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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Men's Basketball

Both basketball teams to face conference heavyweights

While tipoff for the men’s and women’s basketball seasons remains five months away, the Houston squads are already prepping for their 2019-2020 American Athletic Conference opponents.

Coming off a 30-win season, a first place finish in the AAC and a trip to the Sweet 16, the men’s team is looking to repeat as conference regular season champions.

Of the 11 opponents in the conference, the Cougars will battle seven in both home and away meetings.

Two eye-popping opponents are Cincinnati, who defeated Houston in the conference tournament final, and a Memphis team led by former NBA-great Penny Hardaway.

UC will be returning 2018-2019 AAC Player of the Year Jarron Cumberland, while Memphis will welcome the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation for 2019.

Along with the Bearcats and the Tigers, the Cougars have home and away matchups with SMU, Tulsa, UConn — whose AAC future remains unclear — USF and an improved Wichita State from its 22-15 performance last season.

With these away meetings, UH is likely to notch several quadrant one and two games, which are some of the most important for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. 

As for Houston’s sole home meetings, the Cougars will welcome Tulane, who went winless in conference last season, and UCF, a rising program that ended Houston’s 33-game win streak and was centimeters from defeating Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

For its only conference away matches, Houston will travel to East Carolina, another typical bottom feeder of the conference, and Temple, who also defeated the Cougars and went dancing in 2019.

As for the women’s team, the Cougars will have five home and away pairings, with three home meetings and three away games.

Houston looks to build off a decent season after finishing fourth in conference at 9-7 and just missing the .500-mark overall with a 15-16 record and an appearance in the Women’s NIT. Two of the Cougars’ home and away opponents, the Bearcats and the Huskies, finished ahead of it. 

Houston also has a home and away series with ECU and Temple, which were both middle-of-the-pack fighters in the conference, and SMU.

UH’s home-only meetings include UCF, who finished second in the AAC last season and earned a berth in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, as well as Memphis and Wichita State, who both finished 5-11 in the AAC last season.

As for their traveling games, Houston will battle USF, another middle-finisher, followed by Tulane and Tulsa. 

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