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Friday, August 14, 2020

Men's Basketball

Looking ahead at 2020-21 with way too early predictions for Houston


Forward Fabian White Jr. will be the leading veteran in the frontcourt for Houston in his senior season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

Forward Fabian White Jr. will be the leading veteran in the frontcourt for Houston in his senior season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

The Cougars’ 2019-20 season came to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while there was no March Madness or even a postseason conference tournament this year, leaving a disappointing void to everyone who is invested in college basketball, the attention has already begun to shift to 2020-21.

Houston was No. 22 in the final AP poll of 2019-20, finishing the regular season with a 23-8 record, which was good for a share of the AAC championship along with both Tulsa and Cincinnati, but the team could potentially look different despite losing only one senior.

With sophomore guard Nate Hinton declaring for the NBA Draft, the Cougars could potentially lose the plethora of depth they have at the guard position with sophomore guard Quentin Grimes and junior DeJon Jarreau’s futures also in question.

Various different media outlets, however, have already released way-too-early preseason predictions for 2020-21, and here are where the Cougars are ranked.

CBS Sports

The Cougars are No. 8 in CBS Sports’ too early predictions, which is the highest on the board out of all the predictions so far.

Gary Parrish cites the return of Houston’s top six scorers from 2019-20 as the biggest reason for the high stock.

If either Jarreau or Grimes leaves Houston in pursuit of a professional career, however, Parrish sees the ceiling of the team falling a bit.

ESPN

The Cougars are No. 16 in ESPN’s preseason predictions.

Jeff Borzello highlights the potential decisions from Grimes and Jarreau as question marks for Houston but argues that if both return, the Cougars will have the most talented quartet along with sophomore guard Nate Hinton and redshirt freshman guard Caleb Mills.

Houston’s biggest additions, according to ESPN, will be Tramon Mark, who was named the Guy V. Lewis Greater Houston Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year on March 31, and sophomore guard Cameron Tyson, who sat out his 2019-20 season after transferring from Idaho.

NBC Sports

The Cougars are No. 19 in NBC Sports’ predictions.

Houston was given this rank because of the potential depth at guard it has returning in 2020 with Grimes, Hinton, Mills and freshman guard Marcus Sasser.

 The Cougars should be favored to win the AAC, according to NBC Sports.

USA Today

The Cougars finished No. 23 in USA Today’s Coaches’ poll at the end of the 2019-20 season.

In its predictions for 2020-21, USA Today has Houston at No. 21.

The biggest factor for the ranking is the potential return of the team’s top six scorers as well as the young Cougars having a year of experience under their belt.

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