The last time a Houston Cougars basketball team was this good, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon were running one of the most unstoppable offenses college basketball has ever seen. It would be an honor just to mentioned in the same sentence as a team led by two NBA Hall of Famers, and that’s exactly where the 2018-19 Houston squad is right now.
This year’s Houston team came into the season after being on the wrong side of a March Madness buzzer beater in the round of 32 last year. Michigan’s Jordan Poole hit a three from nearly half court as time expired to beat the Cougars 64-63, nullifying an insane effort from senior Rob Gray, who had 23. Gray’s last game with Houston was played that day, and without their best player from last season, Kelvin Sampson’s men were a certain lock for a bit of regression… right?
This year’s Cougars squad is 30-2 on the season after obliterating Uconn in the American Conference Tournament early in the afternoon on Friday. Houston is two games away from clinching their first conference championship since joining the American Conference.
Houston has blown expectations out of the water this season thanks largely in part of Sampson. The phenomenal coach is in his fifth season coaching the Cougars and has gotten all of his players to buy into what he tells them. Houston prides itself on tough defense and its scoring from all over the floor and Sampson has played a large role in both of those departments.
Senior Corey Davis Jr. has taken over where Gray left off as leading scorer and playmaker for the Cougars. The 6’1 guard has enjoyed a year where he is averaging 16.6 points and has been the main source of offense for one of the best teams in the nation. Davis shoots the three at a fantastic rate and is a threat from all areas of the floor, making defenses hate him.
The Cougars as a team have average just over 76 points per game on the offensive end and give up on average under 62 PPG. Going into March, Houston is a matchup problem everywhere.
With just losses to UCF at home and Temple on the road on a resume that also includes wins over LSU and Cincinnati the Cougars project to be a three seed when March Madness comes around. If Davis Jr. can continue being unstoppable and the support for him is there, Houston will be as tough an out as anyone come March.
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