For the second time in 30 days, UConn faces Houston in an AAC matchup. This time around, Houston comes to Gampel Pavillion where it will try to complete a season sweep of the Huskies. The Cougars come into the game with an 11-9 record, 3-4 in the AAC. Houston's signature win so far was against UConn back on New Year's Eve. They were led by junior TaShawn Thomas's 23 point, 8 rebound performance. Houston has no other quality win of note, but it's worth pointing out that they did start off the year 5-0 before finally losing to the first two "power conference" teams they faced, losing 86-76 to Stanford and 76-64 to Texas Tech.
In conference play, Houston started off the year 2-0 with wins over UConn and USF – the Cougars' only two wins against teams currently over .500. They also dominated Rutgers by about 20 points resulting in their third conference win. While 3-4 isn't a great conference record by any means, all four of their losses have come to the top four teams in the conference. They lost a nail-biter to Cincinnati 61-60 after being down 16 at half for their first conference loss, and then also went on to lose 91-52 to Louisville, 82-59 to Memphis and 75-68 to SMU.
Statistically, Houston is just not very impressive. The Cougars do rank No. 73 in assists per game with 14.4 but their points and rebounds per game are not up to par. They average 70.4 points a game which is good for No. 219 in the nation and average 35.6 rebounds which ranks No. 162 in the nation. And guess what? UConn averages 35.9 rebounds, No. 153 in the nation, so shockingly we are actually better at rebounding!
To the players:
TaShawn Thomas, F, Junior (6-foot-8, 240 pounds): Leads team in multiple statistical categories, including points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage. Thomas averages 16.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.2 blocks (No. 14 in the nation) and 60.9 percent from the field, No. 30 nationally. His most impressive stat is that he has scored in double figures every game of the season.
Danuel House, G, Sophomore (6-foot-7, 195 pounds): The Houston website lists him as a 6-foot-7 guard – which would make him extremely difficult to defend. He is second on the team in points and rebounds averaging 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds. He is also a 34 percent 3-point shooter, and he may be Houston's most talented scorer as he has scored 20-plus in 4 of 11 games he has played this season. House missed nine games earlier this season after knee surgery.
Jherrod Stiggers, G, Redshirt Sophomore (6-foot-5, 210 pounds): Stiggers is the third and final player on team to average double digits with 10.2 points a game. He is Houston's main 3-point threat as he leads the team in attempts and makes going 40-for-128 from deep so far for a 3-point percentage of 31.3 percent. He is in the top 100 nationally in 3-point attempts. A starter at the beginning of the season, he now comes off the bench.
L.J. Rose, G, Sophomore (6-foot-4, 190 pounds): A transfer from Baylor where he was ranked No. 63 by ESPN in his class, he leads the team in assists with 5.1 per game and also averages 8.5 points per game. He is the team's leading free throw shooter with an impressive 87 percent from the line.
Brandon Morris, G, Senior (6-foot-0, 185 pounds): Morris is Houston's other 3-point threat. He doesn't shoot often, but when he does his opponents should respect it as he is 25-for-56 on the year for a 44.6 percent mark.
Houston is coached by James Dickey who is in his fourth year as head coach. He is slowly turning the program around, as he was 12-18 in his first year, 15-15 the next year and 20-13 last year. Before Houston, he was an assistant for Oklahoma State from 2002-2008 where he coached under Eddie Sutton. Before that, he was the head coach at Texas Tech from 1991-2001 where he compiled a 166-124 record. In the 95-96 season, he lead Texas Tech to a 30-2 record and the Sweet 16.