COOGS HOUSE!

10 slammin' spots to watch the University of Houston Cougars and March Madness action

The UH Cougars are ready for the big dance. Here's where to watch them run. UH Cougars/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Craig D.Lindsey.

The roars are echoing across the Bayou City as the University of Houston Cougars men's basketball team has earned a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region and will take on No. 14 seed Georgia State at 6:20 pm Friday, March 22 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It's a tremendous time for the Coogs, who're riding a wave of momentum thanks to billionaire benefactor Tilman Fertitta, a visit from ESPN's College GameDay, and a March Madness hoops buzz not seen since the glory days of Akeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and the cast of Phi Slama Jama in the '80s.

Plenty of adventurous Coogs will make the trip to Tulsa, but fortunately for those who can't, there are plenty of local spots to pounce on for a good view of the game and good brew.

(Pro tip: We humbly suggest hitting Twin Peaks, as a star-studded list of ESPN 97.5 FM hosts will broadcast live during the day.)

So whether you bleed Cougar red or are rooting for the other Texas teams in the tourney (we hear you, Abilene Christian, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Prairie View A&M), here's where to take in the madness.

Avenida Plaza
Of course, this is the big one. Several different screens will be tuned into the game, including one large display at 100-plus inches and multiple ones at 80 inches. We also got appearances from the University of Houston Cheerleaders, Dance Team, members of the Cougar Marching Band, and UH mascot Sasha! 5-9 pm.

Finn Hall
The food hall, filled with 10 independently operated eating establishments and two bars, will be playing March Madness games (including this one) through April 8. And don't forget about the "Buckets for Buckets" specials, where you can mix-and-match buckets of beer cans, during the games. 11 am to 11 pm.

Fuego's Saloon
Billed online as a "rustic-chic sports bar with eclectic pub grub, lots of beers, and an indoor/outdoor dog-friendly patio," this isn't a bad place to watch the game. Not only will people get to see the game live on TV, but they'll also be playing the radio commentary from a live broadcast. 6-9 pm.

Little Woodrow's Bellaire
Over at the Bellaire location of this watering-hole franchise, happy hour is always extended to 9 pm on Fridays. So you can get $3 house wine, $4 Fireballs, and $5 margaritas while you watch the game. There will also be $4 select Houston drafts and can beers. 4 pm.

Lucky's Pub
It's known as a premier sports bar and pub, so why not watch the game there? Cheer the Coogs on while dining on such pub grub as boneless buffalo wings, spicy fried pickles, and something called WonTacos or Juan Tons (crispy wonton taco shells filled with ginger chicken, cabbage, carrot, mushroom, red pepper, and cilantro). 5-10 pm.

The Phoenix on Westheimer
Oh sure, you can show up, watch the game, and have a good-ass time. But we need to talk about the special this joint has every Friday, which is $8 fish and chips. That sounds just beautiful as hell. They also have $4 Phoenix brews — but it's the fish and chips we only care about! 6:20-9:20 pm.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about more watch parties.

Sophomore guard Nate Hinton records double-double en route to the Houston Cougars' blowout victory over the Angelo State Rams

Cougars get blowout victory over Rams in exhibition game

The University of Houston Men's basketball team may be on the verge of something special ahead of the 2019-20 College Basketball season. In their lone exhibition match, the Cougars took a 108-42 victory over the Angelo State Rams on Saturday night inside the Fertita Center in Houston.

It was a wire-to-wire victory as the Cougars jumped out to an early 13-2 advantage that was ignited by forward Brison Gresham, who scored on Houston's opening possession with a hook shot over his left shoulder.

"I take nothing from this game," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "I don't get carried away with individual performances or scores because it really means nothing. I keep everything in perspective. We have a long way to go before we can get to where we are trying to get too."

While Houston would go on to shoot 64.1% from the field, 46.7% from deep, the Cougars took a 61-25 lead into the halftime break due to their defensive intensity. During the first 20 minutes of the game, the Cougars recorded four blocks and four steals, as well as forced the Rams into 12 turnovers in which they converted into 18 addition points.

Against a team that averaged 80.5 points per game last season, the Cougars held the Rams to 17 points in the second half en route to the win.

"That's the culture of the program," sophomore guard Nate Hinton said. "Defense is what keeps us going, and it is the main focus of this team."

With three steals and one block on the night, Hinton was the defensive anchor for Houston but had an exceptional performance on both sides of the ball. He finished with a double-double of 18 points (game-high) shooting 9-for-16 from the floor, to go along with 13 rebounds.

In his unofficial debut as a member of the Cougars, sophomore guard Quentin Grimes recorded 16 points (6-8 FG, 2-4 3PT), while Marcus Sasser led the bench in scoring with 17 points for Houston. In a losing effort, the Rams were led by guards Paul Williams, who recorded 14 points, and Collin Turner, who poured in 13 for Angelo State.

Following the exhibition win, the Houston Cougars will return to the court on Tuesday to take on the Alabama State Hornets to open their 2019-20 season. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. inside the Fertita Center in Houston.

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