Houston’s first-ever Big 12 schedule is halfway complete. 4-0 in home games and 2-3 in road games puts the Cougars in a share of first place. Despite a blowout loss to Kansas in Lawrence, UH remains #1 in the NCAA NET, KenPom, Bart Torvik, and ESPN BPI.
So what’s the first half storyline? Three of our writers share their thoughts.
the daily #184 | 2/4/2024 | Archives
Starns Leland (The Cougar sports editor and GoCoogs contributor): The Houston Cougars have withstood their first wave of Big 12 play pretty well. You can’t ask for much better in this league than 6-3 at the halfway point. You’ve more than taken care of business at home, which is crucial, and you’ve picked off good road wins.
Houston has learned from its early road lumps at Iowa State and TCU and displayed massive strides in gutsy wins at BYU and Texas. Though the loss to Kansas was disappointing, winning (or at least making it close) in your first game at Allen Fieldhouse is a tough ask for anybody.
The main thing now for UH is to continue improving (especially offensively) on the road and taking care of business at home while staying/getting healthy.
Ryan Monceaux (GoCoogs.com publisher): For all the gnashing of teeth by UH fans and others, the Cougars are in a tie for first place at the halfway mark. Had Houston gotten Kansas at home Saturday, the Coogs would likely be in first place alone, but because the Jayhawks hosted the first meeting, it’s a share.
My storyline is adaptation. Houston struggled early in their first Big 12 road game, but they adapted and outplayed Iowa State over the last 34 minutes. They struggled at the end of the TCU game, but they adapted. Struggled to make shots at the end of BYU but made the timely free throws to win the game. And having run out of steam in Austin, gutted through for a tough OT win.
How they adapt from the Kansas loss remains to be seen. The most important thing is staying perfect at home, ensuring that one loss doesn’t become two or three because of any Allen Fieldhouse hangover.
Brad Towns (GoCoogs editor and former UH athlete): The Cougars have lost three games in the conference. The season is over, and the program is dead. Let’s turn our focus to next season.
Seriously, this team is 19-3. I knew UH would have ups and downs in this first run through the Big 12, but I am a little surprised at how well they have stacked up against great competition. The home games have been blowout after blowout. The two road wins and two close road losses are about what you’d expect. And then there was the one day at Kansas where their starters shot 74% (and the four not named Hunter Dickinson shot 83%). And with that game, you laugh a little and move on.
If you would have offered me that scenario before the season started, I would have taken it ten times out of 10.