The American Athletic Conference saw some records broken this week.

There were a lot of close games, some streaks ended, and movement in the ranking for the American Athletic Conference. The biggest surprise was that Joe Lunardi had changed the number of teams making the NCAA tournament to two with the potential for a third. Memphis has entered the conversation.

This week’s winners:

  • Memphis Tigers/ coach Hardaway
  • SMU Mustangs/ coach Jankovich

This week’s losers:

  • Houston Cougars/ coach Sampson
  • Temple Owls/ coach McKie

This week’s matchups:

  • Monday 2/14
    • Tulsa @ UCF at 6 p.m. CST
  • Tuesday 2/15
    • Memphis @ Cincinnati at 6 p.m. CST
    • Tulane @ USF at 6 p.m. CST
  • Wednesday 2/16
    • SMU @ Temple at 8 p.m. CST
  • Thursday 2/17
    • Wichita State @ Cincinnati at 6 p.m. CST
    • ECU @ USF at 6 p.m. CST
    • UCF @ Houston at 8 p.m. CST
  • Saturday 2/19
    • Tulsa @ USF at 11 a.m. CST
  • Sunday 2/20
    • Houston @ Wichita State at noon CST
    • Temple @ Cincinnati at 1 p.m. CST
    • ECU @ UCF at 1 p.m. CST
    • Memphis @ SMU at 2 p.m. CST

Cincinnati Bearcats (5-4)

Cincinnati basketball split the week, causing them to tumble in the rankings. The Bearcats grabbed a 70-59 win over USF and then a tough loss to 83-77 to Tulsa.

Cincinnati Bearcats shot the ball well against USF shooting 46.9% from the field and 47.6% from 3-point range. Cincinnati dominated the boards and showed its bounce blocking four shots. The Bearcats faltered as the team struggled to move the ball and turned the ball over 19 times. David DeJulius showed out as he scored 24 points, two rebounds, two assists, and four turnovers.

The Bearcats continued its ball movement woes against the Golden Hurricane. Cincinnati basketball grabbed more offensive rebounds, but not enough, as Tulsa ended up outrebounding them. While the Bearcats took better care of the ball, the team still had the ball stolen seven times. The big downfall for Cincinnati basketball was its fouling that put Tulsa on the free throw line 21 times.

ECU Pirates (2-8)

ECU basketball split this week, winning one and losing one. This was a blessing as the team almost lost both games in the first game. It won against Tulsa 73-71 and then a conference leader in SMU 80-66.

Tulsa came to play against ECU as the team led for most of the first half, and ECU traded punches back-and-forth in the second half. In a game that was seconds away from overtime, Vance Jackson makes a big 3-pointer, and Darien Jackson of Tulsa misses a layup to seal the win for ECU. Robinson-White and Jackson were the only ECU players in double digits but had a lot of contributors. The Pirates ball movement was fantastic, having 18 assists and 14 turnovers. The Pirates also caused turnovers, coming up with 12 steals and forcing 17 Tulsa turnovers. ECU basketball fouled shooters too much, allowing Tulsa to shoot 26 free throws and outrebounded on both ends of the floor by Tulsa. Both teams’ offenses in this game were spot on as they both shot over 50% from the field and 34% from 3-point range.

ECU basketball could not just keep up with the SMU Mustangs. The Pirates outrebounded the Mustangs on the offensive boards, and overall, ECU came up with seven steals and forced the Mustangs into 12 turnovers. Unfortunately, SMU’s ball movement and aggressiveness allowed them more shooting opportunities, and they could convert. The Pirates had the opportunities and tried to create more but couldn’t find the bottom of the basket.

Houston Cougars (9-2)

Houston Cougars faced the top teams in the AAC this week and fell short. Coming away with a bitter 85-83 loss to SMU and a 69-59 loss to Memphis, these events ended some big streaks for Houston. They were causing the team to finish the second-longest active home winning streak at 37 wins and the first time in five years that the Cougars lost back-to-back games.

The Cougars did many things right in this game, but SMU got to the free-throw line and shot the ball well from 3-point range. Houston basketball moved the ball well, had seven blocks, and shot over 50% from the field. This game was the first time Houston felt not having Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark. Houston dominated the boards, but the 14 turnovers and fouling shooters led to its loss.

Houston Cougars had no answer for the talent and a near-perfect game from the Memphis Tigers. The Cougars competed but again put its opponent on the free-throw line too many times. Both teams turned the ball over too much at 19 apiece. Houston came up with eight steals, three blocks, and nine offensive boards to create second-chance opportunities. The near-perfect free-throw shooting day by the Tigers and the better offensive day was too much to overcome for the Cougars.

