south central regional in the NCAA DII playoffs. Last week did not follow that plan and the team began with a tough 102-53 exhibition loss to NCAA DI North Texas. The Lions then traveled to the high altitude of Gunnison, Colo. and lost the first game of the weekend 102-83 to Colorado Mesa.
Angelo State is another team who has reasonable expectations to reach the postseason every year. Head coach Cinco Boone has another talented squad this season and they got off to a 3-0 start. After defeating NAIA Jarvis Christian 98-62 last Friday to open the Ed Messbarger Classic, the Rams fell 65-58 to St. Edward’s in a game where the winner would be the early favorite to challenge for the south-central regional title.
Texas A&M-Kingsville hopes to be a surprise team this season and finish near the top of the Lone Star Conference. This season has not gone according to plan so far for the Javelinas as they are currently 1-2. The Javelinas began the season with an 80-71 loss to South Dakota Mines on the road and a 71-59 win over Chadron State also on the road. However, they lost their home opener 60-55 to St. Mary’s (Tex.).
GAMES TO WATCH:
Colorado State-Pueblo at No. 8 West Texas A&M Friday at 5 p.m. in Canyon, Texas
Texas A&M-Commerce at No. 25 Regis (Colo.) Friday at 8 p.m. in Denver
Central Oklahoma at Lubbock Christian Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Canyon, Texas
Texas A&M-Kingsville at St. Edward’s Saturday at 4 p.m. in Austin, Texas
Dallas Baptist at Northeastern State Saturday at 4 p.m. in Tahlequah, Okla.
Hardin-Simmons bounced back from a tough week last week and earned its first victory of the season with a 96-71 win over Southwestern (Tex.). Before the Cowboys played the Pirates, they traveled to San Marcos, Texas to battle NCAA DI Texas State and left with a 97-52 defeat. When teams play two levels up, they usually don’t fare well, but the Cowboys can take some solace in the fact they played the Bobcats tough in the second half of the game.
Southwestern had an interesting week that ended with some positives. The Pirates began the week with a 97-67 loss to a very tough NCAA DII St. Edward’s squad last Tuesday. The Pirates then took another 96-71 loss on Thursday to Hardin-Simmons. However, the Pirates were able to finish the week strong and defeated Howard Payne 86-56.
Schreiner won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason tournament last year and have hopes to return to the NCAA DIII tournament. The season got off to a rough start as they began 0-2 after a 77-69 loss to a talented LeTourneau team last Friday. The Mountaineers were able to end the week on a positive note as they won 83-82 over East Texas Baptist for their first win of the season.
UT-Dallas are coming off a 19-8 season last year and are trying to earn a trip to the NCAA DIII tournament this season. So far, the results have been varied as the team opened with a 104-60 win over Hendrix before suffering a 76-61 loss to Southwestern (Tex.) on the road. The Comets will hope to turn things around this week and will play a tough Whitworth team Saturday before playing Trinity (Tex.) on Sunday.
Trinity (Tex.) has played a difficult schedule in the early going and the record is indicative of the competition. The Tigers are currently 3-0 after falling 79-68 to Mary Hardin-Baylor last Wednesday. The Tigers then traveled to Arlington, Va. for the Pablo Coto Tip-Off Tournament. The Tigers lost 67-51 to Chris. Newport on Saturday before falling 65-55 to Wilmington (Ohio) to finish the tournament.
Howard Payne is a team that may unfortunately have many tough weeks this season. The Yellow Jackets were hoping to improve off their 11-15 record last season, but the early going has been tough and the team are currently 0-3 on the season. HPU predictably lost 95-60 to a good NCAA DII Dallas Baptist team last Tuesday. The tough loss was last Saturday as they fell 86-56 to Southwestern (Tex.) on the road.
GAMES TO WATCH:
Texas Lutheran at Hardin-Simmons Friday at 5 p.m. in Abilene, Texas
UT-Tyler at Colorado College Friday at 8 p.m. in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Whitworth vs UT-Dallas at 3 p.m. Saturday in San Antonio
Southwestern (Tex.) at Mary Hardin-Baylor Saturday at 6 p.m. in Belton, Texas
Schreiner at Hardin-Simmons Saturday at 3 p.m. in Abilene, Texas
Cory Hogue is Dave Campbell's Texas Basketball small college correspondent follow him on Twitter at @HoagieSports and be sure to visit his website (linked below) for more coverage of Division II and Division III collegiate athletics.