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Injury status for Houston forward Jarace Walker vs. Temple on Sunday

The Cougars will likely continue working their second leading rebounder into the lineup.

Houston Cougars forward Jarace Walker lays the ball up as Cincinnati Bearcats forward Ody Oguama looks on in the first half of the NCAA men s basketball game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The No. 1 Houston Cougars are rolling through conference play in the American Athletic Conference, and things should only improve as they continue working forward Jarace Walker back into his usual workload. The Cougars host the Temple Owls on Sunday, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Cougars are 20-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Walker missed a game with an illness, sitting out the team’s 83-77 home win over South Florida on January 11. He returned for the team’s 80-60 road win over Tulane. He played 25 minutes and finished with six points and nine rebounds, but also a season-high four turnovers. For the season, he’s been averaging 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. That’s good for third and second on the team, respectively.

By most projected NBA mock drafts, Walker should be a lottery pick in 2023. He’s a huge key for UH to potentially win their first national championship, but for many reasons league play for the Coogs during their last season in the American Conference isn’t exactly a priority.

The Cougars are 18-1 and 6-0 in the AAC, and it would take an upset for them to lose any of their remaining conference games. Other than Tulane (1 vote in the coaches’ poll), nobody in the conference is getting a vote in polls. Houston is on track to claim a No. 1 seed and possibly the No. 1 overall seed in the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.