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'Roll Tide!' | UH Head Coach Kelvin Sampson calls on Alabama fans to cheer on the Coogs against Auburn

“If I was coaching the Houston Cougars, I would do everything I could to bring up to Alabama's fans," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said.
Credit: AP
Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson listens to his guard Terrance Arceneaux (23) as Houston plays East Carolina during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. Houston won 60-46. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — “Roll Tide!”

That’s the joke Houston coach Kelvin Sampson made on Friday after hearing about some advice from Auburn coach Bruce Pearl ahead of the Cougars' match-up with the Tigers in Birmingham on the same night Alabama faces Maryland.

“If I was coaching the Houston Cougars, I would do everything I could to bring up to Alabama's fans just how much they're supposed to hate Auburn, right?” said Pearl. “You know, talk about anything you can possibly talk about. Talk about the Iron Bowl. Talk about Cam Newton and Cam beating them in Tuscaloosa. Talk about Charles Barkley. Talk about anything you can talk about just to right that Alabama fan base up to root against Auburn.”

Sampson’s Cougars are dealing with injuries to both Marcus Sasser (groin) and Jamal Shead (knee). Each of the two guards said Friday they’ll play Saturday night. Sasser sat out the second half of Houston’s First Round win with Northern Kentucky.

Sampson said he’s done talking about the disadvantage of playing in Birmingham, so close to the Auburn campus. 

“I'm done talking about whether it's fair or not fair,” he said. “That's neither here nor there for me anymore. It's not for me to say anyway. It's not Auburn's fault. They didn't ask to be seeded here.”

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