ON TO THE SWEET 16

5 quick hits on UH's win over Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament

Corey Davis Jr. is good at sports. Getty Images.

The Houston Cougars are going to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 35 years after beating Ohio State 74-59. Five quick thoughts from Sunday night's game:

1) Defense, again

Ohio State got off to a fast start, hitting 8 of 17 3-pointers in the first half. But the Cougars held Ohio State to just 32 percent shooting in the second half. The Buckeyes would should just 38 percent for the game as the Cougar defense got it done.

2) The veteran

Galen Robinson has been a huge part of UH's turnaround. On Sunday, he played in his school record 135th game as a Cougar. He scored 13 points and his quickness was a big reason for the victory.

3) Staying on point

The Cougars have faced two subpar teams in the first two rounds, but they have not let up. Georgia State was a cakewalk, and Ohio State barely belonged in the tournament and somehow beat Iowa State. The Cougars kept their foot on the gas and took care of business.

4) Kelvin Sampson is pretty good

Ohio State's one real threat was big man Kaleb Wesson. He did score 15, but was just 3 of 7 from the floor and six of those shots were 3-pointers. The Cougars took him out of his game thanks to Sampson's strategies and UH was never in danger of losing.

5) Now it gets serious

UH will face the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet 16. If they can get by them, North Carolina awaits. This is a death row for the Cougars, but if they play their best they should have a chance against Kentucky.

Staying with the Coogs

5 quick thoughts on Kelvin Sampson's new deal with UH

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UH basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, fresh off a Sweet 16 appearance with the Cougars, agreed to a contract extension to stay with the team. The deal is reportedly six years for $18 million.

Despite rumors of a possible move to Arkansas, the final result was almost a certainty. A look at five reasons why the deal got done:

1) Family first

Sampson's family has become a big part of the program. His daughter works for the school. His son, Kellen, is an assistant coach at the school and will be named head coach in waiting. That does not mean he will be the next coach. His name has come up for head coaching jobs in the past, and he could easily get an opportunity before his father retires. The younger Sampson is very well respected. For now, however, the band is being kept together.

2) Age

At 63, Sampson might not have another rebuild in him. He will be almost 70 when the contract expires. Is there a chance he still leaves at some point? Absolutely. But the reality is a move at this stage does not make a lot of sense. He likes it at UH, he has brand spanking new facilities to play in, and now he is being compensated at a high level.

3) The future

Sampson has proven he can compete for Final Fours at Houston, and he will have a terrific team returning next season. Yes, he loses starting guards Corey Davis Jr. and Galen Robinson, Jr., but there are players waiting in the wings who will continue to develop under Sampson. Armani Brooks returns, and Dejon Jarreau should take on a bigger role. Nate Hinton was a highly regarded recruit who should improve. Incoming guard Caleb Mills comes with a ton of hype. Sampson has already called him the best offensive player he has recruited to Houston. Next year should be another good one.

4) UH is serious

The Cougars are not afraid to spend money. They gave a big deal to Dana Holgorsen to boost the football program, and now Sampson is being paid like an elite coach. They have a new football stadium and the revamped Fertitta Center, plus practice facilities that would make a lot of bigger schools jealous. The school wants to win and Sampson has the support he needs.

5) Different world

Sampson's path to a title might be just as strong at Houston as it is at an SEC school. NCAA hoops is not always dominated by the big conferences, and the ACC is not a bad group. Besides UH, UCF has built both its football and basketball programs into powerhouses. Memphis has a top recruiting class coming in. Previous powers Wichita State and UConn have excellent traditions. Cincinnati is a year-in, year-out tourney team. The Cougars can win in this conference and win big. Meanwhile, Sampson's staying also boosts the quality of basketball in the state. Chris Beard is in the Final Four with Tech. A&M just added a world-class coach in Buzz Williams. Baylor is a perennial tournament team. Jamie Dixon had TCU competitive but appears to be leaving for UCLA. Even with that, the state of Texas now boosts three high-profile coaches and the future looks bright.

Especially for Sampson and UH.

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