It is still early, but approximately midway through the season here we are:
Sagarin Rating #46
Ken Pom Rating #37
UH expected RPI is around 42/43 http://www.rpiforecast.com/teams/Houston.html .
IMO this is the most talented UH team since 1995-1996 (Damon Jones, Tim Moore, Kirk Ford, Kenya Capers). That team was torpedoed by AWFUL PG play and AWFUL coaching.
IF everyone is healthy this year’s team weaknesses are FT shooting (though that % is up to 75% in conference play) and over reliance on Galen Robinson to handle the ball.
Our top 8 is rock solid. Fabian White is the X-Factor IMO. His defensive versatility and ability to switch on pick and rolls changes the defensive ability of this team. You can see the fluidity in his game. He is going to be a stud.
I think Coach Sampson is doing a phenomenal job with this team and a good job with the program. The OOC schedule might be an issue come March. We will play 12 teams that have an RPI of 200+. That OOC schedule could be the one thing that could separate UH from the likely teams they will be up against for at large bids. Going forward, UH can’t schedule like this any more. There just isn’t any benefit to racking up W’s against scrubs.
Here is what I think UH has to do the rest of the way to make the dance:
Provided that UH take care of the games in which they are favored big (Tulane x2, USF, ECU, Memphis, UConn) and goes 2-1 in the toss ups (at Temple, vs SMU, at UCF), UH really needs to win at least 1 of the games where they are a dog (at SMU, vs Wichita vs Cinci at Cinci). If they do that, they would be RPI 33 by the start of tournament play with a record of 23-7. As long as UH wins the quarterfinal game, one would presume UH gets in the field of 68. Last year, Illinois State (#39) was the only top 40 RPI team NOT to make the field of 68.