HOUSTON — Here’s what you need to know about the Cougars' first trip to the Final Four since the early 80s Phi Slama Jama teams.
It will be a Texas showdown Saturday when the No.2 seed University of Houston Cougars play the No. 1 seed Baylor Bears in the Final Four.
It’s the first time two Texas teams will tangle in the Final Four.
Baylor ended the regular season ranked No. 3 with a 22-2 record while the Coogs were No. 6 after finishing 24-3.
When: Coogs and Bears tip-off Saturday at 4:14 p.m followed by the Gonzaga Bulldogs and UCLA Bruins; CBS Final Four coverage begins at 1 p.m.
Watch: You can see the game only on KHOU11
Where: They’re playing at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis
Championship: The winner faces either undefeated Gonzaga or UCLA in the championship game; tipoff at 8:20 p.m. on KHOU11/CBS Monday.
Father vs. son: Cougars assistant Alvin Brooks II will be on one side of the court while his son, Bears assistant Alvin Brooks III, is on the other.
Coog connection: UH alum and former KHOU sportscaster Jim Nantz will call the games. Nantz was a student at UH during the Phi Slama Jama era.
Baylor and Gonzaga were the two best teams for the early part of the season until a COVID outbreak benched the Bears for more than three weeks, according to CBS Sports. They were a little rusty when they returned to the court but appear to be back in top form.
Ironically, the teams were supposed to face off in December but Gonzaga had to cancel a couple of hours before tipoff because of COVID.
Baylor is favored to win against UH, and many believe they’re the only team that could pull off an upset against the Zags.
But don’t count out the Coogs who have won 11 straight.
UH fans believe it’s their year to go back to the championship game.
The loudest cheers may come from Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale who bet $1 million that the Coogs will win it all.
Mack is also treating more than 100 students and fans to a trip to the Final Four, including airfare, hotel and game tickets.
It’s the Cougars' first trip to the Final Four since the Phi Slama Jama teams coached by Guy Lewis.
The fast-paced slam-dunkers made it to the championship games in ’83 and ’84 but lost both times.
The 1983 loss to North Carolina State is still considered one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history.
The Coogs lost again in 1984 to the Georgetown Hoyas.
After that, Olajuwon declared for the NBA draft, bringing the Phi Slama Jama era to an end. Olajuwon was the first overall pick by the Houston Rockets.
Baylor back story
The Final Four drought for the Baylor Bears dates all the way back to 1950 when they lost the championship game to the Bradley Braves.
They also played for the championship in 1948 but the Kentucky Wildcats beat them. The team wasn’t invited back to the Big Dance until 1988.
Baylor’s basketball program has endured tragedy through the years.
In 1927, the team was on a bus headed to UT when they were hit by a train. Ten Baylor players and students were killed. The Immortal Ten are honored with a candlelight ceremony each year during Homecoming.
Tragedy struck again in 2003 when team member Patrick Dennehy was murdered by former teammate Carlton Dotson. Dotson was sentenced to 35 years in prison but he’s up for parole this year. The murder led to a scandal that ended with the team on probation and forced head coach Dave Bliss to resign.