The Big 12 Conference released its preseason baseball poll this week, and TCU was picked to win the conference with five first-place votes.
Oklahoma State follows in second in the poll, garnering the remaining four first-place votes. Texas Tech is picked to finish third, with Texas fourth and Oklahoma rounding out the top five. Baylor is picked to finish last in the conference.
The Big 12 also announced its preseason All-Conference baseball team, and local schools are heavily represented.
Twelve players from Texas schools were named to the team, including Preseason Player of the Year Brayden Taylor (TCU) and Preseason Freshman of the Year Anthony Silva (TCU).
TCU leads the way with six preseason all-conference players. Two players from Oklahoma also made the list.
TCU’s HOT START
With Tuesday night’s win over Oklahoma, TCU’s men’s basketball team is off to its best start since the 1997-98 season. That season, TCU lost to Florida State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and finished ranked No.15 after leading the country with 97.2 points per game.
This year’s team has done it with defense and fast-break offense. The Horned Frogs are currently ranked 11th in the AP poll and average 77.7 points per game, with three players averaging double figures.
Coach Jamie Dixon has made it clear all season that the Big 12 is one of the most demanding conferences in the country, but TCU’s experience has helped, and the players’ confidence has been growing.
BAYLOR’S WIN STREAK
Baylor’s men’s basketball team has rattled off five wins in a row, including a 75-69 upset of No. 9 Kansas on Tuesday night. The Bears withstood 47 combined points from Gradey Dick and Jalen Wilson and had four players score at least 11 points in the win.
The win streak comes on the heels of a three-game losing streak (mostly against ranked teams) and just ahead of crucial games against Arkansas and Texas.
The Bears also have rematches with TCU, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Texas later this season.
FORMER MUSTANG TORCHES SMU
Former SMU Mustang and reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Kendric Davis was on fire against his ex-team. Davis, who transferred to Memphis in the offseason, had a game-high 25 points and 11 assists to spark a 99-84 win over SMU on Thursday night in Memphis.
Davis spent four years at SMU and averaged at least 14 points per game in three seasons. This season, he is 15th in the country in scoring and 16th in assists.
The Mustangs are just 7-14 on the season and have little hope of making the NCAA Tournament. Davis and Memphis will make the return trip to Dallas on March 2.
TEXAS AND BAYLOR ADD TO FOOTBALL STAFF
The Texas Longhorns and Baylor Bears have added a couple of coaches to their football staff this week.
Texas hired Chris Jackson as its new passing game coordinator and special teams coach and Jahmal Fenner as its new Director of High School Relations.
Jackson spent last season as the wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who saw their receiving corps put up one of the best single seasons in franchise history. He also coached with the Chicago Bears and helped multiple receivers reach the 1,000-yard mark.
Fenner is a former defensive back from UTEP and has been the head football coach at LBJ High School in Austin for the last five years. LBJ’s football program has a 49-13 record under his watch and reached its first-ever state championship game in 2021.
Baylor hired Matt Powledge as its new defensive coordinator and safeties coach, replacing Ron Roberts, who was fired after the season. Powledge is coming off a one-year stint at Oregon as the co-defensive coordinator, but he is no stranger to Waco, having spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons as safeties and special teams coordinator with the Bears.
Baylor also tabbed Christian Robinson as the new inside linebackers coach just one day after Powledge was hired. Robinson joins the Baylor coaching staff after spending his entire career in the SEC, coaching linebackers at Auburn in 2022 after four seasons in the same position at Florida.
AJ Steward is joining the Bears as assistant head coach and running backs coach after spending the last two seasons at Oregon State in the same role. Tyler Hancock was hired as the special teams coordinator by Baylor on the same day Steward was hired.
Hancock will lead the Bears’ special teams unit after serving in the same role at Charlotte for the last two seasons.
NORTH TEXAS OUTLASTS UTSA
The North Texas men’s basketball team defeated UT-San Antonio 63-59 Thursday night in Denton. Tylor Perry led all scorers with 21 points and made five 3-pointer in the win. He now has 138 career 3-pointers at UNT, moving him to No.9 on the Mean Green’s all-time three-point list.
North Texas (17-5, 8-3 Conference USA) was a solid 50% (24 of 48) from the floor, and Perry sealed the game late. He scored 10 of his 21 points in the final four minutes, including back-to-back three-pointers after UTSA (7-15, 1-10) had cut the deficit to one possession.
UNT’S NEW HIRE
North Texas also made a new hire within its athletic department. According to a news release earlier this week, Dallas Baptist University Vice President and Director of Athletics, Dr. Connor Smith, has been hired as UNT’s new Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
The position is the same one athletic director Jared Mosley held before his recent promotion.
Texas A&M women’s basketball freshman Janiah Barker has earned both the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and national Freshman of the Week awards after her performance in the Aggies’ 75-73 win over Georgia on Sunday.
The freshman scored a career-high 24 points as the Aggies scored their most points all season and earned their first win in SEC play.
Barker is the team’s leading scorer with 13.6 points per game.
After winning back-to-back national titles, the Oklahoma Sooners softball team returns five All-Americans and has eight players on the National Player of the Year watch list released this week. Included on the list are Haley Lee, Grace Lyons, Alex Storako, Kinzie Hansen, Jayda Coleman, Tiare Jennings, Jordy Bahl, and Cydney Sanders.