I noticed that last night was close to the halfway point of the “regular” season, being the 15th of 31 pre-conference tournament games. So I toddled over to where the UH posted composite stats.
Some of my conclusions are but exemplars of stating the obvious - but a couple of things jumped out at me as surprising.
Nate Hinton is really good - (the first of stating the obvious) - through 15 games he has 149 rebounds, a hair under 10 a game and heads and shoulders the leading rebounder on the team.
Chris Harris Jr. has been really good - Chris leads the team in field goal percentage and the free throw percentage is up to .667. The statistic that jumped out at me, though, was the number of blocks. Through 15 games, Harris has 34 blocks. To my mind he is providing the kind of interior intimidation that facilitates great defense.
The Cougars are a great rebounding team (Capt. Obvious strikes again) - the Coogs have outrebounded their opponents 656 -478. I was expecting a favorable differential - but if my math is correct that breaks down to over 10 rebounds a game in excess of their opponents.
The shot block differential is huge - The Coogs have blocked 85 opponent shots, the other guys have blocked 29 of the Coog attempts, an almost 3-1 advantage. Much of this is due to Harris, but Gresham has been no slouch with 19. I had not thought of this year’s edition of the Coogs as a dominant interior defensive team, but the statistics seem to argue otherwise, a most heartening development.
Caleb Mills is really good - Mills is the third leading scorer on the team - and is in fact quite close to the leaders, (Grimes and Hinton) despite averaging about 10 minutes a game less playing time (I suspect that differential will narrow).
Finally - some areas where we can hope the team will continue its upward trajectory: a) too many turnovers - UH has committed 175 to only 172 for the opposition; b.) Free throw percentage is low - at 70%, again worse than the opponents - although only slightly. c.) Jarreau and Grimes have room for field goal percentage to improve, particularly from 3 point distance. Jarreau is shooting less than 15% from behind the arc. While 3 point shooting is not his primary value - or even secondary - my memory is that last year he was more efficient than 15%.
So back to stating the obvious - the team is very very young and that often shows. However, seems to me, lots of reasons for optimism.