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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Men's Basketball

Finishing out regular season strong key for Cougars’ championship seed


The Cougars have three of their hardest but most important games coming up against UConn, Memphis, and No. 15 Cincinnati. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

The end of basketball season is in sight, and the Cougars are looking for a late push to go into the American Athletic Conference’s championship with good seeding.

With three of their hardest games coming in the next week and a half, the Cougars may quickly drop down in the rankings. The rest of the regular season may very well decide how far Houston makes it in the AAC championship.

After the loss against SMU on Saturday, the Cougars have been taken out of contention for the top two spots in the American unless Cincinnati loses its next four games. Houston must instead battle to maintain its third place position in the rankings.

Houston and UConn are currently tied for third with a 9-5 conference records. Memphis (8-6) and UCF (8-7) are both a win behind in fifth and sixth respectively.

Houston plays UConn on Wednesday, then travels to play Memphis on Sunday. These two games will decide where the Cougars end up at the end of the regular season, as all three teams are clustered closely in the middle of the rankings.

Earlier this season, the Cougars routed UConn 62-46, a result which mainly occurred because injury and sickness ravaged UConn’s team.

Against Memphis, the Cougars dropped an overtime heartbreaker 70-67 while in Hofheinz Pavilion. Traveling to Memphis will make a win much more difficult.

To top it off, Houston will play No. 15 Cincinnati next Thursday. Including the SMU game on Sunday, the Cougars are in the middle of their hardest four-game stretch all season.

While first and second in the regular season are mostly impossible for the Cougars, the seed that Houston gets will decide how difficult a road they have in the championship.

The top five seeds get to bypass the first round. While dropping from No. 3 to No. 6 may seem like a drastic change, the current No. 6 seed, UCF, is only one game behind the Cougars. Tulsa (6-8) at No. 7 is two games behind UCF, so it is unlikely that the Cougars will drop that far.

Where the Cougars finish in the rankings will decide how easy an opponent they will face in the quarter finals. The No. 3 seed plays the winner of a game between the No. 6 and the No. 11 seed. The No. 4 and No. 5 seeds face off against each other in the quarter finals.

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