Last Reflections By John Royal

2. The Houston Cougars whine about the lack of fans that come out for basketball games. The low attendance is disappointing, of course, because this current UH basketball team is perhaps the most talented team since Pat Foster was head coach. But damn it, you have to give fans a reason to come out and watch the team.

Houstonians are a fickle group (for every team but the Texans). The Cougars have to start scheduling some big names schools so that the team can draw some attention. It’s nice to win games, but when your home schedule consists of McNeese, University of Incarnate Word, New Orleans, Fairfield, and Prairie View, then nobody is going to care. Especially when this is what the UH non-conference home schedule looks like year after year after year. Ooh, is that Arkansas on the schedule? When was the last time Arkansas was relevant? Rice usually plays a tougher non-conference than the Cougars, and TSU definitely plays a more difficult schedule. So you want fans, play a schedule worthy of fans showing up.

It’s a fair criticism.

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I suggest that we hire John Royal to do our scheduling and see how many “big name” teams he can lure to play Houston !!!


I don’t really buy the claim that we can’t get those teams to play here, at least in basketball. I think it’s more a case of wanting to build the program with wins.

I’m sure there are scheduling challenges, but I’m certain we could improve the non-conference slate if that’s what we wanted. I expect to see that improvement start next season.

I agree, talk is cheap. Takes two to agree.

I won’t miss Royal at all. Google his name and look at all the UH hit pieces he’s written over the years.

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The Houston Area NC State Alumni Association would love a home and home between the Pack and the Coogs. UH has built a solid program. Combine that with the location and lots of programs would schedule the Coogs. When schools look at basketball schedules, the fact that you might be good enough to beat them is not a negative. Scheduling teams in the 50-100 RPI range in your non-conference is a good thing. With a school like UH you may even get a shot at a Top 50 win.

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What the guy says is true, especially in the city of Houston…we need, have to get some name teams to come here to play. Playing Arkansas was fine, but we really need some Big 12 teams on a home and home basis. Agy has always drawn well here…but because they don’t need us and the fact that we go after many of the same players, folks like Agy and Horn would no doubt want two fers…That said, look around at the other big conferences and bring in teams that at least common fans can relate with…
I think coach Sampson has our program to the point where we can schedule up and even go to some of the better preseason tournaments…

John is a Cougar and his editorial are CONSTRUCTIVE

When he is gone we need somebody to replace him
We can learn


Comparing TSU’s OOC to ours doesn’t make any sense in terms of “getting people to show up” because TSU literally did not play a single OOC game at home.

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TSU plays ALL of the OOC games on the road against big boys in order to fund their program.

They do what they have to do.

I know. Mike Davis also says he think it better prepares his team for conference play, and it’s hard to argue with his results since he’s been there. But it seemed like Royal’s main point was that we need a better schedule to start getting better home crowds (agree it would help, but it’s also easier said then done). I don’t see how comparing TSU going and playing road games without a return trip against Wazzu or whoever else has any bearing on UH home crowds generally. I mean, I guess if we went on the road and beat Duke or something it might generate some buzz. But it seems like an odd comparison. It’s also kind of weird that he dogs getting Arkansas here when this will probably be their third tourney appearance in the last four years.

IMO Houston has the worst fans on the planet. I do not hear any other fans talking about showing up to see the opponent. If anything I have missed games this season because of awkward starting times like yesterday’s game at 2:00.

After 30 years of mediocre to average performance the fans are justified in their indifference to the program. You can’t flip a switch and expect fans to show up at the first signs of a competitive pulse. However, Sampson has the program heading in the right direction and I do expect the new arena to draw fans. The bottom line is that fans want NCAA tournament caliber performance, not NIT or CBI performance.

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Agree GooseCreek. Add the indifference from Administration over much of the 30 years you described and it was a formula for failure. Coach Sampson is rebuilding brick by brick. The Fertitta Center being rebuilt brick by brick. Anxious to see what next year will be like from Out of Conference schedule to Game day experience.

Question: Is it more important to draw the fans now with big names at home and risk the losses or is it more important to have UH being talked about for the Tourney this far into the season?

I honestly do not know the answer but the schedule this season has been “good enough” to get UH into many tournament bracket discussions and projections. I want more people in the stands too but making the NCAA Tournament is key to this with the Houston fans it seems.

The program finally is showing the quality that should make it more competitive with the bigger names in basketball so maybe the schedule will be improved.

Ricdiculous comment about “first signs of a competitive pulse”. Kelvin has has built the “competiive pulse” of this basketball program from Day 1 on the job. No one in the country did a better job of coaching than he did his first year to get 13 wins out of the mess he inherited. This is the 4th year and if you think this is the “first signs” of being competitive, you haven’t been paying attention.

Once again another prime example of why we find ourselves in the second tier of collegiate athletics.

+1 - Kelvin has steadily built a highly competitive culture for UH BB and is now attracting better talent to go along with it.


Getting to the tourney trumps all right now. However, getting big name opponents to come here would probably help improve that aim rather than hurt it. If we went 1-2 against Ohio State, WVU and Texas Tech, that’s wayyyyyy better than 3-0 against McNeese, UIW and New Orleans. The issue is that it’s really hard to get home games with “big names.” As our program gets better and with moving into the updated arena we may be able to start getting some better home and homes. Our schedule this year was almost fine in terms of a team shooting for the tourney, though. Neutral with Providence, @ LSU, Ark at home is pretty decent. The two things we are missing was a bigger preseason tournament and replacing one or two of the really atrocious games (UIW, New Orleans, etc.) with even like a Wyoming or SFA level team. But even with the former, after losing to Drake in the first round of the tournament we played in it’s hard to complain that we should have been able to play in a bigger one.

UH #151 in strength of schedule as of today.
Temple #2. Didn’t expect that.