Thursday, January 22, 2015

Morning News: Tulsa Moves To 6-0, Aaron Cosby Injury, And Baylor's Pointless Game

Kentucky's secret? It's not McDonald's All-Americans. It's pedicures.

So I strongly considered passing on a Morning News post this morning. This just weren't any results with much meaning last night. The top teams that played all took care of business against significantly lesser opponents. But there were a few minor things worth discussing, so enjoy this abbreviated Morning News:

Tulsa Moves To 6-0 Tulsa had a horrible non-conference performance, going 7-5 with zero quality wins and two terrible losses (Oral Roberts and SE Oklahoma State). But they've become a different team in conference play, moving to 6-0 now with this easy handling of Memphis. With nobody in the AAC looking particularly good, Tulsa is being generally perceived as the AAC favorite. Are they really? And can they possibly salvage an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after that disastrous non-conference performance?

I'm more skeptical than most on the "AAC favorite" argument. They're in first place, but they've faced a soft schedule and been relatively lucky in close games. Their conference schedule is back-loaded, and it will be interesting to see how they react to going from the hunter to the hunted against teams like Cincinnati, UConn and SMU, all of which probably have more talent on their roster. As for the at-large bid, the lack of RPI Top 50 wins (none so far) is a problem, and they're going to need to go at least 14-4 in conference play to have a realistic chance.

Memphis is playing surprisingly respectable in AAC play. Their offense is still awful, but they are playing good defense and they can get after the offensive glass. They're not going to win the league or compete seriously for an at-large bid, but don't be stunned if they finish in the top four of the final AAC standings.

Aaron Cosby Out 1-2 Weeks Cosby has started 13 of the 19 Illini games thus far, and he's fourth on the team in minutes while scoring 7.8 points per game. Losing him isn't significant in and of itself, but with Rayvonte Rice still out and with Illinois teetering around the Tournament bubble, they really don't need any more reduction in backcourt depth. Illinois snuck past Purdue at home last night, but the key game without Cosby will be a road game at a desperate Minnesota team on Saturday. After that they have relatively easy home games against Penn State and Rutgers.

Baylor Played A Pointless Game Are you wondering why Baylor played an NAIA team in the middle of January? Well, I could have given you a thousand guesses and you'd never have come up with this one:

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