UT, UH to tangle in CBI opener at Hofheinz

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by Jeff Conrad / UH Media Office

khou.com

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 19 at 11:44 PM

HOUSTON – Competing with one of the nation’s youngest teams, the University of Houston Men’s Basketball returned to the postseason Sunday night when it accepted an invitation to compete in the 2013 College Basketball Invitational presented by Buick.

Houston will play host to Big 12 member Texas (16-17 • 7-11 Big 12) inside Hofheinz Pavilion at 8 p.m., Wednesday. It will be the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Cougars have faced Texas on the hardwood.

This will be the 31st season in which the Cougars have competed in the postseason but the first time since 2009-10. It also will be the program’s third appearance in the CBI with previous berths in 2009 and 2008, when it advanced to the semifinals in the first year of that tournament.

"We are excited and honored to be a part of the 2013 College Basketball Invitational presented by Buick. With a young team like ours, every second of postseason competition benefits our program in many different ways," head coach James Dickey said. "The rivalry between the Cougars and the Longhorns was one of the best in the Southwest Conference, and I know our coaches, student-athletes, and especially our great fans, will make it an exciting night inside Hofheinz Pavilion."

The Cougars (19-12 • 7-9 C-USA) recently advanced to the Conference USA Championship quarterfinals while competing as the No. 6 seed, the program’s highest since 2008-09. With a win against the Longhorns, the Cougars will enjoy their first 20-win season since 2008-09 despite having a combined six letters earned among all 15 student-athletes on the 2012-13 squad.

In addition, five of the team’s top scorers are freshmen or sophomores, led by All-Conference USA performers Joseph Young (17.9 ppg) and TaShawn Thomas (16.8). Two of the top players in the league, Thomas and Young recently were named to the 10-man USBWA All-District VII Team, comprised of the top players from all leagues in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Previous CBI champions include Tulsa (2008), Oregon State (2009), VCU (2010), Oregon (2011) and Pittsburgh (2012). The Cougars were eliminated from the CBI by the eventual champions in 2008 and 2009.

With a win against Texas on Wednesday, the Cougars advance to the CBI Quarterfinals, to be played Monday, March 25. Houston would face the winner of the George Mason-College of Charleston game on Monday, March 25. Game time for that game will be announced at a later date.

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