Feb 16, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson with guard Tramon Mark (12) near the bench during the second half against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Moody Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Resilience: The capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties.
When Marcus Sasser went down on Saturday, it was one of the quietest moments I’ve ever seen in a basketball arena.
Then after that injury timeout, Houston basketball went on another one of their signature runs. After the game, we learned from coach Kelvin Sampson, “no one really mentioned it.”
The best player goes down, and nobody even blinks. That is next-level resilience from the Cougars. They would go on to win the game by 21 points. How can this be? It’s culture. It’s compartmentalization. Yes, of course, the team loves Marcus. They want Marcus to be OK, but they knew that it was up to trainer John Houston to do his job and take care of Marcus. Their job was to win the basketball game. And they did their job. Houston is now 11-0 in Dickies arena in Fort Worth, and today at 2:15, they will try to make it 12-0 and try to win their third conference championship tournament title in a row which would also be their final game in the American Conference.
This will be no easy task. Memphis is a talented, dynamic, high-scoring basketball team. Memphis will be hungry and fired up after losing at the buzzer to Houston just a week ago. There are so many measurables in college basketball, but you cannot measure heart, and that’s where I really believe Houston has its largest advantage.