Photo courtesy of Jamie Squire – Getty Images
Kelvin Sampson and the Houston Cougars are the first team to punch their ticket to this year’s Final 4 after holding off Oregon State. This will be the program’s 6th time in the Final 4, as well as their first since the days of Phi Slama Jama.
That may be where the similarity between these teams grinds to a halt, however. While Hakeem and Clyde’s version of the Cougs were known for their explosiveness and monster dunks, this team relies on solid, fundamental basketball in order to get the job done. This focus on playing good basketball pushed them through a nightmare shooting performance, with the team posting a brutal 32.3% from the field.
You don’t have to look to far to see what Houston’s saving grace was in this one, with a 19-7 advantage on the offensive glass, 2nd and even 3rd chance scoring attempts wound up the nail in the coffin for Oregon State.
As for the Beavers, it’s impossible to ignore their 8 first-half turnovers when trying to see what went wrong. As well as that, their 55% from the line compared to their season average near 78%. Nonetheless, the Beavers made a heck of a run after being picked to finish last in the Pac 12, and there’s nothing to hang your head about despite the tough finish.
Houston will likely be waiting on pins and needles as the Arkansas vs. Baylor game tips off less than 15 minutes after they finish cutting down the nets. With as dominant as the Cougs have been this year, I doubt Sampson’s team will be fearing either team too much.