Cougars looking for another quality win to beef up résumé
University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson can see the improvement in his basketball team during a 4-1 start in the American Athletic Conference.
“I just like the way our team is progressing,” Sampson said. “We’re so much better today than we were a month ago.”
The Cougars, 13-4 overall, conclude a two-game road swing Saturday against Central Florida at CFE Arena in Orlando, Fla.
Excelling on road
UH is off to a fast start in the AAC despite a stretch that includes four of its first six games on the road.
The Cougars already own victories at Connecticut, South Florida and East Carolina, becoming the sixth team in school history — and first since the 2007-08 season — to win each of its first three conference road games.
It has been a steady climb for UH, which Sampson said was “still trying to figure it out” in early December after a pair of road losses to LSU and Arkansas.
Since then, the Cougars have won seven of the last nine games — the only setbacks to Harvard and No. 22 Cincinnati — even with top inside presence Devin Davis out indefinitely with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The Cougars bounced back from the loss to Cincinnati by hitting 13 3-pointers during Wednesday’s 74-58 victory at East Carolina.
Central Florida presents another opportunity for the Cougars to pick up a résumé-building victory against a team with a Rating Percentage Index below 100.
Taking on the Fall guy
The Knights (12-4, 3-1 AAC) are No. 85 in the latest NCAA RPI; the Cougars are No. 63.
“We need as many of these top 100 type wins as we can get,” Sampson said.
While a lack of dependable options inside has forced the Cougars to go with a smaller guardheavy lineup, UH will have to contend with Central Florida’s 7-6 sophomore center Tacko Fall. Fall is averaging 13.4 points and 10.7 rebounds while shooting 79.3 percent, second best in the nation.