Rick Barnes (AP Photo)

Javan Felix leads No. 24 Texas to a win over Baylor

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Javan Felix led four scorers in double figures with 21 points as No. 24 Texas survived a second half surge from Baylor, winning 74-69.

All 21 of Felix’s points came on three-pointers, as he finished the night 7-for-9 from beyond the arc. Isaiah Taylor added 13 points and seven assists, but the real difference-makers for the Longhorns were along their front line. Cameron Ridley and Jonathon Holmes finished with a combined 34 points, 18 boards — nine of which came on the offensive end — and five blocks while holding Isaiah Austin to just 1-for-10 shooting from the field.

Texas needed this win to bounce back from an embarrassing loss at Kansas over the weekend, but they’re solidly in the NCAA tournament field at this point. Baylor? Not so much, and that’s why they’re going to regret missing out on a chance to steal this win late.

The Longhorns were up by as much as 18 in the first half, but the Bears stormed back to cut the lead to one at one point in the final minutes. They couldn’t close out the win, however, and are now in a position where they probably cannot afford another regular season loss. Losing at Texas isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you lose eight out of ten games in the middle of the season, any loss becomes a bad loss.

Here is the rest of Baylor’s schedule: Texas Tech at home, Iowa State at home, at Kansas State. Win two and feel comfortable. Win all three and they should be safe.

And while we’re here, it’s worth making a note: Baylor is in a position to survive a disastrous stretch of bad basketball during league play because they picked up neutral court wins over Kentucky, Colorado and Dayton in non-conference play. Hopefully, the some of the high-major programs that like to schedule cupcakes will take notice and challenge themselves in November.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.