After a four game losing streak, the Cougars have bounced back to three straight wins. An emphatic victory against Tulsa put Houston back on the right track, which was followed by a tight away win against East Carolina, which was decided in second overtime, and a close one over #12 ranked SMU.
On Sunday, February 7th at 2:00PM, Houston takes on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane once again. The game will be played at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma and broadcasted on ESPNU. The 16-6 Cougars, who are 6-4 in conference, look to secure a regular season sweep against Tulsa, who are 14-8, but tied with the Houston at 6-4 in conference play. So, this game has significant implications in potential seeding for the American Athletic Conference Tournament, whose winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Houston and Tulsa are only one game behind the highest seeded post-season eligible team, the Cincinnati Bearcats. The SMU Mustangs are not eligible for the post season due to NCAA sanctions.
The Cougars likely gained some momentum after handing #12 SMU their second loss of the season on Monday night in front of a rowdy home crowd celebrating the Peach Bowl Victory in a pep rally before the game and an additional honoring at halftime of the football team. And they did this without Rob Gray Jr, their leading scorer, who is averaging 17.3 points a game. They hope to have him back against Tulsa, after he sprained his ankle in the closing minutes of the East Carolina game, though his status is questionable.
While the Cougars have some momentum after what was perhaps their most impressive win of the season, Tulsa also has some impressive wins, including a victory against UConn, where they held the Huskies to a mere 51 points.
To win this game, the Cougars must limit the offensive capabilities of James Woodard and Shaquille Harrison, who average 16.3 and 15.3 points per game respectively. Houston should have success against at least one of them, though, as they held Woodard to 10 points in the previous game in which the Cougars won 81-66. Houston also outrebounded Tulsa 48-38, which has been the key to much of their successes as of late.
Watch Houston Freshmen Galen Robinson Jr, who is beginning to emerge as a threat at the point guard position. He scored 19 against Tulsa in their first meeting and will look to repeat this performance in the rematch, especially if Rob Gray Jr isn’t 100 percent.
While most Americans will be focused on the Super Bowl on Sunday, Cougars know that this game will be far more interesting than the pre game coverage of the big game that will be on simultaneously. Heck, it’ll actually be more interesting than the matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. At least to me. And probably you, considering you are reading this right now.