Round table: Can Cougars sustain two-game win streak?
The Cougars are off to a good start this season, with a chance to make some noise in the American Athletic Conference toward the end of their season. But will they be able to continue their win streak in the back half of their conference season?
With nine conference games left, how many wins and losses do you expect the Cougars to have the rest of this conference season?
Staff writer Jonathan Valadez: I may be optimistic, but I think the Cougars can win seven of their next nine. Following a heartbreaking loss against Southern Methodist University in Dallas, I can see the Cougars getting revenge with the help of a packed Hofheinz. UH is 0-5 against the University of Cincinnati in the past three years, so a loss is almost expected. I can also imagine them taking a loss against the University of Memphis or the University of Connecticut.
Staff writer J.D. Smith: It would not be surprising to see them go 6-3 or even 7-2 during the final stretch, especially if they can upset SMU at home Monday night.
Who has been the team MVP this year?
Staff Writer Shardanna Jones: Rob Gray Jr. is pretty much the reason why the Cougars won so many of the games throughout the beginning of the season, but he had his cold moments as well. I believe the MVP is the player that most comes through in the clutch like Wes VanBeck, but also a stabilizing force like Damyean Dotson. It’s not easy to pinpoint because there hasn’t quite been solid and consistent play all season, but if I making a choice, I’d go with Dotson.
JS: Senior forward Devonta Pollard has been a constant force for the Cougars, starting 17 out of 21 games while being second on the team in both points and rebounds and shooting above 50 percent from the field.
Do you think the Cougars can make a run at the conference tournament title?
SJ: They can. I believe the Cougars just need to believe in themselves, stick together as a team and take it one game at a time. The AAC really is wide open, regardless of standings.
JV: It’s not impossible, but after dropping four of their last six, they would practically have to win all of their remaining games in order to challenge SMU for the American title.
How would you rate the job Kelvin Sampson has done with the Cougars over the past season and a half?
SJ: Sampson has done just fine. He has done a nice job as far as recruiting and other off-season acquisitions and building a foundation for the program to move upward. There were a couple of games where the energy and effort of the team was nowhere to be found, and that is on the coach because it his job to get them ready to play. Besides that, I feel he’s right where he should be when inheriting a program like this.
JV: Considering that Sampson had to start from scratch to rebuild the roster when he took over, I would give him a B. The Cougars have had some losses that they shouldn’t have, but they are competing at a level that is on-par with their talent.