The Houston Cougars’ All-American PG Marcus Sasser suffered a groin injury in the AAC semifinal against Cincinnati last week. Per Jon Rothstein, Sasser is a game-time decision in Houston.
Kelvin Sampson told reporters that Marcus Sasser (groin) will be a game-time decision for Thursday's NCAA Tournament game against Northern Kentucky. Averages 17.1 PPG and 3.2 APG.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 15, 2023
Who Steps Up?
Averaging 17.1 points per game, Sasser is the Cougar’s leading scorer. If he misses time, Jamal Shead will assume a more active role. Shead, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, has deferred to Sasser offensively this season. Shead attacks downhill to create opportunities for teammates, and he runs an elite pick-and-roll with forwards Jarace Walker and Jwan Roberts.
Guards Tramon Mark, Emanuel Sharp, and Terrance Arceneaux will attempt to assume more scoring responsibility elsewhere. Mark scored 10 points, while Arceneaux scored 9 in the AAC championship loss against Memphis. Because of Sasser’s immense scoring ability, Houston will need one additional perimeter scorer besides Shead should Sasser miss time.
Luckily for Houston, they received a one-seed for their impressive season. However, the Cougars will see Northern Kentucky in their first-round matchup. Northern Kentucky won the Horizon League conference tournament. They have a dynamic guard in Marques Warrick, but they struggle to defend the three-point line as a team. Even without Sasser, Houston should handle Northern Kentucky with relative ease. Houston is currently an 18.5-point favorite, according to BetOnline.
Houston will face a more difficult challenge in their second game if Sasser is unavailable. Houston takes on the winner of Iowa and Auburn, the 8-9 matchup. However, it is promising that Sasser is not yet out. Houston can make a second weekend without him, which could provide more than enough time to get their star back.
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