A Look At The AAC

The UH/AAC Report: a high scoring week, some teams stay hot while others cool

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Week six in the AAC was pretty high scoring. Five teams scored more than 30 points, with four of them scoring more than 40 and one scoring more than 50. Let's take a closer look at what transpired:

UH was off, but there's still news

Even though the Coogs were off, there was a bit of news that came down. Graduate transfer offensive lineman Justin Murphy has apparently quit the team. He started four games this year: three at right guard and one at right tackle. It's yet to be seen how true the report from GoCoogs.com has any truth or other sources to back it up. So for now, we'll assume it's true.

Other key results

Cincinnati 27, UCF 24: The Bearcats handed the Golden Knights their second loss of the season, and bumped them from the top 25 rankings while taking a spot on the rankings themselves.

SMU 43, Tulsa 37: SMU stayed undefeated with triple overtime win over the Tulsa. No one saw the lowly Golden Hurricanes giving the ranked, undefeated Mustangs this much trouble. SMU is 6-0 for the first time since 1982.

Tulane 42, Army 33: Tulane held off the Army rushing attack for a strong win improving to 4-1 on the season. What's most impressive is they beat Army with a rushing yardage differential of +131.

Stars of the week

Cincinnati Defense: I said last week that UCF would have a tough time with this defense on the road. While they gave up 423 yards of offense, they also forced four turnovers that helped them win the game.

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis: Talk about an appropriate name! He rushed for 209 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns in a 52-33 win over ULM.

Tulane Offense: The Green Wave had four guys rush for 50 or more yards and a touchdown in their win over Army. This contributed heavily to their +131 rushing yardage differential.

Games to watch this week

Memphis @ Temple

Cincinnati @ Houston

Navy @ Tulsa

Players to watch this week

Kenneth Gainwell, Memphis: Gainwell leads a rushing attack that averages 214.4 yards a game going against a defense the gives up 125.6 yards a game on the ground.

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati: I expect Ridder to have a big game against the porous UH defense as the 4-1 Bearcats look to build off their big win over UCF.

Tulsa Defense: The Golden Hurricanes are average against the run. Navy excels in their triple option attack. This will be the deciding factor in this matchup.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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