Houston NCAA Tournament

The top-seeded Houston Cougars took on 16-seed Northern Kentucky in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. They were able to get the win, but that is far from the biggest takeaway from the game.

It was a far closer game than most anticipated. Houston went into halftime with just a three-point lead. While the Cougars were able to pull away from their overmatched opponent and win the game, they received some horrible news regarding star player Marcus Sasser.

Sasser entered the tournament with a lingering groin injury suffered in the AAC Conference Championship loss to Memphis. This put a huge question mark around a Houston, an issue so strong that many thought could prevent this team from making a deep run this year.

The senior guard said before the game that he “should be 100%” for Thursday’s game. He gave it a go, but he was clearly not himself and suffered a huge setback.

Sasser scored five points and recorded two rebounds in the first half. However, his lingering injury flare-up forced him to miss the second half of the game.

Despite the win, many around the college basketball world are extremely concerned that Sasser’s injury will lead to an earlier-than-expected exit in the NCAA Tournament.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, that is not the only injury that they will be dealing with in their Round of 32 matchup against Auburn. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson detailed after the game that Junior guard Jamal Shead is also dealing with a knee injury.

This could all spell complete disaster for Houston. What is even worse is that they will essentially be playing a road game against Auburn, with their matchup taking place in Birmingham, Alabama.

[Pat Forde on Twitter, Myron Metcalf on Twitter]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.