BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — For major-seeded Houston, any hope of winning a national title may possibly come down to Marcus Sasser’s sore groin.

No worries, Sasser stated Friday.

He will certainly play in the Cougars’ subsequent NCAA Tournament game.

“This is no longer a game-time selection,” Sasser stated, sitting in his locker at Legacy Arena, the very same spot exactly where the outlook looked a great deal bleaker much less than 24 hours earlier. “I really feel terrific. I really feel fantastic. I really feel typical.”

The All-American guard bounced back from a difficult win more than No. 16 Northern Kentucky in the March Madness opener, casting significant doubt more than his status heading into Saturday’s second-round game against Auburn.

In particular when Sasser later stated the discomfort felt “about a seven out of ten.”

But his groin felt improved ahead of he went to bed. When he woke up, he seemed completely fine.

Sasser now wonders if he was a tiny also cautious for the reason that he did not want to danger a much more significant challenge.

“When I initial woke up, I was walking about and I did not really feel any discomfort,” he stated. “I was like, ‘Sure I am going.'”

But Sasser admitted that the higher stakes in the game ought to have influenced his selection. He in all probability would have deemed sitting out, just to be on the protected side, if this was a meaningless contest in December.

Groin injuries can be notoriously difficult when attempting to identify if an athlete has totally recovered, prompting coaches to spend specific consideration to the danger of re-injury.

“This is a win or go property game,” Sasser stated. “I am going to go out there and do my ideal.” You seriously never know when your final game is. Plus, it really is my final year of college, so I certainly want to go out with a bang.”

Coach Kelvin Sampson expressed no regrets about beginning Sasser 5 days immediately after injuring his groin at the American Athletic Conference Tournament, saying he left the selection up to the coaching employees and his star.

“This is not the initial injury I’ve dealt with,” Sampson stated. “I am dealing with his injury like I’ve dealt with just about every injury of any kid we’ve had in 34 years. It is up to him and the coach. I never make any choices. They say, ‘Why did you play him?’ I am not. I play him if he’s healthier, if the coach thinks he can, and the kid thinks he can. I trust Marcus.”

Sasser did not sound as hopeful immediately after playing much less than 14 minutes against Northern Kentucky. He scored 5 points — effectively beneath his group-major typical of 17.1 — and did not return immediately after halftime.

He stated the discomfort returned to his groin when he went up for a jumper, the final of just 3 shots he attempted that evening.

Sampson stated it will be up to Sasser to identify how numerous minutes he plays against Auburn.

“He’s our ideal player, I know that,” Sampson stated. “But I never treat him any differently than I treat anybody else if they are hurt.” ′

Point guard Jamal Sheed stated he has no doubt that Sasser will be prepared to play against Auburn.

“I was quite confident that he would play.” It is win or go property now, and he’s a difficult guy,” stated Shead, whose knee was bothering him. “If this was our final game collectively and he did not play, it would haunt him a tiny bit.”

Sampson acknowledged the Cougars are a various group when they never have Sasser major the way in the backfield.

That was evident in the way Houston handled Northern Kentucky, which entered as an 18 1/two-point underdog but was tied with the Cougars 5 minutes into the second half.

Houston (32-three) ultimately held on for a 63-52 win, but it hardly looked like a group that could make a deep run in the tournament without the need of Sasser.

“The group we had on the floor is not the group we’ve played the (most) occasions this year,” Sampson stated. “Everybody sort of alterations and you have to transform roles, all that stuff.

Sasser was injured final Saturday in the AAC semifinal win more than Cincinnati. He did not play in the conference championship game the subsequent day, just watched the Cougars get upset by Memphis.

Sasser got the subsequent two days off and just did a light exercise the day ahead of the NCAA opener. Shortly ahead of tipoff against Northern Kentucky, he was announced as the starter.

In retrospect, it seemed like the incorrect move.

But Sasser felt it was critical to get back on the field as quickly as achievable, “just to get that feeling of the game once more.”

“I felt like it was a optimistic and a adverse,” he stated. “I was back on the court, moving once more, moving at complete speed, and it sort of gave me self-assurance for tomorrow’s game.”


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