Watch Guide 11-8: No Sug Sutton for Texas, big test for North Texas

Photo by John Hamilton

The first round of games of the opening week of college basketball is almost done. Now, teams will start to play teams around each other's skill level. Here's what you should pay attention to this weekend.

Friday

Evening Slate:

WBB: No. 15 Texas (0-0) at USF (1-0) at 6 p.m. on gousfbulls.com/watch
Without counting a competitive scrimmage against reigning DII national champion Lubbock Christian, this is the first look at the No. 15 Longhorns.

With Sug Sutton set to miss the season-opener, how will the Longhorns adjust with an added workload for Lashann Higgs and Charli Collier? Also, be on the look-out for Joanne Allen-Taylor to get a significant run in the early part of the season.

MBB: North Texas (1-0) at No. 25 VCU (1-0) at 6 p.m. on ESPN+
Grant McCasland’s quick turnaround of North Texas has the Mean Green rightfully anticipating a bit year three under the 43-year-old head coach. Tonight, is a matchup between two teams that were top 10 in defensive rating last season, VCU ranked second only to Texas Tech, while North Texas finished 10th.

Both teams are off to unbeaten starts following easy opening-night opponents. If UNT wants to beat its projected seventh-place finish in Conference USA, a good showing against a perennial mid-major power is a nice place to start.

Night Cap:

MBB: Washington (0-0) vs No. 16 Baylor (1-0) in Alaska at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Baylor had a convincing showing Tuesday afternoon against a solid Central Arkansas team projected to make a solid run in the Southland, but tonight is Baylor’s chance to really show its prominence.

Tristan Clark and Freddie Gillespie should be able to control the boards. Washington ranked 312th last season in rebounding percentage while the Bears ranked 24th. Part of this was the Huskies’ use of zone defense, but it’s still to be seen if Mike Hopkins can mitigate this in year two.

 

Saturday

Day Slate:

WBB: Little Rock (0-1) at Rice (1-0) at 1 p.m. on ESPN3
Get used to seeing Rice on this list because any chance to see perhaps the best mid-major in Texas college basketball should be taken. The big thing to watch out for here is if Rice pulls away and blows this one open late.

The Owls might be packing more of a punch than they did a year ago if they manage to blow out the Sun Belt Conference favorite and could be looking like a hot upset pick when No. 6 Texas A&M comes to the Tudor Fieldhouse on Nov. 17.

MBB: Texas Southern (0-1) at Wichita State (1-0) at 2 p.m. on ESPN3
Who’s ready to watch the non-conference juggernauts Texas Southern? As Baylor and Oregon can attest, it’s not wise to take the Tigers lightly in the early season. And that’s why this game against Wichita State is so intriguing. Yeah that happened, when TSU had a better non-conference win resume than some Power Five programs? Yeah.

Johnny Jones knows how to get TSU to play above its level against high-quality competition.

Evening Slate:

MBB: Texas at No. 23 Purdue on Fox Sports 1
Is there any head coach in the state on a hotter seat than Shaka Smart? If there is, show us. But despite missing out on the NCAA Tournament, the NIT Championship was a nice consolation prize. But things are still on shaky ground for Smart since Texas hasn’t hit the 20-win mark since his first season despite reeling in top prospects year in and year out. This year, it’s Will Baker that’s the gem of the class, but the biggest addition worth talking about has been the return of Andrew Jones.

In his first game back as a starter, Jones dropped a team-high 20 points against Northern Colorado.

Night Slate:

MBB: Tulsa (1-0) at UT-Arlington (1-0) at 7 p.m. on ESPN+
How does UTA get on with Edric Davis in Chris Ogden’s second season? Arkansas transfer Jordan Phillips had a promising debut for the Mavericks scoring 17 against UT-Dallas. Ogden should hope for Brian Warren to join him in that scoring output soon.

 

Sunday

WBB: Duke at No. 6 Texas A&M at 3 p.m. on SEC Network+  
I don’t want to step on Justin Carter’s feet here because he thoroughly broke down why this is a must-watch and what A&M needs to do to come away with a second win. Consdier this a re-emphasis.

 

Non-State Pick:

Sunday
WBB: No. 8 South Carolina at No. 4 Maryland at 2 p.m. on ESPN
If I really need to sell you on this, you don’t watch basketball enough.

The Gamecocks’ top-rated recruiting class got off to an impressive start in their first game with Aliyah Boston recording 10-block triple double with 12 points and 12 boards along with Zia Cooke’s 13 points. A chance to see them against a top program like Maryland is must-watch.

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