The second week of college basketball game is already upon us, and we've already gotten some COVID-related cancelations, as Baylor had an opening week game against Northwestern State canceled and UT-Arlington had a case in program that led them to pause activities.
This week, we start to get into the big games, including a nationally televised double-header on Sunday that sees historic rivals Texas and Texas A&M face off. This is the first meeting between the teams since 2014. It's always a big week in the state of Texas when these programs meet.
- TCU at Missouri at 2 p.m., Dec. 6
All times are Central Time.
Tuesday, December 1
UT Permian Basin at Abilene Christian at 1 p.m.
No. 4 Baylor at South Florida at 6 p.m.
South Florida has been one of the AAC's best teams, though it took a bit of a step back last season as they won just 59.4 percent of its games. There are some interesting pieces on this team, like Beth Mununga and Beatriz Jordao up front, who can potentially give the Lady Bears some trouble. South Florida is mostly comprised of international players, with just three players on the roster from U.S. high schools. Baylor should take care of business, but I'm pretty sure I said something similar last year before the Bulls took down Texas 64-57.
Wednesday, December 2
Lamar at No. 12 Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi at UTRGV at 4 p.m.
WAC Digital Network
Bacone College at Tarleton at 6 p.m.
New Mexico State at UTEP at 6 p.m.
One of two games Wednesday that's a rematch of a game that happened last week — Lamar/A&M being the other. UTEP is off to a 2-0 start, including an 80-76 win over New Mexico State last Wednesday. That game went to overtime, and Katia Gallegos played 44 minutes while scoring 25 points. If Avery Crouse can start connecting on her 3-pointers a little more, UTEP can get off to a 3-0 start, though it's very tough to beat an opponent twice in such a short time.
No. 23 Iowa State at TCU at 6:30 p.m.
The game of the day, if for no other reason than that it's a very, very early Big 12 conference game and the first chance for a Texas team to see Iowa State, arguably the preseason favorite to finish second in the conference if you go off of national polls. The Cyclones actually lost by seven to South Dakota State this past week, but don't let that result fool you: the Jackrabbits received some votes in both the preseason AP and Coaches polls. Iowa State — led by one of the best players in the country, Ashley Joens, who is averaging 30.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game so far — is tough. This game will tell us a lot about TCU's current status in the Big 12 in a year where many picked them to finish near the bottom.
Texas Tech at Vanderbilt at 7 p.m.
Tech is 2-0 under Krista Gerlich and Vivian Gray is proving to be a vital addition to this team, currently averaging 24 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per contest. And now, here comes Vanderbilt, playing its first game after the first two were canceled. The Commodores haven't been among the best teams in the SEC, but last year managed to finish 14-16, though they ended the year on a low note, losing 12 of their last 14 games. But they have some talented young players like Koi Love and some solid veteran leadership from Chelsie Hall and Jordyn Cambridge. Don't look past them.
Louisiana Tech at No. 25 Texas at 7 p.m.
You don't necessarily need to watch this game, as Texas shouldn't have much trouble with the Lady Techsters. But I just wanted a chance to acknowledge that Texas center Charli Collier scored 44 points against UNT on Sunday.
Thursday, December 3
Jacksonville State at Stephen F. Austin at 6:30 p.m.
UTSA at Incarnate Word at 7 p.m.
UIW Digital Network
It's a battle of San Antonio schools as the Roadrunners travel across town to face the Cardinals. UTSA lost its only game to a Division I opponent, falling on Monday to UTRGV. Incarnate Word is 0-2, but it's been a hard-fought 0-2, as they hung close with TCU for a half and just barely lost to UTEP. So, who'll take the crown as the top team in San Antonio (at least until the rematch on the 13th)? Starr Omozee has been playing well for UIW to start the year, and even though UTSA has won both previous meetings, I think I have the Cardinals as slight favorites here.
Texas State at SMU at 7 p.m.
The Bobcats dropped a close one to New Orleans to open the season, but Da'Nasia Hood will look to power them to its first victory of the season against SMU, who opened its season with a 39-point loss to Texas that saw just one player, Amber Bacon, score in double figures. There's a lot of question marks on this Mustangs team, who finished under .500 the past two years, which is the exact same thing that's happened to the Bobcats. Both programs should improve in the near future.
Friday, December 4
Abilene Christian at Northern Colorado at 7:30 p.m.
Abilene Christian is off to a good start, but its first three games were all against Division II and Division III teams. This is the first chance to see how they look against Division I competition, albeit not against a great DI school, as the Bears started 0-2. Still, we'll probably have a better idea of what the Wildcats are after this.
