South Florida Bulls vs. Houston Cougars Pick & Prediction JANUARY 11th 2023

Stadium: Hofheinz Pavilion Houston
Logo South Florida Bulls
Logo Houston Cougars

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Top-ranked Houston will look to build on a seven-game winning streak and remain unbeaten in league play when it hosts South Florida on Wednesday in an American Athletic Conference contest.

The Cougars (16-1, 4-0 AAC) reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll after holding down the top of the rankings for two weeks earlier in the season. Houston fell to fifth in the poll after losing at Alabama on Dec. 10, but hasn't lost since.

Before this season, the Cougars had not earned a station atop the poll since 1983. The 1967-68 team holds the school record with eight weeks at No. 1.

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"We've just got to be prepared, man," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Every good team is a challenge we have to be ready for, you know. For us, we focus on what's in front of us and what's in front of us right now is South Florida. We will go to work and focus on how we're going to guard their people."

Houston's most recent outing was a 72-59 win at Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon. Freshman Jarace Walker paced the Cougars with 21 points while producing his second straight performance of 20 or more points. Walker was named the AAC Freshman of the Week for the third time this season.

Marcus Sasser added 16 points, J'Wan Roberts racked up 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Tramon Mark had 10 points for Houston in the win. The Cougars were up by seven points at halftime, took the game by the throat with a 15-2 run to start the second half and never looked back.

The Bulls (7-9, 0-3) have started the league campaign with three losses but could have won each of those games. South Florida had double-digit leads against Memphis and Wichita State and led Temple with less than four minutes to play.

USF's most recent game was a 70-66 setback at home to Wichita State on Sunday. The Bulls were up by 14 points in the first half, trailed by four at the break and then ran out of gas down the stretch.

Russel Tchewa led South Florida with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Harris added 16 points and Sam Hines Jr. amassed 11 points with 10 rebounds.

The Bulls will be playing a top-ranked team for the sixth time in program history; South Florida has dropped the first five encounters.

"I don't know that it's that big of a deal to play the No. 1 team," USF coach Brian Gregory said. "I don't think our guys are thinking extra about that. Certainly, it's big and historic if you can win. But Houston was good (last week) as the No. 2-ranked team.

"Nobody has to remind us that Houston is a big-time team. We have to keep it simple, do what we do, play hard and compete. We have to do the things we do well, stick to it and play hard for 40 minutes. We have nothing to lose."

Houston has won the past 11 games and 13 of the last 14 overall against USF.

--Field Level Media

South Florida Bulls
Houston Cougars

South Florida Bulls vs. Houston Cougars Recap FEB 28TH 2021

DeJon Jarreau had 12 points and six assists to lead No. 25 Houston past cold-shooting South Florida 68-49 in an American Athletic Conference game Sunday in Houston.

Fabian White Jr. had 11 points and Chris Harris Jr. contributed nine points and eight rebounds for the Cougars (16-4, 6-1 AAC), who won their fourth straight game.

South Florida, which shot 37.0 percent overall and just 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point range, did not have a double-digit scorer. Michael Durr and Antun Maricevic each finished with eight points.

The Bulls (8-12, 1-6) have lost five straight games and eight of their last 10 games. South Florida finished with only eight assists and 15 turnovers.

Marcus Sasser led Houston's defensive effort with three steals. Harris added two blocked shots for the Cougars.

Showing its depth, Houston's top two leading scorers Caleb Mills and Quentin Grimes combined for only 17 points. Mills finished with 11 points.

Houston, which has won 10 of its last 12 games, never trailed after taking a 17-16 lead on Grimes' 3-pointer.

After building its lead to 31-23 at halftime, Houston gained separation in the second half when it scored seven unanswered points to take a 44-28 lead.

Houston is the first ranked team South Florida has played this season. The Bulls dropped to 0-4 on the road.

The Cougars have now beaten the Bulls seven consecutive times. In the last six wins against the Bulls, Houston has won by an average of 17 points. South Florida's last win in the series came on Jan. 23, 2016, a 71-62 victory.

--Field Level Media