Houston Cougars' second run at No. 1 lasts just 2 weeks after 1-point loss against Temple Owls

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Tuesday, January 24, 2023
UH Cougars fall to No. 3 after dropping heartbreaker vs. Temple
The Houston Cougars drop out of the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 again this season after a heartbreaking defeat against the Temple Owls.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There was hope that having some World Series champs inside Fertitta Center on Sunday would mean a surefire Houston Cougars win. After all, the No. 1 team in the country rode a nine-game win streak, including the first five to open conference play.

What wound up happening in front of Astros manager Dusty Baker and closer Ryan Pressly was what head coach Kelvin Sampson called a "bad day" for the Coogs program.

A part-thrilling, part-heartbreaking last-second sequence ended up going in favor of UH's opponent, the Temple Owls, and thanks to that, the Coogs spent Monday taking a fall down the Associated Press Top 25.

The fall wasn't too dramatic. Houston returned to No. 3, which is a position they got familiar with after losing its first game of the season against Alabama.

In a twist, 'Bama is ranked No. 2 in the Week 12 rankings. Purdue, last week's No. 3 team, leap-frogged the Coogs and Crimson Tide to be called the top team in the nation once again.

SEE MORE: No. 1 Houston Cougars suffer first loss of season in rematch with No. 8 Alabama

This stint at the top spot lasted just two weeks.

Houston (18-2) was also ranked No. 3 in the Coaches' Poll.

Consolation prizes

Falling out of No. 1 but remaining in the top four should keep the Coogs in position for a coveted top seed during March Madness.

Two sources back that up.

UH maintains the top ranking on the Men's College Basketball Power Index, which also still gives the Coogs the best chance to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at 31.2%.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi and his Bracketology feature, which is updated almost every day until Selection Sunday, has Houston as the No. 1 seed in the West Region.

In addition, UH forward Jarace Walker was named the American Athletic Conference's Freshman of the Week after grabbing 12 rebounds in Houston's losing effort.

The Cougars head out on the road Wednesday at Central Florida before hosting Cincinnati on Saturday.