1. SMU Mustangs (17-0, 7-0 AAC, AP No. 8, LW: 1)
Last week: at Tulane (W 60-45), vs. Houston (W 77-73)
Sterling Brown is making three-pointers at a higher percentage than two-pointers. He’s shooting 69.2 percent on twos. If he had enough attempts to qualify, his 70.8 (17-of-24) mark from three would lead the nation by 11 percentage points. (The lowest qualifier has 31 three-point attempts). His 79.2 effective field goal percentage (more credit given for threes) leads the country.
This week: 1/23 at Temple
2. Connecticut Huskies (13-5, 4-2 AAC, LW: 2)
Last week: at Tulsa (L 60-51), at Houston (W 69-57), vs. Tulane (W 60-51)
A team with as much talent as the Huskies should never average .78 points per possession, as they did against Tulsa. Connecticut still has the best potential to get an at-large bid, but with a 1-4 record against KenPom top 50 teams, it’s getting harder to see a road to March Madness outside of winning the conference tournament. It’s also harder to see anyone other than Connecticut winning the conference tournament right now.
This week: 1/23 vs. Georgetown
3. Temple Owls (8-7, 4-2 AAC, LW: 6)
Last week: vs. Cincinnati (W 67-65)
There really isn’t much separation between two and seven in the conference right now. Temple is the hottest team in the conference not named SMU. The Owls are 3-1 in their last four games, the only loss to Memphis on last-second free throws.
This week: 1/20 at La Salle, 1/23 vs. SMU,
4. Cincinnati Bearcats (13-6, 3-3 AAC, LW: 3)
Last week: at Temple (L 67-65)
The Bearcats are 3-5 in their last eight games and are struggling to score again. Right now, Cincinnati is not a lock for the NCAA tournament.
This week: 1/21 vs. Memphis, 1/24 at Tulane
5. Memphis Tigers: (12-5, 3-1 AAC, LW: 5)
Last week: vs. South Florida (W 71-56)
The Tigers are downright unwatchable at times, and shooting 36 percent in the win over South Florida was a great example. But leading the conference in free throw attempts (second in free throw percentage), field goal percentage defense, blocks, steals and rebounds per game allows them to win ugly.
This week: 1/21 at Cincinnati, 1/24 vs. East Carolina, 1/26 at Central Florida
6. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (12-6, 4-2 AAC, LW: 7)
Last week: vs. Connecticut (W 60-51), at East Carolina (W 84-69)
The ebbs and flows of Pat Birt continue. After making one of his seven three-point attempts against Connecticut, he makes 6-of-11 against East Carolina. Thankfully, Tulsa has James Woodard and Shaquille Harrison. The latter nearly posted a triple-double against ECU, with 10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
This week: 1/24 vs. Central Florida
7. Houston Cougars: (13-5, 3-3 AAC, LW: 4)
Last week: vs. Connecticut (L 69-57), at SMU (L 77-73)
The Cougars are still a promising team, but after losses against the AAC’s better teams, their standing as one of the league’s best needs reassessing. It’s not as harsh a fall as it seems, given the lack of separation between two and seven.
This week: 1/23 vs. South Florida
8. Central Florida Knights: (9-6, 3-1 AAC, LW: 8)
Last week: vs. East Carolina (W 89-69)
Don’t be fooled by the Knights’ conference record: their three wins are ECU (twice) and South Florida. Nonetheless, if UCF can steal a couple wins from teams like Tulsa and Memphis, it has a real shot to finish at .500 in conference play thanks to the soft scheduling.
This week: 1/20 at South Florida, 1/24 at Tulsa, 1/26 vs. Memphis
9. East Carolina Pirates: (8-11, 0-6 AAC, LW: 9)
Last week: at Central Florida (L 89-69), vs. Tulsa (L 84-69)
The Pirates have lost six straight to open conference play by an average of 15.3 points per game.
This week: 1/24 at Memphis
10. Tulane Green Wave: (8-12, 1-6 AAC, LW: 10)
Last week: vs. SMU (L 60-45), at Connecticut (L 60-42)
Eighty-seven points, 36 turnovers, 27 percent shooting and .69 points per possession in two losses last week.
This week: 1/24 at Cincinnati
11. South Florida Bulls: (3-16, 0-6 AAC, LW: 11)
Last week: vs. Memphis (L 56-71)
Hey, at least they didn’t lose a conference game by 50 points (looking at you, Rutgers).
This week: 1/20 vs. Central Florida, 1/23 at Houston