UH and Kentucky clash with Elite Eight on the line

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KTRK) -- It's hard to ignore the constant success of the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball program.

University of Houston is facing a team in the Sweet Sixteen that has missed the NCAA tournament just once since 1992. Kentucky also hasn't missed March since head coach John Calipari arrived in Lexington in 2009.

In contrast, UH is entering territory that it hasn't charted since 1984, when Clyde Drexler and the formerly named Akeem Olajuwon made the tourney final.

That's also not to mention the revolving door of talent that has come out of the UK program.


But Houston welcomes the challenge because the reward is far too big not to achieve.

UH may have an upper hand entering Friday's game. Kentucky's leading scorer P.J. Washington is questionable to play. He was sidelined during the first two games of the tourney with a foot sprain. The Wildcats will likely lose his nearly 15 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.

In addition, Houston has held both of its tournament opponents under 60 points, winning against Georgia State and Ohio State by 29 and 15 points, respectively. The Cougars ranked seventh in the country in defense.

With that glowing resume, were the Wildcats aware of their opponent?

Kentucky's starting guard Ashton Hagans didn't even know who he would be guarding.

"I don't know who that is," Hagans said of UH's No. 5, Corey Davis Jr., who just happens to lead the team in scoring. "I mean, I heard they have some very good guards. I don't know which one is which."

Davis only averages 17.1 points a game and had 21 vs. Ohio State.

Despite the lack of name recognition from the other side, Houston will obviously come in with something to prove. The Cougars will be the flag-bearer for mid-majors outside of No. 1 Gonzaga. They will also want to prove their deep run isn't a fluke.

UH is the winner of six of the last seven games on its slate, and the program is 3-1 against opponents ranked in the Top 25.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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