TIME TO RELOAD

Despite Final Four loss to Baylor, the future remains bright for Coogs

Houston was no match for Baylor. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Amid the scoring droughts, overall lack of firepower, and stupid jokes on the set by Charles Barkley, the Cougars were simply outmatched. However, Cougars Nation can hold their heads high. Ignore the scoreboard and the end result of 78-59, the Houston Cougars identity is firmly intact, and they are well positioned for the future. In many ways, the Cougars had already "won" before stepping onto the court Saturday Night at Lucas Oil.

The scoreboard sometimes doesn't matter in the overall picture. The "bigger" storyline is that U of H basketball is "back" at an elite level, generating far more interest in town than even the pro team that takes up residency at Toyota Center. Kelvin Sampson's program will remain in title contention for years to come. They will remain elite, because Sampson doesn't have "quit" in his DNA. During Saturday's blowout loss to Baylor, I thought of Gloria Clemente's character from the movie White Men Can't Jump, played by actress Rosie Perez. Her quote of "sometimes when you lose, you really win." Houston's recent achievements are vast and well documented. (Anyone that can survive three weeks cooped up in hotel rooms in Indianapolis, are stronger than most.)

Give credit to Baylor, especially the depth on their bench. More than anything, the 17-0 point differential in the first half paved the way for the Bears' first half dominance. Aside from Marcus Sasser, the offense really never got on track. Certain stretches reminded me of a decade ago, as I witnessed the offensive futility of a national title game at Reliant. On that particular night, the Butler Bulldogs struggled in putting a meager 41 points on the scoreboard in a loss to U-Conn.

Expect the Cougars to reload. Expect future runs to the Final Four, and if the stars align, they might even cut down the nets in two years at NRG Stadium. The future is bright!

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