WBB Watch Guide 12-8: Tennessee Comes To Austin

Photo by Russell Wilburn

Week three of college basketball is here. While there aren't any matchups of top 25 teams in the state of Texas this week — Sunday's Baylor/Arkansas and Texas/Texas A&M doubleheader really spoiled us — but we do get some solid games from both the top teams in the state and from lower-tier teams as well.

Let's see what you should be checking out this week.

All times are Central Time.

Cancellations:

- Prairie View A&M at Wisconsin, Tuesday December 8

Tuesday, December 8

UT Arlington at Stephen F. Austin at 6:30 p.m.
ESPN+

We haven't seen UTA since the opening day of the season, as a positive COVID case shut the program down. The Mavs were supposed to played Houston Tuesday, but that game was canceled and was replaced at the last minute with a meeting with the Ladyjacks that should be really good.

We haven't seen UTA against a Division I opponent yet, but Bre Wickware scored 21 against A&M Commerce and Katie Ferrell continued to do all the things other than scoring, with 11 rebounds and six assists.

Meanwhile, SFA is 4-1, with the only loss coming by single digits to Pac-12 opponent Arizona State. The combination of Zya Nugent, Marissa Banfield and Stephanie Visscher is playing some great basketball.

SFA is for real. Now, we get to see if UTA is too. This might be the game I'm most looking forward to all week.

UTRGV at Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 7 p.m.
Islanders Digital Network

 

Wednesday, December 9

Lamar at TCU at 11 a.m.
ESPN+

A morning game! Not one that I think will be particularly close, as Lamar is 1-4 on the season, but managed to lose in respectable fashion to Texas A&M twice and TCU isn't unbeatable.

Idaho at No. 23 Texas at 1 p.m.
Longhorn Network

Sam Houston State at Alabama at 2 p.m.
ESPN+

Keep your day of basketball going with one of the Southland's best heading to Alabama to face the Crimson Tide, who are 4-0 and have one of the country's best offensive ratings.

The Bearkats were picked second in the Southland preseason poll. They won their first two games against non-DI opponents easily, but lost to New Mexico on Sunday by nine. Amber Leggett is averaging 27 points per game so far, but it's been hard to know from their early schedule what this team is. Let's see if they can hang with Jasmine Walker, Jordan Lewis, and the rest of the top players for Alabama.

Texas State at Incarnate Word at 7 p.m.
UIW Digital Network

No. 13 Arkansas at SMU at 7 p.m.
ESPN+

On Sunday, Arkansas beat Baylor, in large part because Arkansas plays fast and has some great guard play with Chelsea Dungee and Destiny Slocum. This is such a fun team to watch, and you should watch them again on Wednesday night against SMU, even if this game won't be particularly close as the Mustangs are 0-3 and lost by 39 to Texas. But in a close loss to Texas State, we got to see what this SMU offense is going to be this year: just a ton of shot attempts for Kayla White and Rhyle McKinney.

Thursday, December 10

Mary Hardin-Baylor at Abilene Christian at 5:30 p.m.
ESPN+

UMHB is very good, but they're also a Division III school.

No. 7 Baylor at West Virginia at 6 p.m.
ESPN+

Baylor may have lost to Arkansas and they may have played a close one with South Florida, but don't get confused: the Lady Bears are still very, very good. They've just got to figure some things out offensively, liking finding more minutes for Dijonai Carrington and improving their spacing.

West Virginia is 4-0 and its defensive rating is in the 92nd percentile. The Mountaineers won three games by 20 or more points, then took overtime to beat Tennessee.

This is a good team! And Baylor is in real danger of dropping back-to-back games if it can't find a way to score on this defense!

No. 10 Texas A&M at Little Rock at 6:30 p.m.
ESPN+

Little Rock had been one of the best programs in the Sun Belt before last year's 12-win campaign that saw its offensive and defensive efficiency take a huge drop. But the Trojans are 2-1 this year, with wins over Memphis and Vanderbilt, so maybe Little Rock is on the rise? The Aggies are one of the country's best teams and should win this one by double digits behind N'dea Jones and Aaliyah Wilson, but this is a good chance to see what Little Rock can do considering two Texas schools are also in the Sun Belt's West division. 

