Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #3 Houston Cougars

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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 22: Texas State Bobcats guard Shelby Adams (4) reaches to steal the ball from Houston Cougars guard Marcus Sasser (0) in the first half during the college basketball game between the Texas State Bobcats and Houston Cougars on December 22 at Fertitta Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Over the last two seasons, Houston has won 60 games, made it to the Elite Eight both years, and made a Final Four appearance two years ago. Despite that, some people think that this might be the best squad that Kelvin Sampson has had yet. While that extent is yet to be seen, we do know for sure that the Cougars are going to be great, especially on defense.

Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #3 Houston Cougars

The amazing thing about Houston last year is that they won 32 games and made a deep tournament run (A run that included beating number two overall seed Arizona.) despite not having two of the best players in the American Athletic Conference in Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark for most of the season. Sasser was recently named a Preseason AP All-American. He was averaging just short of 18 points per game last year before he suffered a foot injury. Mark played in even fewer games than Sasser, but was pretty good off the bench before injuring his shoulder.

Of the other returnees, Jamal Shead is perhaps the most impactful one. With the absence of Sasser and Mark, Shead stepped up in a big way last season. He took a massive leap forward in his sophomore season, improving big-time in every category. He also made the NCAA All-Region team in the tournament. J’Wan Roberts returns too and is slated to move into the starting line-up this year. Super senior Reggie Chaney is back too.

The two incoming freshmen for Houston happen to be two of the three best recruits in program history. Top 15 five-star Jarace Walker is one of them. The McDonald’s All-American is a strong, versatile power forward. He can do a lot for you as a hybrid PF and will only continue to improve. The other member of the class is Terrance Arceneaux. The top 40 four-star is an explosive athlete and shines when the pressure is on. Mylik Wilson is the lone incoming transfer. The senior shooting guard is at his third school in as many years. He had two good seasons at UL Lafayette before transferring to Texas Tech where he didn’t play a ton last year.

Projected Lineup

PF – J’Wan Roberts (3.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG)

PF – Jarace Walker (#11 overall recruit on 247 Sports)

G – Tramon Mark (10.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG)

SG – Marcus Sasser (17.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG)

PG – Jamal Shead (10.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG)

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