Men's Basketball Sports

UH’s Kelvin Sampson paints clearer picture on 2020-21 schedule

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson addressed reporters in a news conference after a game in the 2020 season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./ The Cougar

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson addressed reporters in a news conference after a game in the 2020 season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./ The Cougar

When Houston men’s basketball head coach Kelvin Sampson watches the news channels on TV and sees what coronavirus has done to so many communities and families, he never forgets to acknowledge how fortunate he and his team are to be in their position.

“We get on a plane and fly out to play basketball,” Sampson told reporters in a Zoom meeting on Wednesday. “We’re lucky.”

Despite all the uncertainty that this year has brought, and still continues to bring, it is looking like the NCAA Division I basketball season will go on.

On Wednesday, Sampson spoke to reporters ahead of UH men’s basketball’s first official practice for the upcoming season on Friday, and he provided numerous updates on his team, one of which being that zero of his players have tested positive for COVID-19 since the fall began although a few have had to miss workouts due to contact tracing rules.

Another update that Sampson provided was on UH’s schedule for 2020-21. 

Houston has 27 games scheduled for this upcoming season, the head coach said, 20 of which will be against American Athletic Conference teams and seven will be against nonconference opponents. 

Here is a breakdown of what the head coach shared on the schedule:

Nonconference games

Sampson said on Wednesday that Houston is still planning to participate in the multiple-team event (MTE) in Orlando, Florida that includes Texas Tech, Gonzaga and Auburn.

Houston will play Texas Tech first in the tournament and then depending on the outcome of that game, UH will either face off against Gonzaga or Auburn. This event will account for two of the nonconference games on the schedule.

Houston will also host South Carolina and have to travel to face off against Alabama, Sampson said, and UH will also host Rice during 2020-21.

As for the two remaining nonconference games, Sampson did not name the schools, but he said that they will each be teams where the travel can be done by bus.

Sampson said that Houston is expected to play on Nov. 25, which is the first official day that the NCAA is allowing men’s basketball games to begin.

Conference games

When it comes to the specifics of when Houston will face off against its rival AAC schools that is still unknown, but Sampson also gave a small update in regards to these games on Wednesday.

UH will play at least two conference games in December, the head coach said, with the timeline for the start of these contests beginning mid-month.

While the Cougars usually play only 18 conference games, Sampson is in favor of the move to 20 games against the AAC for at least this year.

“I think you’re less likely to have cancellations or postponements in conference play because we’re all under the same medical protocol,” the head coach said. “With nonconference games, it can get a little dicey.”

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