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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Men's Basketball

Early predictions for Houston’s upcoming season


predictions Junior guard DeJon Jarreau is set to be one of Houston's biggest assets heading into 2019-20. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Redshirt junior guard DeJon Jarreau is set to be one of Houston’s biggest assets heading into 2019-20. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

It is never too early for basketball.

The sport is in its offseason, and the season is still months away from tipping off, but the world of college basketball is still wide awake and craving any news, analysis or coverage it can get.

Houston is no exception. The program has had its fair share of the spectacle, beginning with the addition of sophomore guard Quentin Grimes and its recent international trip to Italy.

This, combined with Kelvin Sampson remaining head coach for at least six more years, gives many fans hope that the Cougars will repeat its 2018-19 success.

No one knows what will become of Houston when the team sees the court again next fall, but many, including The Cougar, have way-too-early predictions on what will transpire on the hardwood next season.

DeJon Jarreau

It was no secret that the junior guard out of New Orleans had a big impact on Houston’s run to the Sweet 16 as the team’s sixth man. Jarreau averaged a solid 8.7 points throughout the season and dished out an average of 3.3 assists per game.

This, of course, came with Jarreau coming off the bench, a role that he will more than likely be promoted from when 2019-20 tips off.

Jarreau has shown sparks of the star player he can be. It showed in his 16-point outing in the win against Cincinnati and his 18-point performance at UConn where he dominated the stat sheet.

Next season will see Jarreau rise above the bench role he occupied in 2018-2019 and fill in the gaps left by Corey Davis Jr. and other outgoing seniors.

American Athletic Conference

No one can deny the accomplishments UH saw in the conference last season after its 16-2 run and outright regular season title, but with the AAC’s competition starting to heat up, it is hard to see the Cougars replicating its triumphs.

Among the potential threats is UCF, a threat to UH and UC as conference heavyweights.

The Knights, third in the conference with a 13-5 record, boasted wins against both the Cougars and the Bearcats. Although head coach Johnny Dawkins lost one of its best players in Tacko Fall, the program is still a contender.

Memphis, a perennial barely average team in the AAC, has also grown to be a hazard for Houston. The Tigers have never finished above fifth place since the league’s inception in 2013, but head coach Penny Hardaway has led his team on an upward trend in recent years.

The Cougars can still dominate the AAC, but not in the way it did last season. Going 16-2 in conference is not a regular thing, and Houston will most likely not make it one.

NCAA Tournament

Much like its in-conference success last season, Houston’s run in the NCAA Tournament was not something typical for the Cougars 

In fact, what occurred in March had not been seen by UH fans in almost four decades. It was a once-in-a-generation outing for many Houston supporters.

Luckily for them, it will not be anymore.

Houston finished No. 12 in the final Coaches Poll and No. 6 in the NCAA’s NET rankings. That is not worth nothing. 

UH is expected to still be a top 25 team come fall, and although the team will not completely reproduce its achievements, it will still be among the best in the country.

With the nation watching, Sampson will lead Houston to another deep run next March.

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