Sean Kilpatrick scored 29 points to lead the way for No. 15 Cincinnati in a win over Temple on Sunday afternoon, but moving to 8-0 in AAC play was a much tougher task than the Bearcats expected.
Playing without Justin Jackson for much of the game after the senior center injured his ankle, Cincinnati still managed to push a 10-point halftime lead to 19 with just 13 minutes left in the game. That’s when Dalton Pepper took over.
Temple’s senior guard put on one of the more impressive scoring displays that you’ll see this season, scoring 22 points and hitting six threes in the final 13 minutes as the Owls went on a 39-20 run to tie the game at 76. It was Pepper’s three in the final minute that evened the score. But on the ensuing possession, Kilpatrick was foul driving to the basket. He hit both free throws, and Jermaine Sanders blocked Josh Brown’s shot at the other end, sealing an 80-76 win.
It was the first time this season that Cincinnati’s defense broke down, and it surely wasn’t a coincidence that their best defender — Jackson — was sitting on the bench nursing an injury. No one had scored more than 67 points on Mick Cronin’s team this season. The last time they allowed 76 points in a game was when they lost to Ohio State in the 2012 NCAA tournament.
That’s concerning for the Bearcats because they will be paying a visit to the Yum! Center to take on Louisville on Saturday. The Cards are currently sitting in second place in the conference standings.
It’s too early to know if Jackson will be available on Thursday. But without him, the Bearcats gave up 50 second half points to a team that’s 0-7 in the AAC. That’s not an ideal way to go into the biggest game of their season.
Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas