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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Men's Basketball

Cougars play first game in conference tournament Friday

The Cougars are going into the AAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed and will get a first round bye. | Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

The Cougars closed out the regular season with a blowout win against East Carolina at home on Sunday.

Now, the Cougars look onward as the American Athletic Conference Tournament begins Thursday. Houston’s win on Sunday leaves the Cougars slotted to play in the quarterfinals against the winner of the No. 6 UConn vs. No. 11 USF match-up.

Houston’s first game will take place Friday, and ESPNU will broadcast it at 6 p.m. CT.

Houston pulled out of its conference as the No. 3 seed. SMU leads as the No. 1 seed, and Cincinnati is just behind at No. 2.

Guards Rob Gray, Damyean Dotson and Galen Robinson Jr. were Houston’s leading players for the season on the American Athletic Conference boards.

Gray came out as the conference leader for points per game at 20.3. Dotson was third with an average of 17.4 points per game.

Robinson was the only Houston player to make it on the all-conference top assists board, with 4.7 assists per game.

It is predicted that Houston will win its quarterfinals when the team plays against either UConn or USF. Houston defeated UConn in their first match-up with a score of 62-46, but the second game was a tight win for Houston at 75-70. As for USF, Houston only faced them once, winning 70-56.

As long as Houston doesn’t make any critical mistakes, the Cougars should head to the semifinals.

It is predicted that Cincinnati will win its quarterfinals, too. If so, Houston will go up against the No. 2 seed, and the Bearcats are likely to claim the win. Cincinnati has a conference record of 16-2, whereas Houston’s record is 12-6. The Cougars played against the Bearcats last Thursday and went home with a loss of 65-47.

If Houston does move into the finals, it is predicted that SMU would be its opponent.

As of now, it seems that SMU and Cincinnati will both continue on to the finals, with a chance to claim the championship. SMU has a slightly better conference record of 17-1, whereas Cincinnati is at 16-2.

The championship game will take place this Sunday at 2:15 p.m. CT.

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