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Houston Basketball: 3 keys to Cougars beating Auburn in NCAA Tournament

Mar 13, 2022; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson reacts to a play against the Memphis Tigers during the second half at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2022; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson reacts to a play against the Memphis Tigers during the second half at Dickies Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports /
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NCAA Tournament Houston Cougars guard Tramon Mark (12) hugs guard Jamal Shead Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Tournament Houston Cougars guard Tramon Mark (12) hugs guard Jamal Shead Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Houston Basketball advanced to the second round with a win over the Northern Kentucky Norse. Houston may have advanced but they didn’t look at all like a one seed. Houston struggled to score and they looked out of sync for most of the night. The Cougars did let their talent prevail and ended up winning the game. The win was not without a cost though as All-American Marcus Sasser aggravated his groin injury and point guard Jamal Shead hurt his knee in the second half of the game. Sasser removed himself from play but Shead did end up finishing the game for Houston.

Heading into the second-round matchup against the Auburn Tigers this is going to be something to watch for. The two players have now said publicly that they are both playing in the game against Auburn but how much will they play?  How effective will they be?  Those are two of the best players for the Cougars and they are going to need to play most of the game for them to be successful. Houston struggled against the Norse without these two players and Auburn is a much better team than Northern Kentucky. The Cougars have a battle on their hands in the Round of 32.

Hopefully, Houston got their wake-up call and is going to be able to start playing their brand of basketball. When they play their brand of basketball they are fun to watch and are almost impossible to beat. Every game in this tournament is a challenge given the results of the late games on Friday night. The gap between teams is shrinking and no one is going to go out and give you a game.

At this stage of the season, you are going to have to go and take it. Purdue and Arizona learned that. Hopefully, the Cougars don’t have to learn the hard way and can keep playing. Auburn is going to present a very new set of challenges for Houston and here is what they can do to avoid an upset.