AAC Basketball: Can the Houston Cougars Win the Conference Title?

By Daniel Karpuc
TaShawn Thomas
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As the Houston Cougars sit comfortably at 5-0, a question needs to be posed: are they good enough to win the American Athletic Conference?

Most would dismiss this question as a mere overreaction to a hot start, but hold on a second. The Cougars have almost everything that an elite team needs: a talented point guard, an impressive wing player and a force down low in the paint.

L.J. Rose, who transferred from Baylor following last season, has been solid at the helm of the Cougars offensive attack, averaging 12.2 points and 5.6 assists per contest. Hitting 90.5 percent of his free throws, Rose has also connected with 54.5 percent of his shots from the field to go with 54.5 percent from 3-point range. In other words, he chooses his shots very wisely.

Danuel House is leading the Cougars in scoring, netting 17.8 points per game to go with 6.2 rebounds. He has already taken 24 3-pointers, making nine of his attempts. Confidence is certainly not an issue for him.

Rose and House make up a huge part of this Houston squad, but the leader and potential AAC Player of the Year candidate is big man TaShawn Thomas. So far this season, Thomas has put up averages of 16.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per contest.

Going back to the original question of whether or not this team can win the ACC, I’d say right now that I haven’t seen enough of a body of work. Before conference play starts, they will be tested against Stanford, either Pittsburgh or Texas Tech and Texas A&M, beginning with the matchup against Stanford today at 7:30 p.m. ET.

If they are able to enter conference play undefeated or with one loss, I will be willing to say that they have a small shot of winning the conference headed by the likes of Louisville, Connecticut and Memphis.

Dan Karpuc is an AAC basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @dan_karpuc, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. 

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