In one of the biggest upsets of the college basketball season, Temple stunned No. 1 Houston on Sunday for its first win over a No. 1-ranked team in 23 years with a 56-55 shocker inside the Fertitta Center. The Owls, who were 19.5-point underdogs coming into the game, took the lead with 7:46 left in the second half and never trailed thereafter as they ended the Cougars' nine-game winning streak in impressive fashion.
Houston's loss marked the second time this season it has lost at home -- both of which came while it was ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll. The first loss came on Dec. 10 when then-No. 8-ranked Alabama marched into the Fertitta Center and won 71-65. It's just the third loss at home in conference play for Houston in the last six seasons under coach Kelvin Sampson.
Houston has played with fire at various points in league play when heavily favored, like in close-shave wins over UCF and South Florida. On Sunday, though, Houston couldn't dig its way out of a hole after going 1-of-7 shooting from 3 in the second half and 8-of-23 shooting from the floor.
According to CBS Sports Bracketology expert Jerry Palm, Houston has lost its place as a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, dropping down to a No. 2 slot. Arizona, meanwhile, will move up to No. 1 seed status after its big conference win over UCLA on Saturday.
- Houston finally gets burned
In close tilts vs. South Florida and UCF, Houston managed to escape with wins but flirted perilously close to disaster. Against Temple, it fooled around but could not figure it out late, this time paying the price courtesy of a cold shooting streak late that prevented it from coming back in a major stumble as 19.5-point favorites, making it the biggest upset over an AP No. 1 team since Stephen F. Austin beat No. 1 Duke as a 27.5-point underdog in 2019, per ESPN Stats and Information. Houston had a really good look at the final buzzer to win it but ultimately couldn't convert.
January 22, 2023
2. Winning at the line
Houston shot it better than Temple from both the field and from the 3-point line while taking 11 more shots from the field in typical Houston fashion. But the difference Sunday came at the line. Temple attempted 22 free throws and converted 20 of them for easy buckets. Houston, meanwhile, attempted 21 free throws and made only 11 of those attempts.
3. No. 1 no more
After another loss as the No. 1 team in the country, Houston is likely to again see a dip in the latest polls when they refresh Monday. It would end the team's run of two weeks atop the poll after an equally short stint of two weeks earlier in the season. Big picture, it creates havoc in the American as Temple inches to within a game of the Cougars -- and the return matchup is set for two weeks from now on the Owls' home court.