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AAC Basketball News and Notes | Cincinnati Has Tumultuous Week

After a crazy week of mid-season tournaments, every single AAC basketball team now has at least one loss. For many teams in the conference, consistency was a big issue this week. With teams like Memphis and Houston having plenty of new talent and still figuring out their teams, it’s not too surprising. It is still interesting to see them struggle mightily at times to even keep up with unranked opponents, however.

With such a long season ahead, there’s no point in not having a short memory, as the AAC is still wide open. Here is a shakedown of how the past week played out.

AAC Basketball Weekly Headlines

The AAC only has two ranked teams, but Wichita State may be getting some love sooner rather than later. After winning both of their games this week, the Shockers are 5-1 with their only loss coming against the 17th-ranked Arizona Wildcats in overtime. Houston fell just short of a furious comeback against Wisconsin in the Maui Jim Maui Classic and Memphis was embarrassed by Iowa State in the Upsie NIT Tip-Off. With only UCF playing a ranked team this week, the conference should be able to build up some wins this week.

Mike Saunders Jr. cincinnati basketball college
Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Cincinnati, Mike Saunders Jr. Answer the Bell and Take Down Illinois

The Fighting Illini had far from their best game offensively, in all fairness. At one point, Illinois missed 18 consecutive three-point attempts. A lot of the credit still needs to be attributed to a stifling Bearcats defense. Cincinnati held Illinois to just 28% from the field and 13% from behind the arc. In addition to forcing tough shots for Illinois, Cincinnati also forced Illinois into 14 turnovers.

One of the biggest questions coming into this game was how Cincinnati would stop Kofi Cockburn. While Cockburn was feasting to begin the game, first-year head coach Wes Miller made a key adjustment. Miller called a timeout with 12 minutes left in the first half, facing a 23-8 deficit. Cincinnati started to swarm Cockburn whenever he touched the ball, and the strategy certainly paid off. Illinois scored just 28 points in the final 32 minutes. With plenty of high-powered offenses in the AAC, Cincinnati will need nightly performances like this to contend for the title.

Credit: Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle

Free Throws Doom Houston against Wisconsin

As the only team ranked coming into the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, many tabbed Houston to win the tournament. After destroying Butler, Houston was pitted against a young Wisconsin Badger team, far from their past glory days. Many thought Houston would run over a Badger team that struggles to shoot the ball. Instead, the Cougars found themselves down 20 points at halftime.

Houston came clawing all the way back but wasn’t able to get a final shot off in time. Wisconsin won the game, 65-63, and eventually won the tournament the next day. Houston has to feel this was a game they should’ve won, as they made just eight of 15 attempts from the free throw line. Come conference play when seemingly every game is close, this poor of free throw shooting will doom the Cougars. While they were able to bounce back against Oregon the next day, one has to wonder if this game was a sign of things to come or simply a fluke.

Updated AAC Basketball Standings

TeamConference RecordOverall Record
Wichita State6-915-12
East Carolina6-1115-14
South Florida3-158-22

Upcoming AAC Basketball Games to Note

Even though there aren’t as many marquee games as last week, there are still plenty of challenges that AAC basketball will have to face this upcoming week. Here are some games to watch as we enter December.

USF at Boston College

Date: Monday, Nov. 29
Time: 7:00 pm EST
TV Coverage: ACC Network

UCF at No. 19 Auburn

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 1
Time: 8:00 pm EST
TV Coverage: SEC Network+/ESPN+

Wichita State at Oklahoma State

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 1
Time: 8:00 pm EST
TV Coverage: BIG12/ESPN+

No. 9 Memphis at Ole Miss

Date: Saturday, Dec. 4
Time: 12:00 pm EST
TV Coverage: ESPN2

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