Location: Houston, TX
Last Year’s Record: 21-12
Why they’ll make it: Senior’s Aubrey Coleman and Kelvin Lewis lead one of the best backcourts in college basketball. They both averaged over 18 points-per-game last season and they’re fully capable of increasing that average this season. Not only do they put pressure on defenses, but between the two of them, they pulled down 11.5 rebounds-per-game as well. Also returning in the backcourt Zamal Nixon and Desmond Wade; both of whom saw extensive minutes last season. They both started a double-digit number of games last season and will once again provide effect relief for Coleman and Lewis. Add junior college transfer Adam Brown to the mix and the Cougars should have the deepest backcourt in Conference-USA.
Why they won’t make it: With Marcus Cousin’s graduation and Qa’rraan Calhoun’s decision to try Europe, the Cougars weren’t left with much in the frontcourt. Nick Mosley, with a 2.6 point-per-game and 2.4 rebound-per-game average is their most productive returner in the frontcourt. So they’re in a bit of a bind there. They’re going to rely on one of the newcomers to provide a boost in that department. It may be freshmen, Kendrick Washington or Kirk Van Slyke, or maybe juco transfer, Kahmell Broughton who the Cougars will call on. If none of them step up, then it’ll be 18 years without a trip to the Big Dance.