Another week of basketball is upon us. Last week's highlight games included a pair of Texas A&M wins over ranked teams, pushing the Aggies record to 12-0 on the year, though they only made it up to No. 7 in the AP poll.
This week, we've got plenty of great games on the docket, including more big contests for Texas A&M, plus a lot of strong games for the state's Conference USA teams. Southland play heats up as well. It's a good week to watch women's basketball in Texas!
Below is this week's Watch Guide. All times are Central and all information is tentative, as COVID issues continue to pop up across the college sports landscape.
Wednesday, January 13th
Tulsa at Houston at 3 p.m.
Texas Tech at West Virginia at 6 p.m.
Sam Houston at Lamar at 7 p.m.
After a 1-7 non-conference schedule, you'd be forgiven for writing off the Cardinals. But Lamar then went out and dominated Nicholls State to open Southland play, winning 66-40 in a game where four players scored nine or more points. This is a well-rounded Lamar squad. Sam Houston is supposed to be one of the conference's top teams — more on that later — so this will be a big test for the Cardinals.
Abilene Christian at Central Arkansas at 7 p.m.
Thursday, January 14th
No. 7 Texas A&M at LSU at 6 p.m.
Kansas at No. 21 Texas at 7 p.m.
Hey, the Jayhawks are 5-2 on the season! Led by Holly Kersgieter and her 16.8 points per game on 47.9/45.2/100 shooting splits, Kansas hasn't played since December 29th. They get back into action on the road against the Longhorns, who just lost by 34 to West Virginia. Uhh...what? Confidence in this team has to be slightly lower than it was before, but that game also saw star center Charli Collier get into some serious foul trouble. Can Texas rebound in this one?
Friday, January 15th
Little Rock at Texas State at 4 p.m.
Rice at Old Dominion at 5:30 p.m.
While Old Dominion is just 2-2 in conference play, this is still the team that was picked to finish third (behind Middle Tennessee and Rice) in the conference preseason poll. Rice is 8-1 though, with that only loss coming in a close one against undefeated Texas A&M. The Owls have developed a really strong strategy for this year: surround Nancy Mulkey with shooters and see what happens. The mix of Mulkey's defense and this team's shooting was them with a net rating 23.2, which ranks in the 92nd percentile.
California Baptist at Tarleton at 6 p.m.
Tarleton is still searching for its first win over a Division I opponent this season and it probably won't come against an undefeated Cal Baptist team, but hey -- a chance to watch the WAC's best team!
Louisiana Tech at UTSA at 6 p.m.
UT Arlington at Louisiana at 6 p.m.
The Mavs have won three games in a row, delivering absolute beatdowns of ULM last weekend. Lousiana is a better team than its statemates in Monroe, but UTA is making a strong case for the Sun Belt crown right now. Bre Wickware is playing some strong basketball, scoring 25 points last game and topping double figures in all but two contests this season.
North Texas at UTEP at 6 p.m.
Maybe my most-anticipated series of the weekend is the two-parter between the Mean Green and the Miners.
UNT is off to a shockingly good start, sitting 4-0 in conference play and 7-2 overall. Jalie Mitchell's squad is getting some outstanding play from New Mexico transfer Quincy Noble, who is averaging 20 points per game so far. Noble has provided a huge boost to this team, especially in terms of shooting.
UTEP's win/loss record isn't as good, but they're also led by strong guard play. I wrote last week about how well Katia Gallegos is playing for them. But this team is also more than just Gallegos. Avery Crouse is playing well. The team added transfer Isis Lopes a few games back, and she's shooting 57.7 percent from the floor so far. These games are going to be so good.
Saturday, January 16th
Southeastern Lousiana at Abilene Christian at 1 p.m.
ACU is 8-2, but with five of those wins coming against non-Division I schools, we still need to watch these contests against the mid-pack Southland schools carefully for now to see how the Wildcats are doing. SELA is 3-3 on the year and 2-1 in conference play, with Hailey Giaratano playing some strong ball for them. ACU should be the better team here, but there's still plenty of mystery about this team.
North Texas at UTEP at 1 p.m.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Lamar at 2 p.m.
Houston Baptist at Sam Houston at 2 p.m.
HBU is 5-3, y'all! And even if those wins aren't the most impressive wins in the country, the Huskies have won their past two games over DI opponents, including an 82-56 victory over Northwestern State last game. They're shooting well from deep and look poised to take a big step forward after last year's 8-21 season.
On the other side is Sam Houston. The Bearkats are just 1-3 against DI opponents, with that only win coming over UTSA. Amber Leggett and Faith Cook aren't shooting as well as anticipated, but they're getting strong contributions from Courtney Cleveland and Jolicia Williams. Things should start to move in the right direction for this team soon.
Houston at ECU at 2:30 p.m.
Jackson State at Prairie View A&M at 3 p.m.
PVAMU Sports Network
California Baptist at Tarleton at 3 p.m.
Rice at Old Dominion at 3 p.m.
Stephen F Austin at Incarnate Word at 3 p.m.
UIW student-run tv
It's been a weird year for UIW, as they've played just once since December 5th. They've played zero conference games. But they looked like a decent team before all of that and it looks like we'll finally see them in action on Saturday. SFA will be a tough one for the Cardinals though, as the Ladyjacks have a pretty firm grasp on the top of the Southland. The trio of Stephanie Visscher, Zya Nugent, and Aiyana Johnson have been stellar this year.
Louisiana Tech at UTSA at 4 p.m.
Little Rock at Texas State at 4 p.m.
UT Arlington at Louisiana at 4 p.m.
Grambling State at Texas Southern at 5:30 p.m.
Iowa State at No. 6 Baylor at 7 p.m.
Baylor has been shut down for a little bit after head coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19, but they'll be back in action on Saturday night against Iowa State.
This game meets a very basic rule I've set: watch Iowa State and Ashley Joens play. It also meets the "watch Baylor" rule.
The Lady Bears might not have gotten the chance to play UConn last week, but they should still loom large in the national consciousness because this is a good team that continues to get better. The shooting is arriving. The efficiency for NaLyssa Smith is arriving. Baylor had some close ones at the beginning of the season, but this team now looks like the class of the Big 12. But hey — they looked that way last year too and then lost to Iowa State, so...tune in!
Sunday, January 17th
No. 14 Mississippi State at No. 7 Texas A&M at 12 p.m.
The Aggies got a bit of a break from their SEC gauntlet by playing LSU earlier in the week (I say with the assumption A&M wins that game, which has not happened yet) but then get another top-15 matchup against Mississippi State.
Despite losing their head coach to Texas before the season, the Bulldogs and new coach Nikki McCray-Penson are still 8-2. The Jessika Carter/Rickea Jackson duo is still dominant. This is going to be a very, very fun contest, as these teams should match up well, especially inside.
Kansas at TCU at 1 p.m.
Texas Tech at No. 21 Texas at 3 p.m.
Monday, January 18th
Northwestern State at Incarnate Word at 3 p.m.
Grambling State at Prairie View A&M at 5:30 p.m.
PVAMU Sports Network
Jackson State at Texas Southern at 5:30 p.m.
When I was writing my preseason preview for the magazine over Texas Southern, this was the game I targeted as my game of the year for the Tigers. While Jackson State has a loss in SWAC play already, this is still likely a battle for control of the conference. TSU is playing strong basketball thanks to Ataiya Bridges. Jackson State is a strong defensive team with the high-scoring duo of Dayzsha Rogan on the outside and Ameshya Williams on the inside.