Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

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 BartTorvik.com. 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

Biggest Movers

Rk

Teams

Chg

Rcrd

1

18-2

Lance Jones finished with 24 points and three steals in Tuesday’s 99-67 win over Michigan. The Boilermakers’ next game is Sunday at Rutgers.

2

17-2

Tristen Newton finished with 25 points and six rebounds in Saturday’s 66-65 win at Villanova. The Huskies’ next game is Jan. 28 against Xavier.

3

2

18-2

Jamal Shead finished with 17 points and three assists in Saturday’s 74-52 win over Kansas State. The Cougars’ next game is Monday at Texas.

4

1

17-3

RJ Davis finished with 24 points and three rebounds in Saturday’s 75-68 win at Florida State. The Tar Heels’ next game is Tuesday at Georgia Tech.

5

1

15-4

Dalton Knecht finished with 32 points and six rebounds in Saturday’s 75-62 win at Vanderbilt. The Vols’ next game is Tuesday against South Carolina.

6

16-4

AJ Storr finished with 28 points and two rebounds in Friday’s 81-66 win over Michigan State. The Badgers’ next game is Thursday at Nebraska.

7

4

16-4

Tre King finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in Saturday’s 79-75 win over Kansas. The Cyclones’ next game is Saturday at Baylor.

8

1

16-4

Tre King finished with 21 points and nine rebounds in Saturday’s 79-75 win over Kansas. The Cyclones’ next game is Saturday at Baylor.

9

3

18-2

Great Osobor finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s 90-84 win at Boise State. The Aggies next game is Tuesday against San Jose State.

10

4

15-5

Oso Ighodaro finished with 21 points and seven rebounds in Saturday’s 75-57 win over Seton Hall. The Golden Eagles’ next game is Tuesday at Villanova.

11

2

15-4

Jared McCain finished with 21 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s 72-71 win over Duke. The Blue Devils’ next game is Monday at Virginia Tech.

12

4

16-3

DaRon Holmes was 2 of 12 from the field in Saturday’s 69-64 loss at Richmond. The Flyers’ next game is Tuesday against George Washington.

13

2

16-5

Ryan Kalkbrenner finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s 85-62 win over DePaul. The Bluejays’ next game is Friday against Butler.

14

2

15-5

Caleb Love finished with 36 points and three rebounds in Saturday’s 87-78 win at Oregon. The Wildcats’ next game is Thursday against California.

15

2

16-3

Pop Isaacs finished with 18 points and four assists in Saturday’s 85-84 win at Oklahoma. The Red Raiders’ next game is Tuesday at TCU.

16

7

14-5

JaKobe Walter was 2 of 12 from the field in Saturday’s 105-102 loss to TCU. The Bears’ next game is Wednesday at UCF.

17

7

16-4

K.D. Johnson was 1 of 6 from the field in Saturday’s 64-58 loss at Mississippi State. The Tigers’ next game is Wednesday against Vanderbilt.

18

1

15-4

Antonio Reeves finished with 24 points and four rebounds in Saturday’s 63-57 win at Arkansas. The Wildcats’ next game is Wednesday against Florida.

19

3

15-5

Jaxson Robinson finished with 17 points and two rebounds in Saturday’s 84-72 win over Texas. The Cougars’ next game is Saturday at West Virginia.

20

4

15-5

Marcus Domask finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s 70-62 win over Indiana. The Illini’s next game is Tuesday at Ohio State.

21

17-3

JT Toppin finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday’s 95-75 win at San Jose State. The Lobos’ next game is Sunday against Nevada.

22

1

16-4

Lamont Butler finished with 23 points and four assists in Tuesday’s 81-65 win over Wyoming. The Aztecs’ next game is Tuesday at Colorado State.

23

2

14-6

Mark Sears finished with 21 points and five assists in Saturday’s 109-88 win over LSU. The Crimson Tide’s next game is Wednesday at Georgia.

24

2

17-3

B.J. Mack finished with 21 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s 72-64 win over Missouri. The Gamecocks’ next game is Tuesday at Tennessee.

25

NR

15-5

Emanuel Miller finished with 21 points and five rebounds in Saturday’s 105-102 win at Baylor. The Horned Frogs’ next game is Tuesday against Texas Tech.

26

6

15-5

Javian McCollum was 2 of 11 from the field in Saturday’s 85-84 loss to Texas Tech. The Sooners’ next game is Tuesday at Kansas State.

In: TCU
Out: Colorado State

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