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.
Good post Matt…I was hoping we would get a win against WSU or Cincy, but we are going to have to play over our heads to do so. This conference, outside of those two powers, is just good enough to knock each other off…meaning we could well have only two teams dancing…
I love Fabian’s game and agree he will eventually be a stud. Gray, for some reason, has been very inconsistent for us this year. We really need for him to step his game up.
I fear teams which can press because we seem very vulnerable to pressing teams. I believe WSU opened that can of worms on us.
It’s nice to have Brady back because at least he gives us a semblance of a big man around the basket. LIke I said before Harris has raw ability and will get better, but right now and probably for the rest of the season he is a Sampson project…
I see no way we only have 2 teams making the tournament, as I think it’s more likely we have 4 than just 2. I agree with Matt on how the schedule plays out and our final win total. If we get to 23 wins we will be in.
I do agree with both of you on Faban’s future. Butch, he reminds me a great deal of Dwight Davis. I also believe Harris will be a very solid contributor with a couple of more seasons under Kelvin.
As to scheduling, we’ve improved our SOS each year and would expect to continue so as our talent level improves. I’m really excited with next year’s class, especially Hinton. Kelvin said Armoni was the best shooter in the state coming out of HS and he says the same about the Davis kid.
my review so far:
we are deep, very good and not close to our ceiling…
we are blowing teams out while committing huge turnovers and half our players are still developing …we are running 10 deep every game when the game still counts, 12 might see the court on any given night
corey will be our top scorer next year. im calling it now. he has found his confidence
whats scary is how we are beating teams and not a single big man we have is even remotely close to their potential… if one or more of brady, fabian and harris figures it out by seasons end we could be scary… breon already gave us a glimpse. harris is the most raw but i see him drastically improving each game
armoni is getting better each game. im not talking offensively but defensively, he was a borderline liability last season, start of this year but he is becoming a strong point of the defense
Gabe Grant is the only player that isn’t living up to the expectations everyone had for him (starter, huge producer)… everyone else has been as good as i hoped or has the potential to get there…out of 8 that isnt bad
The biggest improvement from this year to last year is rebounding. Last year it was a weakness this year it is a strength. This is one of CKS goals for this year and it is paying dividends. Coach is doing a great job. Drexel is the only head scratching loss and that’s fine, it happens in a long season. How we have been playing is good enough to sweep the bottom 7 of the conference, yes even on the road. Win our share against the top 5 from here out we go dancing. An AAC tournament win wouldn’t hurt either.
I haven’t had time to go back and look at actual numbers, but has Galen Robinson always been this bad of a shooter? If he were even a nominal threat to fill it up from outside, it would change the dynamics a bit. As it is, his man sags off and can cover more ground to close out on wing shooters. He’s killing our ability to spread teams out with ball movement. Corey Davis is clearly the better PG in my mind and with Hinton coming in next year, Galen may find himself a spectator more than a contributor.
Good summary. I agree with it, but I think it is important that we beat either WS or Cincy .
While Corey is a much better offensive threat, he’s not really a better PG than Galen. He is slowly improving in that area but as of now he’s more of a combo. Galen is a better defender as well. That said, Galen’s deficit as a shooter does stall our offense unless at least 2 of Rob, Corey, Armoni or Wes are hitting in the 50% range on 3-pointers
Hopefully you are right about having four teams make it Randy and if that happens I love our chances.
This is the most talent we have had on one team in a while. Fabian has great basketball instincts to go with his athletic skills. He makes silly freshman mistakes but I still think he will develop into a special player.
He does remind me a lot of Dwight but White has better moves toward the basket at this stage of his career and probably is a better shooter, although Davis developed a really nice mid range jumper.
With the addition of next year’s class we will be getting closer to going nose to nose with the so called big time programs. And I think you will see us start scheduling better OOC opponents home and home…
SBNation has us as a 10 seed this week and playing against Michigan in the first round:
Jerry Palm has us as a 10 seed and playing Butler in the first round
Lunardi has us in a play game against UCLA with the winner taking on TCU
Bracket Matrix has us as the top 11 seed and we appear in 50 of the 80 brackets they track.
If UH splits with SMU and loses twice to Cincy but beats everyone else, RPI is 30. Lose twice to Cincy and SMU RPI is 42. Essentially, win every game UH is favored and they are home free.
Let’s just say (to avoid confusion) a 23-7 regular season gets them ‘home free’ no matter where the other three losses come from – because even in a worse-case scenario, they are assured of winning at least one of the four with SMU and Cincy. And I’m not sure the Coogs would be favored against ALL of Temple, UCF and Memphis on the road, either. I’ll give you maybe two of the three, but all three, probably not. However, I’m all on board with 23-7 and at least one win in the AAC tourney as a solid berth-clinching resume. Now, I’ve felt all along Coogs would be 12-6 in conference play (which would put them at a 22-8 regular season) and I’m still sticking to that at this point. Winning at least one AAC tourney game with that mark could still get them in the Dance depending on how the rest of the field shakes out. But to me, I’m gonna project at Cincy and at SMU as ‘lock’ losses plus the Cincy return trip and at Temple. The Bearcats are a national title darkhorse to me and could definitely win it all. For the Coogs to win even one game, it will take either an Arkansas/Tulsa effort on the part of U of H or an off night from the Bearcats, much like we saw from Wichita last weekend. I also look for Temple to have turned their season around by Feb. 18, and think that can also be a quite difficult matchup for the Coogs. Thus, those two are the swing games. If the Coogs can somehow split those two, then 23-7 and one AAC win gets them in pretty solidly, even without help, IMO.
Solid analysis but I don’t consider game at SMU as a sure loss. Foster has been a matchup problem for us. His loss hurts them big time
Cincy is beatable…especially at our “house”. Would not consider that game a “lock” loss.
Winning all 3 of the Memphis, Temple and UCF games …probably not. Not because they are better, but because they are on the road.