North Texas at Louisiana
Saturday, December 5
Arlington Baptist at Houston Baptist at Noon
Auburn at Houston at 1 p.m.
The Cougars really aren't afraid to play anyone. After a season-opening win over Oklahoma followed by a road loss to Alabama that was closer than the final score indicates, Houston returns home to face another major-conference opponent, Auburn. While not expected to be a top SEC team, the Tigers do have a star that the Cougars will have to figure out on the interior in Unique Thompson. Houston will need some combination of Tatyana Hill, Daphane White, or Jazmaine Lewis to show up inside to use their size against Thompson, but none of them are averaging more than 17 minutes per game. Meanwhile, Britney Onyeje is off to a fast start, and she'll need to keep shooting well from outside to get UH to 2-1 on the season.
St. Edward's at Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 2 p.m.
Islanders Digital Network
Tarleton at Lamar at 2 p.m.
Lamar had a tough schedule to start the year, as they ended up facing Texas A&M twice, plus lost to San Diego State and Fresno State. Good on Lamar for not being afraid to play anyone! This will be their best chance to break into the win column for the first time this year. Anyssia Gibbs has been Lamar's best offensive player, while Jadyn Pimentel has provided solid minutes as well. But Tarleton's not going to make things easy on the Cardinals. Leading scorer Iyana Dorsey is tough to stop, and Callie Boyles is averaging three blocks per game. Neither of these programs are going to win their conferences this year, but there's fascinating things about each that make this an intriguing matchup.
UT Dallas at Stephen F. Austin at 2 p.m.
Sul Ross at Incarnate Word at 2 p.m.
UIW Digital Network
Sunday, December 6
UTRGV at Texas Southern at Noon
SWAC Digital Network
Considering Texas Southern hasn't played a game yet and no schedule is listed on its website and we know its game this week against A&M was canceled, let's be a little tentative with this one. But if it does happen, it's our first chance to see a Lady Tigers team that has senior Niya Mitchell back for one more go, plus has a highly-touted JUCO transfer, Ayanna Clark, who was the 18th-ranked player in the Class of 2017 according to ESPN and originally committed to USC back when Cynthia Cooper-Dyke — the current TSU head coach — was coaching there.
UT Arlington at Kansas State at Noon
This is scheduled to be UT Arlington's return after the program was shut down for two games by a COVID positive. We'll have to see if that ends up being the case or not.
No. 4 Baylor at No. 16 Arkansas at 5 p.m.
The first game of a Texas double-header on ESPN2 is one of my most anticipated games of the year, as Baylor heads to Arkansas to face a fascinating Razorbacks team.
After a 3-0 start, Arkansas lost to Maryland by 19 on Sunday. The Terps held Chelsea Dungee to 35.7 percent shooting, but that game was more about Arkansas having no answer for the Maryland offense. But I don't think Baylor has quite the same offensive attack as Maryland, which should give Arkansas a better chance in this one. With no DiDi Ricards, Baylor will have to find a way to slow the Razorbacks at the point of attack and keep Destiny Slocum from going off. Arkansas should have a lot of trouble with Baylor's interior size, though, and I'd expect big games from NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo. Arkansas plays at such a fast pace — 13th in possessions per 40 minutes right now — while Baylor's a little slower, finishing 60th in possessions per 40 last season. It's an intriguing matchup.
No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 25 Texas at 7 p.m.
Here we go! Longhorns! Aggies! It's the game of the week, as new Texas coach Vic Schaefer faces his mentor, A&M coach Gary Blair. It's also a game that features a great battle up front, with Texas center Charli Collier vs A&M's Ciera Johnson and N'dea Jones. Expect to see plenty of post work in this one.
I'm much more interested in the matchups away from the basket, though, because I think that'll be key to determining this game. Both teams will get theirs inside — who'll excel on the perimeter?
As Ben Dull wrote this week in his Floor Game newsletter, Celeste Taylor has been key for Texas so far. A two-game sample is incredibly small, but Taylor is scoring 1.143 points per possession in the half court, a big step up from the 0.684 she scored last year. Taylor's hands have been important on the defensive end as well, as she averaged six steals in the first two contests. Freshman Ashley Chevalier has been a key bench contributor, averaging 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 57.1 percent from the floor.
For the Aggies, we aren't getting the full experience yet of Destiny Pitts, though her 5.5 3-point attempts per game have provided an important wrinkle to this team. Kayla Wells is playing well as she steps into a larger role, and after beating top-25 DePaul on the road, I think I'm getting at least partially convinced that A&M without Chennedy Carter will be fine.
Monday, December 7
SMU at Oklahoma State at 6:30 p.m.