It has been a while since the Cougars have taken part in March Madness. With their current 19-5 record and a strong finish, they just might clutch a spot in the NCAA tournament.
According to the AAC rankings, Cincinnati takes the number one spot in the conference with a 12-0 record and is currently ranked #5 overall. The winner of the AAC gets a secured spot in the tournament automatically, so if Cincinnati and even Wichita State take a hit and the Cougars keep winning, things are looking good for Houston.
“We have to be very specific in our preparation for these teams.”
Head coach Kelvin Sampson spoke at the weekly airing of “The Kelvin Sampson Show,” about the challenges within the conference, most notably, Cincinnati. When the Cougars traveled to play the leader of the AAC, Houston only lost by ten points. This showed the AAC and the tournament selection committee that the Cougars could comfortably swing themselves in a positive direction for the next matchup against the Bearcats and in the conference overall.
“This Cougar team is good enough to beat anyone in the country because they are a very good defensive team and can hit shots in volume.”
Jeremy Branham, lead radio play-by-play voice for the mens basketball team, has watched the Cougars very closely this season and has confidence that the Cougars can certainly partake in March Madness this season. The KenPom College Basketball Ratings, and the NCAA put the Cougars at #29 overall. Things are looking pretty safe for Houston.
There are additional things to help the Cougars get that spot in the tournament. For one, the Cougars need to keep winning. It sounds obvious but any loses could hurt their chances at taking the number one spot in the AAC. All teams who lead their perspective conferences get an automatic tournament ticket, other than that, it’s left up to the selection committee. With the cougars most recent wins against SMU and Tulane, the team is moving up.
For additional selection chances, the Cougars need to beat another tournament level team. Did I mention Cincinnati yet? This would be impressive to the selection committee and push the Cougars upwards.
Winning on the road will boost the Cougars resume as well. The Cougars will travel to take on Temple, Memphis and SMU. These wins are important because the Cougars do not have the best away record (5-4) and every game in the NCAA Tournament will not be played in Houston territory. They need to get better away from H&PE Arena.
“As long as we believe in our system and follow our game plans, we can matchup with anyone.”
Junior Guard Galen Robinson spoke with confidence in the Cougars as well. The Cougars are aware of the big-picture necessities in being selected for the NCAA tournament, but they remain focused on the little things that matter right now.
“The ultimate focus will be staying disciplined on defense and playing our brand of basketball.” Robinson continues to stay positive and focus on the now.
Take into account the Cougars intense focus, the teams’ style of offense, the rigorous defensive play, how they fare on the road going forward and a potential big upset; the Cougars have a goal that is well within reach.
Feature Image found here.