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Former Montana Tech coach Kelvin Sampson, Houston advance to Elite 8

NCAA Syracuse Houston Basketball
Posted at 11:08 PM, Mar 27, 2021

It will be an all-Montana connection in this year's Elite 8 with a shot at the Final 4 on the line.

No. 2 Houston, led by former Montana Tech men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, defeated No. 11 Syracuse 62-46 on Saturday evening in the Sweet 16 at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The win sets up Sampson and the Cougars for a showdown with former Griz men's basketball coach and player Wayne Tinkle and the No. 12 Oregon State Beavers on Monday evening in the Midwest Region final. The Beavers topped No. 8 Loyola-Chicago 65-58 earlier on Saturday in the Sweet 16.

For Sampson, who is in his seventh season coaching Houston, it's his first trip to the Elite 8 with the Cougars but third overall as a head coach. Sampson took Oklahoma to the Final 4 in 2002 and the Elite 8 in 2003. Sampson began his head coaching career at Montana Tech from 1981-85.

For Houston, it's the program's first trip to the Elite 8 since the Cougars went three straight seasons from 1982-84. Houston went to the Final 4 in 1982 and the national championship game in 1983 and 1984.

Houston (27-3) beat Cleveland State and Rutgers in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16.