Memphis Tigers (8-4)

Memphis basketball came up with two big wins to move the team into the regular season championship talks and a chance to make it to the NCAA tournament. The Tigers beat Tulane 80-69 and conference-leading Houston 69-59.

In its first game of the week, the Tiger’s talent showed how dominant it could be. The length and skill allowed Memphis basketball to dominate the boards. The team moved the ball well and came up with an astounding ten blocks. The Tigers shot the ball well from the field, shooting 44.3%. Memphis Tigers had 19 offensive rebounds and 30 defensive rebounds, outrebounding Tulane by 23. Memphis basketball moved the ball well but did not take care of it, turning it over 17 times, with 13 coming from steals.

Memphis Tigers continued its offensive onslaught and ability to move the ball against the Cougars. Memphis basketball continued its struggle with taking care of the ball, giving up 19 turnovers again. The positives for the Tigers include its ability to shoot the ball well from the field, convert free throws, and knockdown 3-pointers. While Houston grabbed more offensive rebounds, Memphis’s aggressiveness got the team to the free-throw line 19 times. A massive boost for an already terrifying offense.

SMU Mustangs (9-2)

This week, the Mustangs swept as the team took down Houston 85-83 and ECU 80-66. SMU basketball kept its home winning streak alive and jumped to the conference’s top with its road win. Kendric Davis still seems like the front runner as AAC Player of the Year, especially with Marcus Sasser out and returning co-player of the year Tyson Etienne not remaining the offensive juggernaut he was last year.

SMU Mustangs hosted Houston and came away with a win on a near-perfect game played by SMU. The Mustangs had a great 3-point shooting day, were aggressive, and made it to the free-throw line going 21-for-27. SMU had excellent ball movement and took care of the ball. SMU Mustangs shot the ball 46.4% from the field. SMU basketball was dominated on the boards and was the teams’ lone weakness and the blocks from Houston.

The Mustangs continued their solid offense as the team again dominated shooting against ECU. The Mustang’s lone weakness remains in rebounding, where the Pirates won in total rebounds and offensive rebounds. SMU Mustangs remained sharp in their passing and ball movement and limited turnovers. Kendric Davis continues to be the guy to stir the drink, whether it’s as the offensive spark, the distributor, or coming up with breakaways.

Temple Owls (6-3)

This week, Temple basketball hit a rough patch, losing both games. The Owls got stunned by USF 52-49 and had no answer for Tulane’s offense 92-85.

Temple Owls played a solid game against USF. The team dominated the boards on both ends and shot the ball very well. Temple basketball shot 36.7% from the field and 37.5% from 3-point range. The Owls even held USF to only 8.3% from 3-point range. However, Temple’s downfall was its turnovers giving up 18 and allowing those second chance opportunities where USF strives. The other mistake was playing at USF’s pace. Damian Dunn needed some help as he was the only Owl to hit double-digits with 11 points.

In the Owl’s second game of the week, the team cleaned up its ball-handling and ball movement. Temple handed out 20 assists and gave up only nine turnovers. The Owls battled on the boards and were on the defensive, blocking nine shots but got caught a few too many times fouling shooters and allowing Tulane to get to the free-throw line. Tulane had a hot shooting day, and giving the Green Wave 32 free throw attempts after they shot 48.3% from the field and 50% from 3-point range led to Temple basketball’s loss.

The good news is that the Owls found the offense it was lacking against USF as Damian Dunn was injured in that game and did not play against Tulane. Temple basketball had four players get double-digits in this game led by Zach Hicks’ 21 points, Quincy Ademokoya’s 15Β  points, Tai Strickland’s 15 points, and Jahlil White’s 10 points just weren’t enough to propel them past Tulane.

Tulane Green Wave (8-5)

The Green Wave surprises me with its wins as the team split the week, losing to Memphis 80-69 and beating Temple 92-83.

Tulane basketball did its best against a talented Memphis team, going 12-for-28 from 3-point range and knocking down 17-of-23 free throws. The Green Wave limited its turnovers to ten and came up with 13 steals. Memphis just shot the ball slightly better from the floor, made it to the charity stripe the same amount of time, and dominated the boards for second-chance offensive opportunities.

Tulane basketball turned it up offensively against Temple. The Green Wave shot 48.3% and 50% from 3-point and went 25-for-32 for the free-throw line 78.1%. Tulane turned it up and crashed the boards against Temple and limited turnovers. The Green Wave had its shooters how up in this game. Tulane continues to have too many of its shots blocks. If the Green Wave can make extra passes find open shooters instead of forcing up shots against defenders, this success could easily continue.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-10)

Tulsa basketball split the week, grabbing its second conference win. The Golden Hurricane lost a close battle 73-71 to ECU and an 83-77 win over Cincinnati.

