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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Kelvin Sampson: "The Cougars play at the Fertitta Center. So, we'll play you there."
UPDATED: May 27, 2020 -- 12:04 a.m. CT
POSTED: May 25, 2020 -- 3:44 p.m. CT
Houston Cougars Head Coach Kelvin Sampson and Assistant Coach Kellen Sampson were guests on The Chop Shop Monday afternoon with hosts Robert Hatter and Jim Hicks.
Click HERE to watch the full show on YouTube.
Click HERE to see when Kelvin and Kellen appear on the show.
During the show, Coach Kelvin Sampson shed some light on the Coogs' non-conference scheduling and how the UH men's basketball program has, in 6 years, evolved to become where teams see Houston as a good game.
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"The last three years we've finished in the top 25 in the nation," Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Our recruiting has gotten better in a new way: teams now see us as a good game. That's why we renewed a new deal with LSU. We're going to play them - that may be a four year deal. It's at least a two year deal; but, it may be a four year deal.
"We did a three year deal with Oregon that we're going to delay a year.
"We did an American Athletic Conference / SEC thing. We got South Carolina coming to our gym this year. LSU's coming to our gym.
"Next year, we got invited; and, you guys know, you don't call up Maui and ask, "Can I be in it?" They have to invite you; so, we got an invitation to Maui.
"I wish I could announce something on your show that's exciting for our schedule; but, I can't right now because we don't have the contract back. But, we got two other games that we're going to schedule that's going to really rock our non-conference schedule in the coming years.
"And, it should have been announced already; but, some of the conferences have moved from 18 conference games to 20. When you go to 20 conference games, what that does is take two of your non-conference opportunities away. And, that's why some of these games had to be pushed back a year or pushed back two years because of games that were already scheduled and they had to fit them in with that.
Coach Kelvin continued: "But, with our conference schedule, we have a formula. We have 18 conference games that means we have 13 non-conference games which comes to 31 (games overall). So, we're always going to play in an 8-team exempt tournament that gives us 3 (games); so, now you're up to 21, 18 and 3. Now, we have 10 (non-conference) games left. Three of those are usually going to be big name opponents like this year we have two SEC teams, actually, we have 3 SEC schools: two we've announced and 1 we haven't announced on the schedule.
"But, it's gotten better in one way. Tougher in another. But, we work at scheduling year round. People think you just call somebody up; and, they'll play you. It used to be like that. But, now, we have to be a little bit more creative and use our imagination. One of the things that we get hit with is everybody wants to play us at the Toyota Center and we come to a neutral site or in their arena.
"No. No. We just built a beautiful new arena. If we're going to play you, it's going to be a home-and-home. We're going to play at the Fertitta Center. We are not playing at the Toyota Center. Last I checked, that's where the Rockets play. The Cougars play at the Fertitta Center. So, we'll play you there.
"Now, one of the things I would want to do is, maybe do a neutral site; and, one of the neutral sites, we'll play in is at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth where the Conference Tournament will be. I wouldn't mind doing that; but, I don't want to cheat our fans at being able to see a big name opponent play at the Fertitta Center. That's why I have a hard time playing neutral-site games."
CLICK HERE for news and info about the Coogs' men's basketball team.
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