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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Houston gets back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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