The University Of Houston Basketball Program Is Back In The National Conversation
The University of Houston basketball program has experienced a remarkable transformation under head coach Kelvin Sampson. After years of irrelevance, the program is back in the national conversation. Since 2011, the Cougars have won at least twelve games in three different seasons. This year, they are 20-1. And, if they can make it past the conference tournament, they might even reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in more than two decades. University Of Houston Basketball
UH has a track record of toughness, and Sampson has used that to help his team win. In fact, his style of coaching has become so popular that larger universities across the country have looked to him to help rebuild their own programs.
It's hard to replicate Sampson's methods. He takes teams that are talented and pushes them to play more than they might normally. The result is a culture of success at UH. Several players have admitted to becoming emotional when they enter the Fertitta Center.
The team is on its way to a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. That's more than the Cougars have done in the last 25 years. They have also made five trips to the Final Four. Their history includes some legendary players, such as Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Otis Birdsong, and Elvin Hayes.
Last season, the Cougars won the Conference USA tournament. They've also had two appearances in the NIT. While their season wasn't as spectacular as many expected, it's still an accomplishment. The team has been relentless on defense, and that's helped them keep their opponents at bay. Now, they're looking for more consistency from their freshmen.
The University of Houston isn't the largest basketball program in the country, but it's hard to pigeonhole the program into one category. It has a winning style that is hard to duplicate and a commitment to defense that is unmatched. Even in an environment like Fort Worth, the Cougars have shown that they can win close games.
Houston's coaching staff has also had an impact on the program. Mack Rhoades was the athletic director from 2009 to 2015. Tom Penders, who is now the assistant coach at UH, came to the school after a successful coaching career at Oklahoma. His reputation as a turnaround guy helped rebuild the Cougars basketball program.
Those are just a few of the reasons why the Houston basketball team is a national story. At this point, the focus is on the Cougars making it to the top 10. When they do, they will be rewarded with an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament and a place in the Top 10 of the college basketball rankings.
Considering the recent history of the UH basketball program, it's hard to believe that they will have to overcome their current position in the polls. But, they should, especially considering how much they've changed in the past two years. With a proven veteran coach, world-class facilities, and a commitment to defense, they should be able to take the next step.