Darien Jackson had the chance to send the first game to overtime, but Tulsa’s inability to take care of the ball and ECU’s nice offensive day was too overwhelming for the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa basketball shot the ball well, crashed the boards, and forced steals. This was not enough to overcome the Pirates’ excellent 3-point shooting and solid shooting from the field. Tulsa Golden Hurricane was aggressive and got to the free-throw line 18-of-26. Unfortunately, it was not enough to come away with a win.

In a surprise twist of fate, Tulsa was able to pull off a win against Cincinnati. Tulsa remained aggressive, getting to the free-throw line 14-for-21, shot 32-for-61 from the field or 52.5%, crashed the boards, and committed too many turnovers. This is an almost perfect game for the Golden Hurricane as the Bearcats created offensive rebounds and ten steals on 12 turnovers. Tulsa basketball was even able to block more of the Bearcats’ shots.

UCF Knights (6-6)

UCF won its lone game this week as the Knights got their revenge against the Shockers 71-66.

UCF basketball grabbed more rebounds on both ends of the floor and came up with more steals that allowed the team to put up more shots for the win. The Knights went 25-for-61 from the field, 11-for-29 from 3-point range, and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. UCF did just enough to win this game. The only area where the Knights showed weakness was its poor efficiency from the 3-point range.

USF Bulls (2-9)

This week, USF basketball had a 33% win rate, going 1-fo -3. After grabbing a win over Temple 52-49, The Bulls stacked up two losses against Cincinnati 70-59 and Wichita State 73-69.

USF took down Temple with 20 seconds left on a Javon Green 3-pointer. USF exploited the Owls passing lanes and sped them up to cause turnovers. The Bulls came up with seven steals and 18 turnovers on Tem le. Meanwhile, USF took care of the ball, only having nine turnovers and ten assists. The Bulls still haven’t found a rhythm for its 3-point shooting as it went 1-for-12 from 3-point range. Luckily, USF’s slow and aggressive style of play got them to the free-throw line 19 ti es. Temple matched USF step for step in other areas as both teams posted ten assists five blocks, and Temple even outrebounded USF on both ends of the floor.

USF’s poor 3-point shooting showed up against Cincinnati as the Bull’s only shot nine 3-pointers while Cincinnati shot 21 and made ten of their 3-point rs. USF shot it well from the field, but the length of Cincinnati was too much. The Bulls were able to turnover Cincinnati 19 times, but only eight came off steals. USF basketball had its negatives as the Bearcats outrebounded the Bulls had the same amount of steals at eight. The Bearcats were more efficient with the steals based on turnovers. With how low the shooting percentage is from 3-point range, the fact that the Bulls continue to shoot so well from the floor is impressive as the team posted 40% in this game.

The last game of the week for USF was a battle. The Bulls went into the trenches against the Shockers but came up just short. USF basketball held the lead for ten plus minutes of the second half. Unfortunately, the Bulls played its probably best offensive game of the year. USF shot 41.7% from the field, 38.9% from 3-point range, and 85.7% from the free-throw line. The Bulls even matched the Shockers on rebounds. The downfall for USF basketball was its turnovers, as the team had 14 turnovers, with nine of them coming off of steals by Wichita State.

Wichita State Shockers (4-6)

Wichita State continues to battle but again splits this week. The Shockers lost on the road against UCF 71-66 and grabbed a home win against USF 73-69.

After falling behind in the game, Wichita State basketball battled back into the game, but some missed opportunities and a couple of controversial calls led to the team’s loss. The Shockers shot the ball well, shooting 41.1% from the field and 42.3% from 3-point range, both higher than UCF. UCF made one more free-throw on the same amount of attempts. Wichita State used to be known for dominating the boards and creating second-chance opportunities. This very different team lost both battles to UCF and led to the team’s loss. The Shockers came back in the second half, but the 14 point lead by UCF at the half was too much to overcome.

Wichita State basketball again had a nice offensive day going 42.4% from the field and 39.3% from 3-point range. The Shockers even got to the free-throw line two more times but did not convert and had the same amount of points from the charity stripe. This game was equal in many ways as both teams had the same number of offensive and defensive rebounds and blocks. The Shockers gained the edge with better ball movement, 16 assists, took better care of the ball (11 turnovers), and grabbed one more steal (nine) than the Bull’s (eight). With the size advantage for the Shockers, the team really should have had more rebounds but was able to come out with a much-needed win.

American Athletic Conference Rankings

A couple of changes happened this week as one team is moving up while others falter.

  1. Houston Cougars
  2. SMU Mustangs
  3. Memphis Tigers
  4. Tulane Green Wave
  5. Temple Owls
  6. Cincinnati Bearcats
  7. UCF Knights
  8. Wichita State Shockers
  9. ECU Pirates
  10. USF Bulls
  11. Tulsa Golden Hurricane