Houston Cougars at Connecticut Huskies Pick
The Houston Cougars 23-1 will visit the UConn Huskies 13-11 Thursday night, as the Cougars will look to extend their eight-game winning streak. Houston has climbed three spots in the rankings to No. 9 in the country. UConn has dropped two straight games on the road, but they return back home where they have gone 12-2 this season. We'll see if the Huskies can hand the Cougars just their second loss of the season. This will be the only game of the season where these two teams face off. This will mark only the 12thtime Houston has taken on UConn, as the Cougars have won six of the eleven matchups. Houston has won four of their last five games against UConn.
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Sampson Rolling in Houston
Kelvin Sampson has been great for Houston since taking over as head coach back in 2014. His first season was rough, as his team finished 13-19, but has turned it up over the past four seasons getting his team to 20-plus wins each year. It still remains to be seen how they finish off the season but this season is playing out to be the best of Sampson's coaching career. The Cougars are led by senior guard Corey Davis Jr. and junior guard Armoni Brooks. This season Brooks is averaging 13.8 ppg and 6.4 yrpg, which are both higher than his sophomore season. He has dropped in free throw percentage, from 81.5 percent to 63.2 percent, but he has improved in other facets of the game. Davis leads his team in scoring with 15.5 ppg, as he has helped this team get to first-place in the American Conference.
Connecticut has struggled over the past two seasons, combining for a 30-35 record and zero postseason opportunities. Senior guard Jalen Adams led the way for the Huskies averaging 17 ppg, but will be without the 6'3" guard for 4-6 weeks with a Grade 2 strain. This is a considerable loss for UConn considering Adams had a few stretches of games where he has been able to score the ball at will. During a six-game stretch in January, the guard was averaging 23.5 points. Junior guard Christian Vital is second on the team in scoring with 14 ppg and also leads the team with 6.1 rpg. Vital is as consistent as they come, as he has scored double-digit points in 14 straight games. The third scorer on the team is sophomore guard Alterique Gilbert, who has missed the last four games for the Huskies with a hand injury.
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Houston at Uconn Prediction 02/14/2019
It’ll be interesting to see if Gilbert can make it through pregame warmups and suit up for this game now that the team is without Adams. All indications are that he’s close to returning and it would be nice for the Huskies to get back their floor general. Given the injury concerns to the Huskies, we’re picking the red-hot Cougars Thursday night.