5. Houston (16-2)
Last week, the Cougars got a rude wake-up call to life in the Big 12. After a 14-0 start to the season, which included a few very nice wins, Houston traveled to Iowa State and TCU and lost both games. Houston boasts the nation’s top defense this season and has a very talented roster that’s already proven their elite status, but how did they respond this week?
The response was loud and clear on Wednesday night, as the Cougars delivered in a 77-54 win against a ranked Texas Tech squad. Jamal Shead was phenomenal with 29 points and 10 assists in a great bounce back performance for this team. Houston won what was a defensive struggle this weekend, supplanting UCF in a 57-42 outing. LJ Cryer led all scorers with 16 points while Shead added 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists in another fine effort.
The Cougars got back on track and played two very strong defensive games against their new conference foes. Those two games in particular won’t move the needle much, but the Big 12 is going to be really tough this year and any perfect week deserves to be lauded. The Cougars sit 3-2 in their new league and boast the best defense, we’ll see if they can handle a tough road test at BYU next week.