Antonio Barton

Antonio Barton no longer in boot, could be back for postseason

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Some good news on the injury front for Memphis, and it comes in time for the stretch run.

According to a report from Jon Rothstein, guard Antonio Barton’s broken right foot is out of a walking boot and he could be ready for the Conference USA Tournament, said Tigers’ coach Josh Pastner.

Barton, a 6-2 junior, has missed the last four games after injuring the foot in the early minutes of the Tigers’ 89-76 victory at Southern Miss. He’s averaging 6.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists so far this season.

It’s a bit of good news for Memphis, who haven’t sorely missed Barton in his absence. They’ve won all four games he’s missed and scored at least 80 points in three of them, including a 93-71 route of UCF in the game after Barton went down.

Where they have been missing him is at the defensive end. He averages a steal per game and is tasked with guarding the top or second-best guard for the opposition when he’s healthy. They haven’t had much of an issue with that recently, but will need him when they get into the NCAA Tournament.

Every team wants to be healthy entering the postseason, when the legs get weary and fatigue becomes a major issue. Depth matters more. Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford are performing well and Barton will just be a welcome piece coming back into the fold for a team that could be the lone bid out of C-USA.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.