Auburn passed its first test of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday by defeating Iowa, 83-75 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham.
Auburn jumped out of the gate in the second half by taking a lead of 17 points before Iowa stormed back to cut the lead down to four. Wendell Green Jr. would score 10 of Auburn’s final 17 points to help the Tigers run away with the win.
Next up for the No. 9 seed Tigers is the No. 1 seed Houston Cougars on Saturday evening at 6:10 p.m. CT. Houston advances to the round of 32 after knocking off No. 16 seed Northern Kentucky on Thursday night.
Ahead of Saturday’s game between Auburn and Houston, here’s a rundown of five key pieces of information about the Cougars.
The Houston Cougars are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region, and opened the NCAA Tournament by defeating No. 16 Northern Kentucky, 63-52. Four players reached double figures in points, led by Jarace Walker’s 16.
Houston’s star guard Marcus Sasser is dealing with a nagging groin injury, which caused him to exit Thursday’s first round game against Northern Kentucky and makes him questionable for Saturday’s game against Auburn. He averages 16.7 points per game, and connects on 43% of his shots.
Houston has three other players outside of Sasser that average double-figures each game, but the closest player that could match Sasser’s skillset it J’wan Roberts. Roberts scores an average of 10.4 points per game, and also leads the team in rebounds with 7.9. Roberts scored 11 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in Houston’s first round win over Northern Kentucky.
The Cougars are 32-3 this season, with two of those three losses coming to teams that have also beaten Auburn. Houston suffered their first defeat of the season on Dec. 10 at home to Alabama, and lost to Memphis in the American Athletic Conference championship game last Sunday. Houston other loss was a one-point loss to Temple on Jan. 22.
Houston’s head coach is Kelvin Sampson, who is in his 9th season. He has won 231 games during his time in Houston, and has not lost more than ten games in a season since 2016-17. Before he began his time in Houston, Sampson was known for leading the Oklahoma Sooners to 279 wins over 12 seasons from…
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