Coogs to Face Maryland in NCAA Tournament

Fresh off a thrilling run to the Conference USA Tournament championship, the University of Houston men's basketball team begins play at the NCAA Tournament when it meets No.4 seed and 19th-ranked Maryland on Friday at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, Wash.

The Cougars will compete as the No. 13 seed in the Midwest Region First Round. Michigan State faces New Mexico State at 6:20 p.m. (CDT), Friday. The Cougars meet Maryland 30 minutes following the MSU-NMSU game.

Houston (19-15) recently earned the program's 19th NCAA Tournament appearance by winning four games in four days at the C-USA Championship in Tulsa, Okla. The Cougars capped their stay with a come-from-behind 81-73 win against No. 1 seed and 21st-ranked UTEP in the title game Saturday.

Senior guard Aubrey Coleman leads the Cougars, Conference USA and the nation with 25.6 points per game. The Houston native earned All-Conference USA First-Team honors for the second straight season and was named to the GMC Sierra C-USA Championship All-Tournament Team.

Senior guard Kelvin Lewis ranks second on the team with 15.3 points per game but was honored as the GMC Sierra C-USA Championship Most Valuable Player after scoring a season-high 28 points, including a championship game record six 3-pointers.

Junior forward Maurice McNeil leads the Cougars and ranks eighth in the league with 7.4 rebounds per game, while sophomore point guard Desmond Wade stands third in C-USA with 4.9 assists per contest.

Houston was one of two Conference USA teams to make the NCAA Tournament, joining UTEP, which faces No. 5 seed Butler in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday.

Ticket sales begin at 8 a.m., Monday. First- and second-round locations guarantee only 350 tickets per team. Detailed information about who may order tickets at a specific time is available by visiting the Tournament Central page at and clicking the Tickets link in the upper right corner.

Tickets will be available for the first-round game only. If the Cougars advance to the second round, all accounts with first-round tickets will automatically be charged for second-round tickets, and those tickets can be picked up during published will call hours.

Tickets can be purchased at the Houston Athletics Ticket Office in person or by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647). There will be no online ticket sales for this event.

Physical tickets and seat locations will not be available at the time of purchase. Tickets will be allocated and distributed in Spokane. Fans who place an order will be contacted with Will Call times at the arena and at the team hotel if available. Tickets must be picked up by the ticket purchaser of record during the published will call locations/time at the game site.

Student tickets will go on sale at 8 a.m., Tuesday. Coog Crew members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets exclusively from 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, at the Houston Athletics Ticket Office in the Athletics/Alumni Center.

If student tickets remain at noon, any currently enrolled main-campus student will be able to purchase tickets in person at the same location. Students will be limited to one ticket per person and must have their Cougar Card ID with them to purchase.

The student who purchased the ticket must have their Cougar Card ID with them and must be present to claim their ticket during the published will call locations/times at the game site.

Fans can listen to the game live on SportsTalk 790 AM with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin 15 minutes before tip-off.

Fans also can watch the NCAA Tournament live on CBS.