Phi Slama Jama Part 2? Houston Back on Top

Most people start to think about making college basketball picks when the calendar flips to February and March, but there is no use in waiting. College basketball always presents a great betting opportunity, and the action to begin the 2022-23 season has been tremendous. 

This is also a sport that continues to be hard to predict, and that trend has continued into this season. Some of the top teams in the preseason poll have already suffered several defeats, which has changed which sections are at the top of the votes. 

Heading into December, the Houston Cougars are the number-one team in the country. Based on the results from a season ago, this isn’t a significant surprise as Houston marched to the Final Four. 

Houston is not a “blue blood” program; they went decades without getting to this spot. The last time Houston was on top of the AP poll was after the 1982-83 season when Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon were starting for the school. 


That 1982-83 team was nicknamed “Phi Slama Jama.” They were a heavy favorite in winning the college basketball championship that season. Of course, that season ended with NC State pulling off a massive upset in the title game. 

Head coach Kelvin Sampson has turned the Houston program into a powerhouse in college basketball, and it’s not the first school where he has done this. Sampson also had plenty of success at Oklahoma and Indiana, but he has never coached a team ranked number 1 in the country. 

Houston is one of the betting favorites to win the National Championship this season, but holding on to the top spot in the ranking won’t be easy. Plenty of extensive programs are behind them, and all of them are waiting for the Cougars to make a mistake. 

The top 10 are Loaded.

North Carolina was the top team in the preseason poll, and it held onto that top spot through November. However, the Tar Heels suffered back-to-back losses, dropping them to number 18 in the final November survey. 

North Carolina might be out of the Top 10, but there are still plenty of talented teams in the Top 10, including a ton of blue-blood programs. Here is a look at the rest of the teams in the Top 10:

  • 2. Texas Longhorns
  • 3. Virginia Cavaliers
  • 4. Arizona Wildcats
  • 5. Purdue Boilermakers
  • 6. Baylor Bears
  • 7. Creighton Bluejays
  • 8. UConn Huskies
  • 9. Kansas Jayhawks
  • 10. Indiana Hoosiers

This is a who’s who of college basketball programs, but a few special teams are missing. Kentucky, Duke, UCLA, Gonzaga, and Michigan State were all expected to be near the top of every poll this season, but they have not been as sharp in the early part. 

No Real Surprises

The rest of the AP Top 25 looks as it should heading into the second month of the regular season. Some surprise teams from smaller conferences usually appear, but that isn’t the case yet. 

The Big Ten Conference looks to be the strongest in the country yet again, as six of the 14 teams showed up in the AP Poll at the end of November. In the preseason, voters picked Indiana to win the conference title, but they will have much competition this season. 

The biggest surprise is where Duke and North Carolina are in the latest poll, as both teams have had a rough start to the season. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels remain in the Top 25 but are in danger of suffering another loss and falling out completely. 

College basketball will only be more enjoyable to watch as the weeks pass and conference games begin. It’s also never too early to look at bracketology and try to determine what teams have an NCAA Tournament resume.