Breaking down the strength of Houston and Arkansas’ programs

Let’s get this out of the way first: as far as similarities between Houston and Arkansas go, the majority of the programs’ fans care most about one thing these days – the possibility that either elite college football team could make a BCS bowl in the immediate future.

But those following the programs’ basketball teams so far this early season will find plenty of other similarities – young, athletic, guard-oriented teams intent on running the other side off the court. And, as I dove into the programs’ histories for a Sync magazine piece previewing Friday’s UA-Houston basketball game, I was somewhat surprised by the number of parallels between the Hogs and Cougars. The teams shared 16 years battling each other in the old Southwest Conference, and much more …

National Championships

UA: 1 (1994)

Houston: 0

Final Four Appearances

UA: 6 (1941, 1945, 1978, 1990, 1994, 1995)

Houston: 5 (1967, 1868, 1982, 1983, 1984)

*Houston started its athletic programs in 1946.

NCAA Tournament appearances

UA: 29

Houston: 19 [one (2010) since 1992]

Consensus or First Team All-American Selections since 1946

UA: 8 [Martin Terry (1973), Sidney Moncrief (1978, 1979), Ron Brewer (1978), Todd Day (1991, 1992), Corliss Williamson (1994, 1995)]

Houston: 6 [Elvin Hayes (1966, 1967, 1968), Otis Birdsong (1977), Clyde Drexler (1983), Hakeem Olajuwon (1984)]

First or Second Round NBA Draft Picks

UA: 16

Houston: 18

Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers

UA: 0

Houston: 3 (Olajuwon, Hayes, Drexler)

*Arkansas’ Sidney Moncrief is a possible future inductee, as is Joe Johnson with a couple more All-Star level seasons.

* Houston, along with North Carolina and LSU, are the only three programs to have three players  voted to the NBA’s Top 50 Players of All Time List in 1996.

All numbers taken from media guides

Nowadays, Arkansas plays in a superior conference with superior facilities. Still, Houston’s glorious 1960s-1980s’ run still allows it to be considered one of the nation’s top programs in terms of prestige. Bleacher Report ranked the Cougars as the 22nd best program of all-time, while pegging Arkansas at No. 17.

But, as Top 25 rankings go, this season’s is the one mattering most to the coaches of these two undefeated teams. Whichever side wins tonight gets a head start in cracking it early on.

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