With both No. 15 Cincinnati (26-5) and No. 11 Louisville (26-5) finishing 15-3 in American Athletic Conference play, the two programs will share the first regular season conference title. But the task of figuring out which team would claim the top seed in next week’s conference tournament was a complicated one, with both teams going 4-2 against the three teams (SMU, UConn and Memphis) tied for third and undefeated against the rest of the conference.
And with Memphis beating SMU earlier Saturday, the tie would be broken through use of the simplest method of them all: the coin flip. In the video above, complete with referees, CBS analyst Bill Raftery and other league officials in attendance and Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin on the cell phone, Cincinnati wins the flip when the coin comes up “heads.”
But did the Bearcats land a tougher path to the title game as a result? Cincinnati will open with the winner of Wednesday’s first-round game between UCF and Temple, which they should be able to handle. But a possible semifinal matchup with either UConn, who beat the Bearcats in Hartford last month, or host Memphis awaits. Louisville, on the other hand, should enjoy the crowd advantage against the winner of Rutgers/USF and possibly SMU in the semis.
Video credit: Jody Demling (Cardinal Authority)
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.
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.