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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Coogs: "Our crowd is definitely going to be good this year."

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October 22, 2018 -- 8:43 a.m. CDT

The Houston Cougars men's basketball team tips off the 2018-'19 season Thursday, November 1, with an exhibition game versus Dallas Baptist. (I'm not counting the 'secret scrimmage' versus Texas Tech which takes place October 27.) Last season, the Coogs won 27 games (27-8 record) and, for the first time since 1984, won an NCAA Tournament game.

Head Coach Kelvin Sampson guided the Coogs to a perfect 15-0 record at home (Texas Southern's H & PE Arena) last season. This season, the Coogs will begin playing in the $60 million Fertitta Center. Houston's first game inside the Fertitta Center is Saturday, December 1, versus the Oregon Ducks. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game. Tip set for 8 p.m. (Central Time).

Last week, Houston was picked third in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Poll. Many people expect the Coogs to reach the NCAA Tournament again this season.

Therefore, with the 2018-'19 season about to begin, it is safe to assume a buzz of excitement has spread around the basketball program as well as the University of Houston campus.

Seniors Breaon Brady, Corey Davis, Jr. and Galen Robinson, Jr. have noticed the vibe around campus.

"I think it (the buzz) started to pick up toward the end of last season when we started to pick up key wins," Davis Jr said. "Our crowd really got into it; but, I think this year it will be from beginning to end for sure."

Each of them has heard alums, fans, fellow students on campus say to them "We're looking forward to watching you guys play this season."

Brady said, "Yeah. A lot of people come up to me and say, 'It was good to see you play last season. I'm looking forward to this season.' A lot of fans and students show support.

"Walking through campus, everybody says, 'We're looking forward to this season.' So, am I. I'm ready."

Davis Jr. says people have mentioned their excitement to him while he's eating breakfast.

"All the time. Alumni. Students. When I eat breakfast at 7 o'clock in the morning, folks stop me to talk about basketball," Davis Jr. smiled and said. "It's definitely going to be a good year. Our crowd is definitely going to be good this year. I know that for a fact."

The city of Houston (similar to many cities) has fickle fans; but, once Houston teams begin winning, fan support increases and stays on the bandwagon as long as possible.

"We just have to keep winning," Robinson, Jr. admitted. "I remember the days my freshman year Hofheinz we were playing 'so and so' and sections had nobody in them. Just straight Dark Ages. Last year, we gathered great support for the game because we were winning; so, hopefully, we can continue that this year."

Brady is looking forward to seeing packed home crowds throughout the season.

"It's going to be amazing. When I first started, I seen how low the crowds were; and, as the season progressed, we started filling the stands. After what we did last year and this incoming season, I'm looking to see a packed house almost every night."

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