Thursday, February 22, 2024

College basketball rankings: Houston beats BYU on road, is heating up after slow start in Big 12

The Cougars improved to 17-2 and are No. 5 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 after Tuesday’s victory


Houston didn’t get off to the best of starts in the Big 12 this season. It would be silly to suggest otherwise. The 1-2 record was the 1-2 record. But I always assumed, and the Top 25 And 1 always reflected as much, that the 1-2 start was a byproduct of the challenging schedule more than a reflection of the quality of Kelvin Sampson’s basketball team, and the Cougars have spent the past eight days doing things to suggest that assumption was correct.

They won again Tuesday.

Final score: Houston 75, BYU 68.

The Cougars, on the road, made 10 3-pointers and got a game-high 23 points from L.J. Cryer, who was 5 of 9 from 3-point range. They’re now 17-2 overall, 4-2 in the Big 12 and on a three-game winning streak after losing back-to-back contests at Iowa State and at TCU.

“I played bad in both of those games, so I knew in order for us to win on the road, I was going to have to step up, other guys were going to have to step up, and I feel like that’s what we did,” Cryer said.

As noted above, Houston’s 1-2 start in the Big 12 included losses at Iowa State and TCU. Nobody likes to lose two straight, obviously. But those were both Q1 losses on the road to teams ranked in the top 40 of the NET. Big picture, they barely hurt, if at all. That’s among the reasons the Cougars’ computer numbers have remained strong, and why Houston is still fifth in Wednesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, where Purdue remains No. 1 for the 14th consecutive day.

Next up for Houston is Saturday’s home game with Kansas State. After that, the Cougars will play at Texas next Monday, then at Kansas on the first Saturday of February.

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