Texas 25: Things are CHANGING

Photo from Texas Athletics

Welcome back to the Texas 25, an occasional look around women's college basketball in the state of Texas, where we put every team into a tier based on how their seasons are going.

The state of Texas is in full upheaval mode right now—teams that we thought were good aren't and teams that we thought were bad are competing for conference titles. It's a weird time to be paying attention to women's basketball in the Lone Star State, so let's take a look at how all 25 Division I programs are stacking up right now.

National Title Contenders

Texas (4-1): Yes, the Longhorns are only ranked 25th in the country. But if there's a team that can go on a tournament run because of its defense, it's Texas, which is coming off of a big win over Iowa State last time out.

 

Conference Contenders

Prairie View A&M (5-1): After losing their first game of conference play, the Panthers have run off five straight wins...including a season-defining win over SWAC favorite Jackson State. Can the Panthers pull off the unthinkable and end Jackson State's run?

Stephen F. Austin (14-3): The battle for the WAC looks like a three-team race with SFA, Grand Canyon and Southern Utah. The Ladyjacks are currently third of that group in the standings, but they lead the WAC in points per game and margin per game. The only blemish on their WAC resume is a four-point loss to GCU.

Texas A&M-Commerce (7-10): 5-0 in Southland play, the Lions are nailing this transition to Division I. Too bad that they aren't eligible for the NCAA tournament yet, but they're in the drivers seat when it comes to the regular season title.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (9-7): The Islanders are the favorites to make the tournament out of the Southland because Commerce isn't eligible, though Southeastern Louisiana has a H2H win over the Islanders.

UTEP (12-4): Middle Tennessee will probably run away with Conference USA, but UTEP has positioned itself to pounce if anything happens with the Blue Raiders. Former UNT teammates N'Yah Boyd and Jazion Jackson have combined to average 24.8 points per game in conference play.

 

Stock Rising

Houston (6-11): The Cougars were in the basement last month. Suddenly, they're third in the American with a 3-1 conference record. This is a veteran team, so the possibility of them turning it around was always there, but things felt really stagnant for a couple months. Now, the team's playing up to its talent level, and while beating South Florida or Tulsa for a conference title would be tough, things are going the right way.

Texas State (12-5): The Bobcats have won two in a row by double figures. Their conference losses were bad, but they're 4-2 in the Sun Belt and have a chance to make some noise.

 

Steady

Abilene Christian (9-8): You can always count on the Wildcats to be in the top half of the WAC. Through six conference games, they're third in scoring offense and second in offensive rating.

Incarnate Word (7-8): The Cardinals started WAC play 0-3, but those losses were all to the top two teams in the conference. They've won two straight since, including a win over Southeastern Louisiana.

Lamar (8-8): Lamar has lost three of its last four games, but a win over a pretty good Southeastern Louisiana team was sandwiched in the middle, which keeps them in this tier because we've seen that when they play their best, they can beat most Southland teams.

North Texas (6-11): There are better teams in the two tiers below, but give the Mean Green some credit here for their current two-game winning streak, which has rescued this team from the basement. Will they sustain this, though? Based on how non-conference went, I'm still worried that the bottom could fall out.

SMU (12-5): The Mustangs won't win the American—and they've lost to Houston and Texas A&M this season—but they're playing solid basketball right now.

 

Stock Falling

Baylor (12-5): The Bears are unranked, which is just absolutely shocking, because the team hasn't been unranked since 2004. Just a weird season in Waco, though there's still time to turn things around.

Houston Christian (7-9): In the preseason, I thought HCU might have a shot to win the Southland. But they've lost three of their last four games, and their two conference wins are both over New Orleans, the last-place team in the conference.

Rice (12-4): Is Rice the worst Conference USA team from Texas? I don't think so, and their non-conference results show that at its best, this is a team that can beat most anyone. But the Owls are 3-4 in conference play, and that drop from where we expected them to be has been pretty steep.

Sam Houston (6-9): The Bearkats looked like they might be a surprise in the WAC, but they've now lost three in a row.

Texas Tech (14-4): The Red Raiders did a lot of good stuff in non-conference, but they were always on shaky ground because of a light strength of schedule. Now that Big 12 play is here, the team is 2-3 in the conference, with both wins coming over the conference's other bottom dwellers, TCU and Kansas State.

UT Arlington (8-10): The Mavs were supposed to contend for a WAC title in their first year in the conference, but the losses from last year's team have added up, and the team has lost three of its last four games. Starr Jacobs continues to impress, though.

UTRGV (7-9): The Vaqueros have dropped five of their last six games, but could get back on track next time out against UT Arlington, the lone team they beat during this stretch.

 

Basement

Tarleton (7-10): The Texans have lost seven of their last eight games against Division I opponents. Five of those losses were by double digits.

TCU (6-10): The Horned Frogs are the only Big 12 team without a conference victory. That should change at some point, but don't be shocked if TCU only gets one or two Big 12 victories.

Texas A&M (5-11): Tough place to see the Aggies, but Joni Taylor's first season just isn't going well. A&M is 0-6 in conference play and their five wins are four fewer than any other SEC team has.

Texas Southern (1-16): The Tigers picked up their first win of the season, beating Mississippi Valley State 77-61. Unfortunately, that's still the team's only win this year.

UTSA (4-12): This Roadrunners team has pieces, but they just aren't really coming out of the basement yet. They're 2-5 in conference play, but rank last in the conference in both scoring offense and margin per game, and are 10th in net rating.

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