After going nearly three months without winning more than two games in a row, Houston reeled off four straight wins in the Conference USA tournament last weekend in Tulsa, Okla. and ultimately defeated Texas-El Paso in the title game to claim its first NCAA tournament berth since 1992.
Sixth-year Coach Tom Penders runs an up-tempo, free-styling offense centered around senior guard Aubrey Coleman (6-foot-4, 200 lbs.), who leads the nation in scoring (25.6 points per game). Coleman attempted 697 shots this season. The next most prolific shot taker on the Cougars roster is fellow senior guard Kelvin Lewis. Coleman is shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from three-point range.
Coleman can score in a variety of ways. He is the team's leading defensive rebounder, and he frequently will initiate (and finish) the fast break. He also is a capable offensive rebounder and can score on put-backs due to his strength and good hands. Coleman is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game.
Lewis (6-foot-4, 195 lbs.) is the only other Houston player that will have plays run specifically to get him shots. He is averaging 15.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.4 percent from the field. Lewis is Houston's primary three-point shooter, and he made 39.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc this season.
Coleman and Lewis play large roles on the defensive end as well. Houston owns a +7.8 turnover margin and averages 9.5 steals per game. Coleman (2.7 spg) and Lewis (1.8 spg) represent Houston's best on-the-ball defenders.
As for the team's overall defensive strategy, well, it doesn't appear to have one. Houston has operated in an array of defensive alignments this season and has yet to stick to one. Seemingly from night to night, Houston altered its defensive scheme. The Cougars have gone zone and they've gone man. They tried the triangle-and-2, as well as the box-and-1. THere's not telling what they'll throw at Maryland on Friday night.
Rounding out Houston's starting backcourt is sophomore guard Desmond Wade (5-foot-8, 150 lbs.). He is averaging 5.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. He owns a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio and is a large reason why the Cougars average only 9.1 turnovers per game. Wade averages 4.9 assists per game and shoots 40.1 percent from the field.
Houston's starting frontline consists of freshman forward Kendrick Washington (6-foot-7, 270 lbs.) and senior forward Sean Coleman (6-foot-8, 215 lbs.). Washington averages 4.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.5 percent from the field. Sean Coleman averages 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.3 percent from the field.
With a rebounding margin of -8.1, it would seem Houston is not a very strong squad on the boards.
Off the bench, the Cougars can bring in junior forward Maurice McNeil (6-foot-9, 215 lbs.) and freshman forward Kirk Van Slyke (6-foot-9, 215 lbs.). McNeil, the team's third-leading scorer, is averaging 8.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He is shooting 45.2 percent from the field and has tallied a team-high 37 blocks. Van Slyke is averaging 3.5 points and 1.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 37.6 percent from the field.
Spelling Houston's backcourt are junior guards Adam Brown (6-foot-4, 175 lbs.) and Zamal Nixon (6-foot-1, 170 lbs.). Brown averages 7.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. He is shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three-point range. Nixon is averaging 5.8 points and 1.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 39.3 percent from the field.
As a team, the Cougars are shooting 42.0 percent from the field, 35.6 percent from three-point range and 71.3 percent from the free throw line.
Posted by: Russtinator | March 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: seltzer1 | March 15, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: HughGRection | March 15, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.