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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Men's Basketball

No. 1: UH leaps to top spot in AP Poll for first time since Phi Slama Jama


Guards Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead lead a UH backcourt that many experts consider to be the best in college basketball. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

Guards Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead lead a UH backcourt that many experts consider to be the best in college basketball. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

For the first time since the end of the 1983 regular season, the UH men’s basketball team has claimed the top spot in the AP Poll after Monday morning’s rankings were released.

“Not everybody gets to be ranked No. 1,” said UH head coach Kelvin Sampson.

In a week when the former No. 1 North Carolina fell twice, UH survived a scare from Kent State on Saturday to improve to 6-0 and jump the Tar Heels in the rankings.

“It should be a big deal to us, to everybody here,” Sampson said when asked about potentially being ranked No. 1 after Saturday’s game.

This marks just the third time in program history — the previous two coming at the end of the 1967-68 and 1982-83 seasons — that the Cougars have occupied the top spot.

“I’m really happy for our fan base,” Sampson said. “They’ve been through some tough decades with our basketball program.”

It is also the first time in Sampson’s 34 years as a collegiate head coach that one of his teams has been ranked No. 1.

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