Last season, the Houston Cougars were one of the best teams in college basketball. However, none of that matters unless you capitalize on your potential in the NCAA Tournament. At the end of the day, teams will be remembered for what they do in the postseason, especially if they are not a part of the Power 5.
Thankfully for the Cougars, they made it to the Final Four last season. They may run into the buzzsaw that is the Baylor Bears, but they at least got to where they were one win away from competing for a title.
As a 2-seed, Houston knew that they had a chance to make the Final Four. But some will discount their run since they didn’t face a team ranked better than 10th until they played Baylor. They avoided the upset, but they did not have any signature wins on their resume in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
Pairing that with the fact that it is hard to make it back to the Final Four, many believe that the Cougars won’t return next year. Their odds to win it all are +3000 with almost a dozen teams having better odds.
However, here are some reasons why fans should be excited about Houston’s odds to make it back to the Final Four.
Houston Has an Experienced Roster
The experience of making it to the Final Four is unique. It cannot be simulated for other teams, so it gives you a distinct advantage. However, it only matters if you bring back the key players from last year’s team. Thankfully for Houston, many of the key players will return for 2022.
Quentin Grimes declared for the NBA Draft, so he is likely gone for the Cougars. He was easily their best player, and his production will be hard to replace. Past him, many key players are set to return. Marcus Sasser will be one of the best returning players in the conference, so that will be a bonus.
The Cougars also have some underclassmen who played contributing roles on last year’s team. None were stars, but they at least know what it took to get to the Final Four.
Things will be tough next season. When they face adversity, they can turn to these veteran players to provide guidance.
The Cougars Have an Easy Conference
Houston has the advantage of making it through the regular season without any major tests. They may play someone in a tournament every now and then, but they should at least be one of the two best teams in the conference.
Houston should have a solid record, and that will help their seeding. Unless Wichita State or Memphis make a run, they will be the best team in the conference next year. Even without Grimes, they have enough talent to dominate the AAC.
The AAC is a solid conference, but it is nothing compared to some of the other conferences. The Big Ten was dominant last season, and the ACC hopes to get back to that level in 2022.
If the Cougars had to play teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois, and Michigan State every week, they would be tired by the time they made it to the NCAA Tournament. It helps to overcome adversity, but that doesn’t matter with their experience from 2021.
The Cougars are looking to make it back to the Final Four, and you can tell that they have hope of improving the roster. They have a long list of incoming transfers in the 2021 cycle. They have enough transfers joining the team that they can field a whole new starting five.
Now, not all of these guys will play. Some will have to sit out a year, and some may not crack the depth chart. Still, having experienced college players join the team is always a bonus. It will take some Tetris with the roster, but the Cougars have options now. With so many options, they should be able to field a team that is ready to contend in the upcoming season.
No one knows what to expect next year, but Houston has high hopes of making it back to the Final Four. These reasons are why they are so hopeful.