Thursday, January 02, 2014

Morning News: Cincinnati Takes Care Of Business, Utah State Loses Their First MWC Game, Temple Loses Dingle

In 1.5 years as head coach at SMU, Larry Brown has yet to topple a Pomeroy Top 100 opponent.

Cincinnati Takes Care Of Business Vs SMU This was a classic "take care of business" game. Cincinnati is a bit better than SMU, and certainly couldn't afford to lose at home to them. So they got through this game, winning by eight. SMU did a reasonably okay job of holding Cincinnati off the offensive glass, which is their primary source of offense, so this game was always going to be a grind. SMU's biggest problem is that while they're solid at pretty much all aspects of the game, they lack a true go-to scorer. Markus Kennedy led all scorers here with 12.

Cincinnati's non-conference performance was fine, collecting a win over Pittsburgh with no bad losses. Just a 10-8 conference record will probably be enough for them to get into the Tournament, though I'd advise getting a win over Louisville, Memphis or UConn in case people are still convincing themselves Pitt isn't a Top 25 team in March.

SMU has played three teams in the Pomeroy Top 100 and played them all tough, but lost all three games. They just can't get over the hump against a quality opponent, which is why they're on the bubble, but not in the Field of 68 at this point. Their next game is a key one, at home against a reeling UConn squad. If they fall there they head to Louisville and will presumably be 0-3 heading into some games against RPI 100+ teams. That will not be good.

Utah State Loses Their First Ever Mountain West Game This is a tough loss for Utah State. They hit one shot from the field in the final 7:20 and had a couple of chances in the final minute to take the lead but didn't. If they were ever going to make a run at an at-large bid, they really couldn't afford to open up Mountain West play losing to a bad Air Force team. They are similar in a sense to in-state rival BYU in that they have some fun, explosive shooters, but they can't play defense. Air Force exploded for 1.13 PPP here.

Utah State isn't totally out of bubble contention, but they're going to need to get to 11-7 in conference to really be in the conversation, particularly since the Mountain West is down this season. And considering how they've been playing since the Jarred Shaw suspension, there's no reason to think they'll achieve that. Their next game is at home against San Jose State. They start playing the top half of the league on January 18th, when they're at Boise State.

Temple's Daniel Dingle Out For The Season This has been a really rough season for Temple, and it gets even worse as sixth man Daniel Dingle is done for the year with a knee injury. Temple had a tight rotation, and the bench is pretty thin after Dingle. Temple went 5-6 in non-conference play and opened up conference play yesterday with a brutal road loss at Rutgers. They can still finish in the middle of the pack in the AAC, but their hopes of getting into a postseason tournament (unless they have a magical run in the AAC tournament) appear to be basically dead.

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