Week 13: AAC Hoops Power Rankings

Patrick breaks down the AAC in his weekly power rankings. Where did everyone fall after SMU's win over Tulsa?

1. SMU (19-5, 10-2 AAC; LW- 1)

Last week: vs. Cincinnati (L 62-54), at Tulsa (W 68-57)

Quite the 48-hour swing. The Mustangs took an ugly loss at home against Cincinnati where they missed 14 shots within 2 feet of the rim and failed to capitalize on 10 early Bearcat turnovers. But those feelings were forgotten when SMU went to first-place Tulsa and won with a second-half outburst that happened after Nic Moore apparently got hurt, not before. That’s a welcomed sign if SMU needs to play without Moore at any point.

This week: 2/12 at Houston, 2/14 vs. Connecticut

2. Tulsa (17-6, 10-1; LW- 2)

Last week: at Houston (W 57-44), vs. SMU (L 68-57)

Tulsa scored just 57 points on its home floor and shot a horrid 25 percent on two-pointers. Now I should credit SMU for creating problems for Tulsa, but 25 percent is appalling. Anyway, I found a more interesting trend. Until SMU, Tulsa had not played an opponent that averages more than 1.03 points per possession since Dec. 22. The Golden Hurricane’s record against such teams? 1-5, with the only win coming against Incarnate Word. Furthermore, Tulsa has only two more such opponents: SMU and Cincinnati. The point? Tulsa performed as it should against crappy offenses. Against good offenses? Not so much.

This week: 2/12 at Connecticut

3. Temple (18-7, 9-3; LW- 3)

Last week: at Memphis (W 61-60), vs. Cincinnati (W 75-59)

Josh Brown found some friendly late-night banking hours in Memphis to give the Owls a big road win, but they got a bigger win when they thrashed Cincinnati to get revenge for the thrashing Cincy put on them three weeks ago. Temple snapped the Bearcats streak of 27 straight games surrendering less than 70 points. Temple also shot 57 percent on twos against Cincy. Temple is 8-2 when it shoots 45 percent or better on twos and 5-0 when it shoots 50 percent or better on twos. The answer is simple: get high-percentage looks and you’ll win.

This week: 2/14 vs. East Carolina

4. Cincinnati (17-7, 8-4 AAC; LW- 4)

Last week: at SMU (W 62-54), vs. USF (W 63-58), at Temple (L 75-59)

The Bearcats defied conventional wisdom. You’d think if they were to allow 75 points on the road, it would be to the AAC’s best offensive team, not one of its worst. Nope. Cincinnati held SMU to under 1.0 points per possession for just the seventh time this season, and it allowed Temple to hit 1.0 PPP for just the 11th time. College basketball: where the unexpected becomes the ordinary. Beating Temple would have been a big boost for Cincinnati’s NCAA hopes. Now fourth in the conference, an NCAA bid is up in the air.

This Week: 2/14 vs. Tulane

5. Connecticut (13-9, 6-4; LW- 6)

Last week: at Tulane (W 62-53)

For most of the year, I’ve tried to point a finger to Connecticut’s issues and haven’t found anything meaningful. Here’s the best I can do: In all but two of the Huskies’ wins, they’ve averaged a point per possession. In all the losses, they have averaged below 1.0 PPP. So it’s likely an offensive problem, considering the defense has allowed only five games over 1.0 PPP. Still, not an overly convincing point. Bottom line: UConn is underachieving, but has enough talent to keep it close with any team.

This week: 2/12 vs. Tulsa, 2/14 at SMU

6. Memphis (14-10, 6-5; LW- 5)

Last week: vs. Temple (L 61-60), at East Carolina (L 64-53)

Memphis is building momentum and salvaging an OK conference season! Annnnnd it’s gone. Memphis lost to Temple on a lucky bank shot, but more importantly lost Austin Nichols for the next couple weeks with an ankle injury. He’s become a premier post player and shot blocker in his sophomore season. In the first game without him, the Tigers fell flat against East Carolina.

This week: 2/14 at USF

7. Tulane (13-10, 4-7; LW- 7)

Last week: vs. Connecticut (L 62-53)

In what was once a promising start to conference play, the Green Wave has lost five in a row, four of which were at home. Tulane’s OReb% has not topped 35 in that span and its free throw rate hasn’t topped 36 percent in the last four games. Generally, getting offensive rebounds and getting to the line helps you win. A frontcourt that has scored just 34 percent of its team’s points and trigger-happy guards are largely to blame.

This week: 2/14 at Cincinnati

8. East Carolina (11-13, 4-7; LW- 8)

Last week: vs. UCF (W 67-49), vs. Memphis (W 64-53)

Don’t look now, but East Carolina has won three of its last four and has surrendered just 53.3 points per game during that stretch. This same team gave up 1.10 PPP eight times before this hot streak. The offense is still yet to show improvement, but these defensive strides are a welcomed sight.

This week: 2/14 at Temple

9. Central Florida (9-13, 2-9; LW- 9)

Last week: at East Carolina (L 67-49)

A defense that has been bad all year is getting worse. UCF just allowed 1.16 PPP to offensively challenged East Carolina. Offensively the Knights boast decent overall numbers, but don’t be fooled. They have scored over 1.0 PPP 11 times. Seven of those opponents are: Stetson, Eckerd (DII), South Carolina Upstate, Bethune-Cookman, Detroit, SE Louisiana, Houston. Not exactly murderer’s row of defenses.

This week: 2/11 vs. USF, 2/15 vs. Houston

10. Houston (9-13, 1-9; LW- 10)

Last week: vs. Tulsa (L 57-44)

Houston is really starting to fight. After two wins last week, the Cougars led Tulsa by seven in the second half, before the more talented team came back as expected. But, it’s hard to win games with a meager 38.4 field goal percentage and in year one of a tough rebuild.

This week: 2/12 vs. SMU, 2/15 at UCF, 2/17 at USF

11. South Florida (7-17, 1-10; LW- 11)

Last week: at Cincinnati (L 63-58)

The Bulls managed score above 0.9 PPP for just the fourth time in conference play. They’ve scored below 0.9 PPP nine times this season and average 0.87 PPP during AAC play. On a totally unrelated note, USF has lost nine in a row.

This week: 2/11 at UCF, 2/14 vs. Memphis, 2/17 vs. Houston

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