Everything went exactly as expected in the American Athletic Conference last week with favorites winning every game. The Memphis Tigers were the big winners of the week, notching victories over both Houston and UCF. Houston cemented itself as the loser of the week with losses to both Memphis and SMU. The Cougars have now lost four of their past five games, all against the top half of the conference. They have very few opportunities left to build a respectable resume for the NCAA tournament. Let’s take a look at how the rest of the conference fared.
No. 11 USF (6-12, 0-7) (LW 11)
The Bulls extended their losing streak to seven and remain winless in conference play. Turnovers and sloppy play continues to haunt the Bulls, who had 30 fouls on Saturday with six players notching four or more fouls.
This week: vs. UConn, at Cincinnati
No. 10 Tulane (4-15, 1-6) (LW 10)
The Green Wave lost to both Tulsa and Cincinnati last week, but can take pride in their effort in both games. They hit 12 three pointers and scored 54 points in the second half in their loss to Tulsa, but were unable to ove come the 14-point hole they dug for themselves in the first half. Cameron Reynolds made a strong claim for an AAC Weekly Honor Roll selection averaging 20 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
This week: at Houston, at UConn
No. 9 East Carolina (9-11, 1-6) (LW 9)
The Pirates had a light week, and didn’t play until Sunday night when they faced off against UConn on the road. East Carolina lost easily as the Huskies had four of five starters score in double figures. Kentrell Barkley played his best game since November, scoring 18 points for the Pirates.
This week: vs. Tulsa, at Memphis
No. 8 Temple (10-10, 1-6) (LW 7)
Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Owls lost their third straight game and sixth of their last seven, with an 81-74 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. Freshman Shizz Alston made a major claim for AAC Rookie of the Week by scoring 25 points on 5-10 shooting from three point range in the loss. Temple was in the game until about halfway through the second half when Cincinnati pulled away. It was its second loss of the season to the Bearcats.
This week: vs. Memphis, at Houston
No. 7. UConn (8-11, 3-4) (LW 8)
The Huskies split their games for the second week in a row. They scored just 49 points against SMU while shooting 34% from the field. Jalen Adams has averaged 14.9 points per game this season, but was held to just three points on 1-of-10 shooting against the Mustangs. Connecticut recovered to beat East Carolina on Sunday night. Adams redeemed himself by scoring 19 points and adding five rebounds and five assists in the victory.
This week: at USF, vs. Tulane
No. 6 Tulsa (11-7, 5-1) (LW 6)
Tulsa won its fourth straight game by beating up on the bottom of the conference this week. The Golden Hurricane beat both Tulane and USF to move their conference record to 5-1 on the season, which is tied for second place with SMU. Fresh off of winning AAC Player of the Week honors, sophomore guard Sterling Taplin scored 24 points and added six rebounds and five assists in the win over Tulane.
The schedule has been kind to Tulsa so far this season, but that’s about to change in a big way. After its game against East Carolina, its next seven games are UCF, Cincinnati, SMU, at Memphis, Houston, at UCF and at Cincinnati.
This week: at ECU, vs UCF
No. 5 Houston (13-7, 4-4) (LW 4)
Houston lost to both Memphis and SMU last week, dropping its conference record to 4-4. The Cougars’ only conference wins so far this season are UConn, USF, Tulsa, and East Carolina. I’ve had them rated in the top four all season long, but they’ve now been replaced and will need to beat one of the teams above them before they can move back up. Their NCAA tournament hopes are getting slimmer and they’re running out of chances for quality wins to add to their resume.
This week: vs. Tulane, vs. Temple
No. 4 UCF (14-5, 5-2) (LW 5)
UCF beat USF by 22 points before losing a close game at Memphis on Sunday. Senior Matt Williams played the best game of his career by scoring a career-high 38 points while hitting 11 three pointers against USF. The Knights had a chance to tie Memphis in regulation, but Tanksley Efianayi missed a three pointer with 22 seconds left to seal the loss.
This week: vs. SMU, at Tulsa
No. 3 Memphis (15-5, 5-2) (LW 3)
The Tigers won two close battles over quality teams, notching wins over both UCF and Houston last week. Freshman K.J. Lawson scored a career-high 28 points and added 16 rebounds and five assists in the overtime win over Houston. He followed that up with a game-high 16 points and eight rebounds against UCF. The 1-2 punch of Dedric and K.J. Lawson has the Tigers rolling, and a relatively easy schedule over the next seven games should keep that momentum going for the foreseeable future.
This week: at Temple, vs. East Carolina
No. 2 SMU (17-4, 7-1) (LW 2)
The Mustangs have been on an absolute roll since despite a loss to Cincinnati last week. SMU has now won 13 of their last 14 games, and that one loss was by just two points to the best team in the conference. Shake Milton had a huge week, averaging 25 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. The Mustangs last six wins have all been by 14 points or more.
This week: at UCF
No. 1 Cincinnati (17-2, 7-0) (LW 1)
Cincinnati won both of its games this week, extending its winning streak to 10 games. The Bearcats beat both Temple and Tulane, but didn’t exactly look dominant in either game. Troy Caupain came through with a huge game against Temple scoring 18 points, and adding nine rebounds and seven assists. The schedule is now cleared for the Bearcats’ biggest game of the year when they take on crosstown rival Xavier on Thursday night.
This week: vs. Xavier, vs. USF