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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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Kelvin Sampson about USF: "They're huge. They're athletic. They're well-coached."

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POSTED: January 18, 2019 -- 11:15 a.m. CST

The Houston Cougars (17-1, 4-1 in AAC) face the USF Bulls (12-5, 2-3) Saturday night (7 p.m.), in Tampa, FL. The Bulls have lost 3 of their last 4 games; but, Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson says the Bulls are still a tough team to beat.

"They're 2 and 3; but, they're playing about as well as anybody," Sampson said. "They could be 5 and 0. They beat Connecticut (76-68). They lost at the buzzer at Tulsa (78-75). They lost in overtime at Temple (82-80); so, that's 4 wins right there. And, then, they lost a tough one at Cincinnati (82-74).

"They're 2 and 3; and, every game they've played has been close. So, it's going to be a tough game."

In USF's five conference games, the Bulls are shooting 44.8% from the floor and 31.1% from three-point range. USF is shooting 61.3% from the foul line.

"The strength of their team is they've got an outstanding guard duo in (Laquincy) Rideau and (David) Collins," Sampson added. "They're both about 210, 215. Big, strong guards. Then, up front, they're 7-foot Michael Durr) and 6-9"; and, the 6'9" kid (Alexis Yetna) is leading our league in rebounding. He's averaging about 13 and 10 and a half."

Rideau is averaging 18.8 points per game in AAC action while Collins and Yetna both average 15.2 points per game in conference.

Rideau 52.8% and Yetna (56.5%) are struggling from the foul line. Rideau is averaging 7.2 free attempts per game while Yetna gets to the line 4.6 times per game.

The Bulls are 10-1 at home this season (2-0 in the AAC).

"They're huge. They're athletic. They're well-coached," Sampson commented. "They have a good plan; and, they're really tough to beat at home."

USF Head Coach Brian Gregory is in his second season with the Bulls and his 15th year as a collegiate head coach. He has compiled a 270-207 record during his career as a collegiate head coach and is 22-27 at USF. Gregory is 1-2 against Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson during their careers with an 0-2 mark as USF's head coach and a 1-0 record as head coach at Georgia Tech.

ESPNU is broadcasting the game. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Central Time.

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