Busting Brackets

Houston Basketball: 3 keys for Sweet 16 Matchup against Duke Blue Devils

Houston has made the sweet 16 for the 5th year in a row. They get a much better matchup than they had in the round of 32

Houston's Ramon Walker Jr. (3) and Ryan Elvin (20) celebrate after Houston defeated Longwood 86-46
Houston's Ramon Walker Jr. (3) and Ryan Elvin (20) celebrate after Houston defeated Longwood 86-46 / Chris Day/Memphis Commercial Appeal /
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Lock In on Defense

This is the first time in a long time that people are not going to question if the Cougars are legitimate. They won the best conference in the country and beat some good teams along the way. Houston is battle tested and has proven that they are not a fluke. They earned their one seed and have been playing like it so far in the tournament. The second weekend is a different beast but Houston is the best defensive team in the country and when they get it going scoring is a chore.

Heading into the game against Duke, Houston is currently forcing teams to play at the slowest pace in the country. They allow teams to shoot 38% from the floor and rarely give up an open look. Houston hangs their hat on the defensive end and with their two big men they don’t allow much at the rim. The guards in LJ Cryer and Jamal Shead are both plus defenders and are extremely disruptive on that end. Texas A&M was able to score on the Cougars by securing offensive rebounds and getting out of system baskets. Houston is vulnerable like any team in transition but if they can force teams to play in the half court scoring is almost impossible.

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Duke is not even close to as good of an offensive-rebounding team as the Aggies. To be honest no one is as the Aggies were the best offensive rebounding team in the country. Duke is not nearly as athletic as Texas A&M either. They do have some athletes but will not be able to out-athlete Houston. The defense is going to have no issue stopping Duke unless Duke gets hot from deep. Otherwise, it could be another game where the Cougars hold their opponent to under 60 points.