Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024


CBS Sports graphic

Kelvin Sampson, for understandable reasons considering his program was upgrading conferences, did not get too aggressive with the non-league portion of Houston’s schedule this season — evidence being that the Cougars’ non-league schedule ranks 165th nationally, according to the NET. Consequently, it took Houston a little longer than others to build a body of work that matched its strong computer numbers, which is how I ended up with as many as five schools ahead of the Cougars in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings earlier this month, because, as recently as 11 days ago, Houston was merely 3-2 in Quadrant 1 and coming off of back-to-back losses to Iowa State and TCU.

Fast-forward to the present, and four of the five teams I placed ahead of Houston after the Cougars lost at TCU haven’t lost since — and that’s the simplest explanation for why Houston was No. 5 in Saturday morning’s Top 25 And 1. But if you follow these rankings closely, you likely know that I value resumes over pretty much everything else at this point in the season, and even if there might’ve been four or even five teams with better resumes than Houston 11 days ago, such is clearly no longer the case after the Cougars extended their winning streak to four games Saturday with a 74-52 victory over Kansas State.

“They may be the best defensive team I’ve ever seen,” said Kansas State coach Jerome Tang. “It’s just hard to find shots.”

For what it’s worth, the Cougars do have the top-rated defense in the country, according to Specifically, they have the best defensive 2-point field goal percentage (40.3), the best block percentage (19.2) and the best steal percentage (16.2) in the sport.

As for the resume, Houston’s four-game winning streak features two Quadrant 1 wins (over Texas Tech and BYU) and two Quadrant 2 wins (over UCF and Kansas State) that have pushed the Cougars to 6-2 in Quadrant 1 and 2-0 in Quadrant 2 — or 8-2 in the first two quadrants with zero losses outside of Quadrant 1. The increased strength of that body of work is why I’ve jumped Houston above North Carolina and Tennessee to No. 3 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, where Purdue remains No. 1 for the 18th consecutive morning.

Top 25 And 1 rankings

Out: Colorado State

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