Houston Baptist University (Private - Baptist) Mascot: Houston Baptist University (Private - Baptist) Mascot:

Game Day Preview: Houston Baptist Huskies


Houston Baptist University (Private – Baptist)
Mascot: Huskies
Location: Houston, TX
Enrollment: 2,200

2010-2011 Record: 5-24 (3-11 in the Great West Conference)
RPI: 345
Coach: Ron Cottrell (20th year)

First Thoughts: What is up with so many universities using the mascot of “Huskies”? Washington, Connecticut, Northern Illinois, and Northeastern have all been using this mascot for generations. But, Houston Baptist was only founded in 1960, long after all of these other universities had this mascot. Yet, they chose to copy it rather than come up with either something unique (Ministers?) or something generic (Wildcats and Cougars, I am looking at you guys!). Well, at least they are not the Aggies (that is one of the dumbest names for a mascot in sports). Anyways….

Best win 2010/11: 70-68 Middle Tennessee State (RPI 179)
Worst loss 2010/11: 91-82 Chicago State (RPI 344)
note: they also lost to DII Alaska-Anchorage (Go Seawolves!)
Last Game:

Average Scoring: 69.0 ppg (161st)
Average for Opponents: 68.5 ppg

Synopsis: I don’t know if Romar knows the coach of Houston Baptist personally and scheduled this game as a favor or if he just wants one 40-point blowout to get some extended minutes for Brendan Sherrer, but this is not the kind of game Washington usually schedules in the non-conference season. Houston Baptist only rejoined Division I basketball in 2009 (at the same time Seattle U did). Like Seattle U, they played Division I up until the 1980’s (and had 3 NCAA tournament appearances), but then dropped down to NAIA. Their coach Ron Cottrell has been with the program for 20 years and is guiding their return to the big time.

But, while this may be a quaint story, this is an RPI killer of a game. Scheduling Rule #1 for a BCS-conference team with NCAA tournament hopes, never schedule a team with an RPI in the 300 range. Houston Baptist had an SOS of 341 last year and an RPI almost at the very bottom in all of college basketball.

For what it is worth, Houston Baptist was led by 6’6″ guard Andrew Gonzales who scored 22.9 ppg. Kid could shoot and was at almost 40% from 3-point range. The bad news is that Gonzales has now graduated. So, who will pick up the slack? Well, it won’t be their second leading scorer Michael Moss who scored 10.0 ppg, because he graduated too! So, maybe it’ll be senior-to-be forward Terry Bembry who scored 8.9 ppg and led the team with 6.7 rbs per game.

Junior guard Miles Dixon is also someone who will be counted on to really pick up the slack. He averaged 30+ minutes and 12 ppg in his first five games before being injured and missing the remainder of the season. Cottrell is also very excited about two Detroit area freshman he has recruited, 5’8″ point guard Marcel Smith and 6’7″ power forward Urbane Bingham, both of which he expects to log major minutes this year. Houston Baptist still has three scholarships left to give, since they graduated 6 seniors last year. One other spot will go to a transfer from Cleveland State who will have to sit out this year.

My analysis: Ron Cottrell believes he is creating the kind of balance in all positions he needs to build this program up to a respectable mid-major. Perhaps that is so. But, from what I can tell, there is no reason to think that will be the case this year. His team is going to be very young with only one senior and lots of freshmen and sophomores. It looks like Houston Baptist will still probably end up with a >300 SOS and a >300 RPI at the end of the season. So, it really doesn’t matter if UW wins by 10 or 50, this game is going to hurt UW’s RPI. It probably won’t be something that causes a major drop in seeding come tournament time, but it could cost one-seed I’d guess. I guess you can get away with one of these types of games during the season. Just don’t make it a habit.

My Prediction: UW 108 Houston Baptist 57