Tarleton at Oral Roberts at 7 p.m.
ORU Digital Network

Friday, December 11

Texas Southern at Rice at 2 p.m.

Cancelations have led to just one game for Texas Southern so far, an impressive 85-64 win over UTRGV. This team got a big boost this season with the return of Niya Mitchell, and Ataiya Bridges will keep firing away when she gets the ball. There's some nice depth here too.

But Rice isn't UTRGV, even if Texas Southern did beat Rice last year and Rice lost Erica Ogwumike to graduation. The Owls are still very good, and the battle in the paint between Mitchell and Rice's Nancy Mulkey might be the best one-on-one matchup of the week. Hopefully by the time Friday gets here, we'll have found a way to watch this game.

(It's been incredibly hard to watch both Texas Southern and Prairie View A&M. Can ESPN step up and help expand access to HBCU conferences like the SWAC?)

Stephen F. Austin at Houston at 7:00 p.m.

Houston has been one of the more fun teams to watch this year. The Coogs have beaten a Big 12 and SEC school, plus played Alabama tough before the Crimson Tide pulled away in the second half.

This should be one of the best games of the week. The Cougars have gotten great production from Britney Onyeje, Dymond Gladney, and Julia Blackshell-Fair. They've played at a fast pace all year, but SFA's defense will look to slow this one down. Whoever can impose their style of play best probably comes away with the win.

 

Saturday, December 12

There are only two Division I games on Saturday in Texas, but if you're looking for competitive basketball in the state, it's the opening weekend of Lone Star Conference basketball for many LSC teams, so don't be afraid to search out some Division II ball!

McMurry at Houston Baptist at 12 p.m.

Champion Christian at Tarleton at 2 p.m.
Tarleton Athletics

Sunday, December 13

Middle Tennessee at TCU at 1 p.m.
ESPN+

0-1 after their first two games were postponed, MTSU was picked to win Conference USA in the preseason poll, receiving eight of 14 first place votes. If this team is as good as people in C-USA thought they were, TCU is going to have their hands full.

Concordia at Texas A&M Corpus Christi at 2 p.m.
Islanders Digital Network

Incarnate Word at UTSA at 2 p.m.

It's a rematch of last week's game, which saw UIW prevail and get their first win of the season! Cross-town battles are always fun.

Texas State at Oklahoma at 2 p.m.
Fox Sports Oklahoma

UTEP at Utah State at 3 p.m.

Tennessee at No. 23 Texas at 4 p.m.
ESPN

We've got a battle of WNBA Draft prospects! Charli Collier's skills for the Longhorns are well documented and are gaining national attention.

But Tennessee also has a top prospect in forward Rennia Davis. An efficient volume scorer who has done some great work on the boards, it's going to be tough for this young Texas team to stop her. That might be one of the biggest potential issues for Texas this year: stopping dynamic frontcourt players.

(Also, can ESPN keep this trend up of putting Texas schools on national television on Sunday afternoons? Thanks.)

Abilene Christian at No. 10 Texas A&M at 5 p.m.
SEC Network

Realistically, an exceptionally good Aggies team is going to win this game with ease.

But ACU has been one of the most fascinating teams in the state to me this year, largely because of how their schedule has shaped up. They enter the week 4-0 and will likely enter this game 5-0, but A&M will be just their second Division I opponent after Northern Colorado, who the Wildcats beat by 20. This team hasn't played any close games, so we'll see how they handle their first game where they aren't going to be favored. (Anna McLeod has been playing fantastic basketball, with a 53.1/60/84.2 shooting split right now.)

 

Monday, December 14

Texas Southern at LSU at 1 p.m.
ESPN+

North American University at Prairie View A&M at 3 p.m.

LeTourneau at Houston Baptist at 5 p.m.

Texas Tech at No. 7 Baylor at 6 p.m.
ESPNU

Things get a little easier for Baylor in this one after some tough games, but how much easier? Tech is playing well, led by Oklahoma State transfer Vivian Gray, whose game I wrote about last week. The Lady Raiders under new head coach Krista Gerlich certainly seem to be ahead of schedule.

Arlington Baptist at Tarleton at 6 p.m.
Tarleton Athletics

UTRGV at Kansas at 7 p.m.
ESPN+

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