Van Chancellor: Survive and advance is what matters for UH now

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kevin M Cox/AP/Shutterstock (13790487x) Houston forward Jarace Walker dunks on a fast break during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Wichita State, in Houston Wichita St Basketball, Houston, United States – 02 Mar 2023

Van Chancellor: Survive and advance is what matters for UH now

Van Chancellor is a former head coach of women’s programs at Mississippi, LSU, and the Houston Comets. He won four WNBA titles with the Comets, won a Gold Medal as an Olympic team coach, and reached five Elite Eights and a Final Four in college basketball.

What a gutsy effort by the Cougars in their win last night over a determined Northern Kentucky team. Anytime you can win by 11 points and overcome the injury of one of your star players, you have “survived and advanced.” That’s the name of the game at this point. Once again, Houston depended on their trademark defense, good rebounding, and a player, Emmanuel Sharp, stepping up to give them two great 3’s at a crucial point in the game.

The Cougars will face an Auburn team that mirrors the Cougars’ strong points – rebounding and defense to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cougars will have to silence the Auburn crowd early. I am sure Coach Sampson will remind his team that they have been a good road team all year, and no fan base has ever scored a basket. They will be counting on their fans in red to negate the Orange crowd.

Houston will have to take better care of the ball. They cannot afford 16 turnovers against Auburn. That has been one of their strong points all year, and they need to call on it now; I look for the Cougars to come out and jump on Auburn early and often. Another key will be containing Johni Broome. He is a force to be dealt with in the paint. I think Roberts and Walker will be up to meeting the challenge.

The matchup of Houston and Auburn is what makes March Madness so great. This is a matchup of two teams with similar styles trying to impose their will on the other. My pick is Houston in a hard-fought, low-scoring contest at 64-59.

As always, what adds to the excitement of March Madness are the “upsets.” We had a 15-seed Princeton upset a No. 2 Arizona and Furman at No. 13 upsetting Virginia. Look for more upsets as the tournament continues.

Less than one percent of the brackets are still viable. Most are in the wastebasket by now.

Traveling with Mattress Mack is like traveling with a rock star. Everyone knows him and wants a picture. Mack is one of the most accommodating people I know. He has been a true Cougar fan from the beginning and is looking forward to the Cougars’ return to NRG for the finals.

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