The House Cougars sit at an impressive record of 20-3. Houston has an encouraging March Madness outlook. All season, Houston has put a menacing defense on the floor. In addition, Houston is one of the top rebounding teams in the country and their star player has been scorching hot. The Cougars look primed and ready to make a deep March Madness run with Kelvin Sampson, the experienced Houston head coach, at the helm.
Houston’s Elite Defense
Houston’s defense is simply terrifying. They boast many impressive statistics to prove they are a top three defense in America. The Cougars are second in the country in Team Ranking’s defensive efficiency. Also, they are fifth in Kenpom’s adjusted defensive efficiency stat.
Houston only allows 57.8 points per game, which is second in the country. They also hold opponents to a measly shooting percentage of 37.2%, this is first in the NCAA. The Cougars have suffocating wing defense as they hold their opponents to 28.1% from three, this is 6th in America. Also, they are ninth in the country in allowing only 15.8 points per game from three.
Houston is pretty good in the department of steals, blocks and forced turnovers. The Cougars are 30th in the country with 4.6 blocks per game, and 24th in the country with 8.4 steals per game. The most important piece here is Houston’s advantage in turnovers in every single game. Houston is 29th in forced turnover percentage at the mark of 21.9%. While only turning the ball over 11 times per game, which is 25th in the nation. Houston typically having a clear-cut advantage in turnovers is a major advantage in March.
Houston could be a top 3-5 rebounding team in the country as well. They are fifth in total rebounds per game with 40.7 rebounds per game. This is quite impressive when considering Houston’s frontcourt is made up of 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9 forwards.
The strongest aspect of the Cougar’s rebounding is their offensive rebounding. They are third in the country with 13.2 offensive rebounds per game. This has led to Houston leading the country in extra scoring chances per game. Gaining extra chances during March Madness is vital, and could be a deciding factor in several games. Especially when Houston’s team defense is so exceptional.
Justin Gorham, the Cougar forward, is Houston’s leading rebounder. The tenacious rebounder averages 9.3 rebounds per game. Gorham has been a double-double machine for Houston. Earlier in the season, he had eight straight games with double-digit rebound games.
— James Mueller (@jdm2186) January 31, 2021
Houston’s Offensive Weapons
The Cougars are not too shabby on the offensive end either. Houston’s backcourt could be one of the best in the country with three guards averaging double figures.
Marcus Sasser, Houston’s starting point guard, averages 14 points per game and shoots 34% from three. The starting shooting guard, DeJon Jarreau, averages 10.5 points per game while shooting 43.7% from the floor and 38.3% from three. Another guard, Cameron Tyson comes off the Houston bench and averages 6.9 points per game while shooting a deadly 43.2% from three.
The star of the show is Quentin Grimes. Grimes averages 17.9 points per game while shooting 40% from the floor. He has an impressive offensive rating of 118.7, so Houston scores 118.7 points per 100 possessions with Grimes playing. The 6-foot-5 guard also reels in 6.1 rebounds per game. Grimes has been red-hot in the past five games. The guard shot a blistering 50% from three while pouring in 33 points against a good Western Kentucky team. Grimes has posted 20+ points in the past three games, and four of the past five games.
Most brackets are projecting Houston as a three seed right now, but that could change. They are extremely close to being a two seed, and it is possible they could grab a one seed if chips fall in the right place. Before deciding how far Houston goes in the NCAA Tournament, their seeding must be established and Houston’s possible matchups must be established.
Regardless of the Cougars’ seeding, they should be a force in March. Houston seems to have the recipe for success in March Madness. They have an elite defense, are top ten in the country in offensive efficiency, win the turnover battle and are a great rebounding team. On top of this, their star player Grimes is hitting his stride right now. Having a star player capable of taking over games in March equals success. Houston’s March Madness outlook looks extremely positive.
All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference, ESPN, Kenpom and Team Rankings.
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