A Look At The AAC

The UH/AAC Report: with UH off, the rest off the AAC delivered some action

With only four games on the slate this week and the Coogs off, there was still some exciting football in the AAC this week. Let's take a look at week 11:

Coogs had a week off

With a week off, the Coogs also stayed out of the news. No crazy rumors or stories from national media members to address this week. The team had a normal week of practice in preparation for their big game next week against Memphis as the Tigers come to town ranked No. 21 sporting an 8-1 record.

Other key results

Tulsa 34, UCF 31: To say the luster is off UCF as a bully in the AAC would be accurate. While they have tons of talent, nobody fears them the way they did in years past. They've lost more games this year than they have the past two years.

SMU 59, ECU 51: Whenever a top team in the conference struggles to beat a bottom feeder, two narratives are put out: A) the favorite underestimated the underdog, or B) the underdog caught the favorite off guard. Either way, SMU put another notch in the win column and continues to march towards a decent bowl game.

Temple 17, USF 7: The Owls became bowl eligible with a well balanced offensive attack against the Bulls. 167 yards through the air and another 153 on the ground kept the attack even. Despite a -60 penalty yard margin, the Owls managed to grind out a win.

Stars Of The Week

Shane Buechele, QB, SMU: Buechele's 33/46 for 414 yards and five touchdowns were very necessary to pull out the eight point win over ECU. He put up video game numbers partly because...

James Proche & Kylen Granson, WRs, SMU: ...these two combined for 21 catches for 305 yards and accounted for all five of Buechele's passing touchdowns. They caught 73.6% of Burchele's passing yards. Had ECU applied more pressure and/or covered better, they may have won this game.

Cincinnati Rushing Attack: In a 45-point win, you'd imagine there were some crazy number put up. The Bearcats ran the ball 43 times for 307 yards for a 7.1 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. For comparion sake, UConn ran 40 times for only 148 yards and of course didn't score a touchdown.

Games To Watch This Week

Tulane @ Temple

#24 Navy @ #15 Notre Dame

#20 Cincinnati @ USF

Players To Watch This Week

Malcolm Perry, Navy: Facing the #15 ranked Fighting Irish in a midday showdown on national television gives Perry a chance to shine. I can't wait to see what he can do against a defacto Power 5 school.

Justn McMillan, Tulane: Going East and facing Temple at 11am CST will be a slight body clock test for the Green Wave. McMillan is their leading passer and rusher. He, like the aforementioned Perry, will get to prove himself on the road against a tough opponent.

Cincinnati Rushing Attack: The Bearcats average 202.4 yards per game on the ground. USF averages giving up 194 yards per game on the ground. I fully expect the game to be won or lost depending upon who wins this battle.

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In recent reports, there have been multiple rumors that the 76ers could make a push for James Harden if they can sign Mike D' Antoni as their head coach. As the 76ers fired Brett Brown in August, they are now looking for a culture change. So, it won't come as a surprise if the 76ers try to trade Joel Embiid for Harden. Hopefully, Daryl Morey recognizes the talent of Harden and rejects the idea of trading him.

Harden is easily the second greatest Rocket of in franchise history, including being second in scoring. In Harden's eight-year tenure with the Rockets, he has become an NBA MVP, made the All-NBA team seven times, three-time scoring champ, and an eight-time All-Star. Harden's resume with the Rockets is impressive, including going to Western Conference Finals twice. Ever since Harden came to Houston in 2012, he revamped the Rockets' franchise with eight consecutive playoff runs. Before Harden came to the Rockets, this franchise had missed the playoffs three times in a row.

Harden also attracted huge free agents like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook, which helped him succeed in his Rockets tenure. He has made the Rockets an attractive team to play on since being in Houston for eight years.

Even though Harden has been great with the Rockets, he has not reached the Finals yet. That has been the huge question mark on Harden's resume while playing for the Rockets. Honestly, there are certain moments when Harden has disappeared in big games. In 2015 versus the Clippers in Game 6 of the Western Semifinals, Harden shot 5 of 20 from the field, and was benched in the 4th quarter by Kevin McHale, as the Rockets were led by Josh Smith to force a Game 7 in Houston. Also, during the Spurs-Rockets Western Semifinals of 2017, Harden had another disappearance in Game 6. Harden shot 2 of 11 from the field with only 10 points as the Rockets lost to the Spurs 114-75 without Kawhi Leonard.

Despite those two horrible examples, Harden was extremely close in 2018 versus the Warriors but an injury to Paul's hamstring stopped the Rockets' momentum, as they lost in game 7 by missing 22 straight three-pointers. The following year, the Rockets lost to the Warriors again without Kevin Durant because Paul and Harden were not on the same page in the Western Semifinals. Things were not different this year, as the Rockets were overpowered by the Lakers 4-1.

Trading the 32-year-old Harden could be tempting because of the recent playoff failures, but he is a generational player. In the last 5 years, Harden has dominated the NBA with his elite scoring. Harden has averaged over 30 plus points per game in the last three seasons. He is also classified as one of the greatest scorers of all-time behind Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Wilt Chamberlin.

Stephen A. Smith lays out why he thinks Harden is the greatest scorer currently in the NBA in the video below.

James Harden is 'the greatest scorer in the NBA' - Stephen A. | First Take youtu.be

After all the things Harden has accomplished in Houston, is he still untouchable? Honestly, if Harden is traded, the culture for the Rockets will drastically change, especially with new players coming to Houston. In my opinion, Harden and Morey are very close but Morey is blinded by his own decisions because of Harden. Morey built this team around James and does anything to please him. He wanted to keep D'Antoni around because of Harden, which is not helpful for the Rockets. If the Rockets are going to win big, Morey has to be stronger with his own judgement of the team, and not Harden's.

If the Rockets decided to trade James Harden to the 76ers, they could receive Embiid and Josh Richardson, which is still good. The Rockets would get a big man, who is a superstar, and a great wing defender, which gave Harden problems two years when he played for the Heat. This would not be bad decision if the Rockets decided to move on from Harden.

Before Morey decides to pull the trigger, he needs to digest Harden's accolades, including his shortcomings. Hopefully, the right decision is made for the Rockets' organization.

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