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
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: