The biggest prize for the University of Houston advancing to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament? A chance to catch your breath. It may only be brief, but the Cougars’ homecoming after a whirlwind last two weeks – a busy schedule with five games in nine days between the American Athletic Conference and the start of the NCAA Tournament – offers a chance to rest and heal . for a myriad of injuries. “Get some rest,” head coach Kelvin Sampson said of the coming days before the No. 1-seeded Cougars face fifth-seeded Miami in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Kansas City, Missouri. come on, even the guys who don’t have the famous injuries. We have a lot of injured kids that nobody talks about. “It’ll do Marcus’ (Sasser) groin good. (Tramon) Mark was beaten. Reggie (Chaney) gets beaten up. J’Wan (Roberts) gets beaten up. Probably the busiest room of the day is John Houston’s room before practice. Houston, UH’s longtime associate athletics director for sports medicine, has been arguably the busiest and most important person within the men’s basketball program over the past nine days. He was immediately responsible for the treatment Sasser received for his groin injury sustained at the AAC tournament and again after the All-America guard aggravated the injury in the opener of the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Houston monitored point guard Jamal Shead, who played with a hyperextended right knee. Foul problems, not injuries, kept the Star Guards off the field in Saturday’s 81-64 second-round win over Auburn. “It’s really great to be home,” Sasser said of the three days before Wednesday’s departure for Kansas City. “It’s an opportunity to get treatment, rest your legs and I think it helps all of us. We all have scratches and bruises. Coming home and having that extra free time will help us a lot.” After three games in three days at the AAC tournament in Fort Worth, the Cougars had a quick turnaround with a Thursday-Saturday bracket in the Midwest region. UH will have an extra day at home with a Friday-Sunday format for the Regional Semi-Finals and Grand Final. “When the (opening weekend) is over, the smoke clears, (and) it goes from 68 (tournament teams) to 64 to 32 to 16,” Sampson said. “We’ve been here many times in the round of 16. The next 40 minutes will be great. We have to find a way to get the next 40 minutes, and then we’ll go on from there. Otherwise, it’s over.” Sasser said he felt an occasional twinge in his groin during Saturday’s game, but he blocked it. a couple of times,” said Sasser, who scored 22 points in 31 minutes. “I was in pain. But it was a pain I could take and keep pushing.” The groin injury is likely to persist for the rest of the postseason, Sasser said, and it’s about managing the pain. “I don’t know how to take it out,” he added. “But I feel like it’s going to be a lot better.” Since the Cougars went home early Sunday morning, their schedule has been light, with a movie session later that day and one-on-one workouts and a quick overview on Monday. will assemble for formal training on Tuesday before departing on Wednesday.
And then the fatigue begins again.
Two wins in three days this weekend will send the Cougars to the Final Four at NRG Stadium.
“We want this season to last as long as possible,” said Sasser.