A tough trip to Space City
If Baylor isn’t the top program in Texas right now, then that distinction might go to Houston at the moment. With a Final Four, an Elite Eight, and a Sweet 16 in each of the past three seasons respectively, Kelvin Sampson has this tradition-rich basketball program back at the forefront of the national discussion after years in obscurity following the Cougars’ glory days in the 1980s.
This year, Tech will face Houston only once in the regular season and that matchup will happen in Space City. Now, how much of a road atmosphere there will be in the 7,000-seat Fertitta Center will be interesting to see given how many Tech fans there are in Houston.
What’s more, it will be fascinating to see how the Cougars fare in the Big 12 instead of the American Athletic Conference. On one hand, over the past three years, U of H has secured regular-season wins over major-conference programs such as Oregon, Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Butler.
However, getting geared up for those isolated tests against quality teams is different than having to face multiple ranked teams in the span of a week or two as will be the case for the Cougars in the Big 12. For instance, in each of the last two seasons, not one of Houston’s conference opponents was ranked when they played the Cougars.
It remains to be seen whether or not Tech will be a top-25 team when they head to Houston, of course. However, just like the rest of the Big 12, the Red Raiders will be a step up in competition from what Houston has experienced recently in its conference schedule. That will make this visit to Houston fascinating for the Red Raiders.