Video: Kelvin Sampson Previews Tulane And More

Houston flies to New Orleans on Monday afternoon and will play at second-place Tulane on Tuesday night.

It’s been a pretty wild January for Tulane fans early in 2023. It started with an epic, last-second, come-from-behind 46-45 win in the Cotton Bowl, their first major bowl since 1940. Now, the Greenies have won five-straight AAC basketball games and are just a half-game back in the standings.

Tuesday night will likely be the most difficult Fogelman Arena experience UH has gone through in the 25 years they’ve been conference mates. Since Tulane coach Ron Hunter, then at Georgia State, called Sampson “grandpa” before the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, Sampson has bludgeoned his teams. After losing to Sampson 84-55 in that Tournament game, Hunter accepted the Tulane job and has taken his regular beatings ever since.

In six games, the Cougars have gone 6-0 and beaten the Greenies by an average of 18 ppg. Last season’s games were more competitive, though, with a nine-point win at Fertitta and a 14-point win at Fogelman Arena in Uptown New Orleans. But even a cursory look at the film will show that Tulane is better than any UH has played under Sampson.

“(Ron Hunter’s) got that thing a level now where they can beat just about anybody,” Kelvin Sampson said Sunday. Sampson and his big men are focused on Kevin Cross, the 6’9″ forward. Cross is averaging four assists a game, and Kelvin called him the best passing big man in the country.

“Don’t take that with a grain of salt because I think it’s a fact,” Kelvin said after practice. “I think he’s the best passing…he’s a difficult matchup because … he can face up and make a three (and) get to the foul line.”

Cross can step out and face up and shoot the three, so look for Jarace Walker to be matched up on him.

Sasser at the line // Photo by Mario Puente

Tulane is #2 nationally in free throw shooting percentage, but they aren’t just good shooters – they get to the line a ton. Four ‘everyday’ starters combine to average nearly 17 FT attempts a game; in comparison, UH’s starting five combines to average just 11 attempts.

The 4,100-seat Fogelman is sold out for the game, and Sampson knows it can be a difficult place to play when the crowd is into it.

“It’s a conference road game,” Sampson said. “It’s not supposed to be easy.”

Watch highlights from Kelvin Sampson’s meeting with the media from Sunday afternoon.

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Ryan Monceaux
Ryan Monceauxhttp://www.hounil.com
Ryan is the publisher of GoCoogs. He is also a real estate agent and entrepreneur.
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