Progress Report: American

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Some unlikely teams might be coming out of the AAC come selection Sunday (#24 SMU and Tulsa). Considering recent tournament history, this is somewhat of a down year within the AAC. Perennial teams like powerhouse UConn and Memphis are currently on the outside looking in. Temple, riding a five-game win streak including a big win Saturday over the aforementioned Memphis Tigers. Cincinnati is also a team potentially on the bubble after winning six of its last seven.

Tulsa

With a 10-1 conference record, Tulsa’s backcourt features two juniors. 6-foot-4 Shaquille Harrison is boasting an average of 14.9 points per game. Not far behind is James Woodard, a 6-foot-3 guard averaging 14.7 points per game. Coach Frank Haith has caught lightning in a bottle in his first year at the helm, and is trying to get the Canes back to the tourney for the second consecutive year. Tulsa’s schedule ramps up for the regular season final stretch. With another meeting against #23 SMU, a rematch with red-hot Temple as well as Cincinnati at home, Tulsa has a tough finish.

  • Key Wins: at Temple, Connecticut
  • Key Losses: at Oral Roberts, at Oklahoma State, at Wichita State
  • Player(s) To Watch: Shaquille Harrison, James Woodard
  • Schedule: at UConn (Feb. 12), East Carolina (Feb. 18)

SMU

Despite being the only ranked team in the conference, SMU sits at #2 behind Tulsa in the conference standings. The Stangs are 19th in the country in field goal percentage (.485) and 17th in assists per game (16). The gaudy assist numbers are largely due to junior guard Nic Moore averaging 5.4 a game; he’s also the team’s leading scorer with 14.2 points per game. Semifinalists in the NIT last year, Coach Larry Brown’s Mustangs are trying to reach the big dance for the first time in more than 22 years. With a strong finish, SMU should be a tournament team.

  • Key Wins: Wyoming, at Michigan, at Temple
  • Key Losses: at Gonzaga, at Indiana, Arkansas
  • Player To Watch: Nic Moore
  • Schedule: at Houston (Feb. 12), UConn (Feb. 14)

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