HOUSTON -- Eighteen regular-season home games against some of the nation's premier teams highlight the University of Houston Men's Basketball program's 2015-16 schedule, Head Coach Kelvin Sampson announced Tuesday afternoon.
The slate features 11 20-game winners and 13 postseason teams from a year ago, including NCAA Tournament squads LSU, Wyoming, Cincinnati and SMU. Murray State leads the way with 29 victories from 2014-15 with SMU (27), Temple (26), North Carolina Central (25) and Wyoming (25) as members of the 25-win club.
The Cougars face American Athletic Conference rivals Cincinnati, SMU, Temple, Tulsa, UCF, UConn and USF in home-and-away contests during the 2015-16 season. Houston plays host to Memphis on Feb. 10 inside Hofheinz Pavilion in the only meeting against the Tigers and hits the road to face East Carolina in Greenville, N.C., on Jan. 30 in the only meeting.
Once again, all 18 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion will be shown live to national audiences. The schedule includes eight games on ESPN3, four on CBS Sports Network and three each on ESPNU and ESPNews.
Altogether, 27 regular-season games will be shown on television. This marks the third straight season in which at least 25 Houston Men's Basketball games will be seen on television.
Season-ticket deposits for the 2015-16 University of Houston Men's Basketball season are now being taken, and fans are encouraged to place their deposits soon.
Reserved 1 season tickets will soon be available for $250 per seat for all 18 regular-season home games, while Reserved 2 season tickets will sell for $150 per seat. As an added benefit this season, fans who purchase Reserved 1 Men's Basketball season tickets will receive the same number of Houston Women's Basketball season tickets FREE.
For the first time in 2015-16, fans also can purchase $99 Anytime season tickets. With Anytime season tickets, With Anytime season tickets, fans will receive one ticket for each of the 18 regular-season home games.
From there, fans can use their Anytime season tickets any way they like. They can use one ticket for each home game or take 17 friends to one home game or any combination in between.
As always, current University of Houston students are admitted free with valid IDs to Houston Men's Basketball games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans can view a Hofheinz Pavilion map with season-ticket pricing by clicking here.
Houston fans can connect with Fan Experience Headquarters by phone or text, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 713-462-6647 and can purchase tickets online 24/7 at UHCougars.com/tickets.
Any deposit amount paid will be credited toward season-ticket costs once they go on sale. New season-ticket members who make a deposit will be contacted by a Houston Athletics Ticket Sales staff member to choose their seats.
Fans should also stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Men's Basketball social media sites for the latest information about ticket sales.
Thirteen of the Cougars' non-conference opponents competed in the postseason at the end of the 2014-15 season. SMU, Cincinnati, LSU and Wyoming advanced to the NCAA Tournament, while Murray State, Rhode Island, North Carolina Central, Tulsa, UConn and Temple competed in the NIT.
ULM advanced to the College Basketball Invitational Finals before falling in three games with both Eastern Illinois and Grand Canyon playing in the College Basketball Invitational.
Eleven teams on the schedule won 20+ games in 2014-15 with Murray State's 29 victories and 16 Ohio Valley Conference victories leading the way. The Cougars opened the Sampson Era a year ago with a 77-74 win on the road, giving the Racers one of only six losses during the season.
Defending American Athletic Conference champion SMU led the league rivals with 27 wins with Temple close behind with 26 victories. North Carolina Central also posted a perfect 16-0 record in Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference play on the way to 24 wins, while Wyoming posted a 25-10 mark. ULM (24), Cincinnati (23), Tulsa (23), Rhode Island (23), LSU (22) and UConn rounded out the 20-game winners on the Cougars' schedule.
The Cougars released their non-conference schedule earlier this summer. Houston opens the season on Nov. 13 when it meets Montana Tech in its lone exhibition game inside Hofheinz Pavilion. That game will have special significance for Sampson, who started his head coaching career at Montana Tech in 1981 and has the court in the Orediggers' home arena named in his honor.
Houston begins the 2015-16 regular season against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 18 and continues their homestand inside Hofheinz Pavilion with games against Florida A&M (Nov. 21), ULM (Nov. 28), University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (formerly Texas-Pan American) (Nov. 30) and defending Ohio Valley Conference regular-season champion Murray State (Dec. 2).
After their lone non-conference road game at Rhode Island on Dec. 8, the Cougars meet Southeastern Conference foe LSU on Dec. 13 inside Hofheinz Pavilion. From there, the team opens play in the Global Basketball Classic First and Second Rounds against Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference regular-season champion North Carolina Central (Dec. 16) and against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 19).
Houston returns to Las Vegas for the second straight season, competing in the Global Basketball Classic Third and Championship Rounds inside Cox Pavilion. The Cougars meet Grand Canyon on Dec. 21 before squaring off against the winner/loser of the Marshall/Wyoming game on Dec. 22.
The Cougars close out their non-conference schedule when they play host to Nicholls State on Dec. 28 inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
The Cougars return six lettermen and four starters from last year's team, which recorded 13 wins and knocked off defending national champion UConn inside Hofheinz Pavilion for the second consecutive year.
Battling injuries throughout the season, the Cougars enjoyed a late-season surge, winning four of their final five games, including the lone upset in the American Athletic Conference Championship First Round in Hartford, Conn.
Senior guard LeRon Barnes, the Cougars' lone 3-year letterwinner, returns after ranking among The American's top-10 leaders in both offensive and defensive rebounding, while senior forward Devonta Pollard enters the 2015-16 campaign as the Cougars' top returning scorer with 11.4 points per game.
Junior forward Danrad Knowles ranked third on the team in both scoring and rebounding, and senior guard L.J Rose looks for his third 100+ assist season while wearing the Scarlet and White.
Houston also welcomes the return of junior guard Ronnie Johnson and junior forward Bertrand Nkali to competition. Both players practiced with the Cougars but sat out the 2014-15 season after Johnson transferred from Purdue and Nkali missed the year with an injury.
The Cougars will be boosted by the addition of six newcomers to the team, including freshman guard Galen Robinson (Westbury Christian/Houston); sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr. (Howard JC/Forest City, N.C.); junior guard Damyean Dotson (Oregon/Houston); junior forward Xavier Dupree (Paris JC/Houston) and junior center Kyle Meyer (Eastern Florida State College/Atlanta).
Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.