AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
XL Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Record: 24-6, 15-3
The AAC is not a good conference. SMU controlled the AAC all year long and their best non-Conference win was against Michigan. It gets better for the Mustangs as their route to the title Game is quite favorable.
SMU shouldn’t have problems with their first Game and then will get to face Memphis or Temple, two teams they already swept. In the title Game, there’s no telling who the Mustangs will play, though. SMU looks like a 6-seed at this point for the NCAA Tournament, unless they lose their first Game here for some reason.
Record: 21-9, 14-4
The Golden Hurricane have one chance of making the NCAA Tournament and that’s winning this Tournament. They may be the 2-seed, but they only have seven Top 150 RPI wins. Their best wins are against Temple and Memphis if that says anything.
They should win their first Game and will then likely play Connecticut or Cincinnati. It’s hard to see them winning either of those.
Record: 22-9, 13-5
The Bearcats are in the same range as SMU, but because of two more Conference losses, are looking like an 8- or 9- seed. As has been the case for a few years, this team plays solid defense and struggles on the offensive end. They don’t have anyone that scores more than 10 points per Game.
Their matchup with Connecticut will be interesting, mainly because it’s basically a home Game for the Huskies. Those two teams split this year with UConn winning 62-56 when these teams played on Jan. 10 at the XL Center (where this Tournament is). The winner will probably be the favorite against Tulsa in the semis.
Record: 22-9, 13-5
Somehow, someway, the Owls will be in March Madness even as a 4-seed in the AAC. Most of that is due to a huge win against Kansas, though. Most of their wins are against bad teams (14 vs. RPI 150+).
Temple should get by a Memphis squad without Austin Nichols, a Conference first teamer, but beating SMU will be tough. The Mustangs swept them in the regular season, 60-55 and 67-58.
Record: 17-13, 10-8
Last year’s NCAA Champions definitely won’t be getting an at-large bid, but have an interesting situation in the AAC Tournament. Because of the weakness of the conference, and the location (Hartford), Connecticut could make a run here and it wouldn’t be all that surprising. The Huskies have not been good this year, but that might not matter if they can win Four straight Games this week.
They should beat South Florida, and then the home crowd should help a lot in these other Games. UConn already beat Cincy (62-56), Tulsa (70-45) and SMU (81-73) at the XL Center this year. Of course, the main thing to worry about is how they are playing, losing two straight coming into this including a home Game against Memphis.
But, there is a reason Connecticut has the second-best odds to win this Tournament… as a 6-seed.
No one else in the AAC should be a threat other than these listed teams. Without Austin Nichols, it will be tough for Memphis to make a run. The other five teams should be free wins.
The Huskies seem like an underdog play, but they aren’t really with the second-best odds. If you don’t believe in them, Cincinnati could be an interesting bet. The Bearcats already beat SMU twice and meeting them in the finals would be a welcome sight. Then again, the home team Connecticut could easily beat them. Because of SMU’s easier run to the championship Game, they are probably the best route to go.