Busting Brackets

March Madness: Power ranking the Sweet 16 teams left in 2024 NCAA Tournament

Gonzaga v Kansas
Gonzaga v Kansas / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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3. Houston Cougars

The AAC didn’t last long in the NCAA Tournament, with both FAU and UAB falling in the first round. It’s the biggest effect of not having the Houston Cougars in the league, who now represent the Big 12. It might be the best chance for the Cougars to get to the Final Four, based on how they’ve played this season.

The first game was a no-contest against 16-seed, Longwood. The final score was 86-46, led by 17 points from LJ Cryer and Damian Dunn, while Jamal Shead was an assist shy of a double-double. The top-tier defense held Longwood to just 34% shooting from the field and 3/13 from deep.

The next game was looking to be another win, leading Texas A&M by double-digits for most of the game on Sunday. Houston was up by 11 points with two minutes to go until the Aggies went on a furious comeback to somehow force overtime. In the end, the Cougars held on to the 100-95 overtime victory, led by Emanuel Sharp with 30 points, while Shead produced 21 points and 10 assists. Cryer had 20 as well in the win for the favorites.

Houston next faces Duke in the Sweet 16, one of the most talented teams in the NCAA Tournament. If their defense looks like what it did in the second half, it could be another missed opportunity for Coach Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars to make a deep March run.