3. Houston (21-3)
When they played at Kansas last weekend, Houston didn’t play a great game and got flattened by the Jayhawks. It was their third road loss, but the first time they weren’t in the game at the end of the entire season. Considering that, and that it’s Houston’s first season in the Big 12, and it was understandable to be a little concerned, but they’ve answered questions this week.
The Cougars got back on track with an easy 79-63 at home over Oklahoma State. Jamal Shead scored 23 points to lead the charge as Houston controlled all aspects of the game against the Cowboys. Saturday was a much closer call, but the Cougars survived a tough road challenge at Cincinnati, getting a 67-62 win against the Bearcats. J’Wan Roberts had 20 points and 8 rebounds, Shead added 16, and the Cougars did enough late to leave Cincinnati with their 21st win of the season.
The record looks fantastic and the metrics are in a marvelous place for the Cougars. This Houston squad has faced significant challenges in year one in America’s best conference and have been excellent during most of those opportunities. They picked up their fourth true road win of the season, which will certainly be currency with the Selection Committee as they quench a top-seed in the NCAA Tournament. We won’t see them again until Saturday when they welcome Texas to town, three weeks after being the Longhorns in overtime on the road.