AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Record: 20-10, 14-4
The AAC is full of bubble teams and Temple is at the top of that list. The Owls may have won the regular season, but they lack decent wins in non-Conference play. The only thing they can do to insure they make the NCAA Tournament is to win this one.
Temple should have no problems in its first Game, but will face Cincinnati or Connecticut in the semifinals. The Owls swept both of those teams in the regular season, but those wins were by no means convincing and anything can happen on a neutral cOurt… especially down in Orlando. Temple is the 1-seed, but this Tourney is wide open.
Record: 22-8, 12-6
The Cougars suddenly find themselves as a 2-seed in the AAC and on the bubble, competing for an NCAA Tourney appearance. That wasn’t the case most of the year, but after winning six of seven Games to close the season, here they are.
And there’s no reason they can’t win this Tournament. They have beaten every team in the conference, including Connecticut and Cincinnati in their most recent Games. To reach the championship Game, the Cougars will face UCF/Tulane and Tulsa/Memphis in the semifinals. It’s definitely a road they can take.
Record: 20-10, 12-6
It’s almost simple for the Golden Hurricane. If they don’t reach the AAC championship Game, they won’t be a part of March Madness. And even then, their chances are questionable. It doesn’t help that Tulsa’s first two wins in this Tournament probably won’t come against NCAA Tourney teams.
The bottom of the bracket is pretty straight forward as seen above with Houston. It will either be the Golden Hurricane or the Cougars in the final. The team that doesn’t make it will likely be outside of the field of 68.
Record: 22-9, 12-6
The top of the bracket is a bit different as it features three teams fighting for a Tourney bid. The Bearcats took down SMU and UConn in the last couple weeks and that has them looking good at the moment. However, Cincinnati opens this Tournament against Connecticut once again.
If the Bearcats can win that, they’ll likely lock a spot in March Madness, but beating Temple in the semifinals would obviously help more.
Record: 21-10, 11-7
The Huskies are in the same situation as Cincy, and it has been recent results that cost them a better seed. UConn has lost three of its last five Games, with one of those being at home to Houston. They were already swept by the Bearcats in the regular season so another loss here could be fatal for their NCAA chances. This matchup could almost serve as a play-in Game for the Tournament.
Memphis is the only other relevant team, but nothing about their season shows they can roll through the bracket and win this Tournament. Then again, anything can happen in the AAC without outstanding teams.
Temple is in the unfortunate position of playing a low-level team with its first Game that won’t help in its quest to make the NCAA Tournament. The interesting thing about the odds is that the 4-seed (Cincinnati) and 5-seed (Connecticut) have the best odds to win the AAC Tournament. The Owls have the fifth-best odds despite being a 1-seed, which presents all kinds of value for them. Based on recent results, Houston could also be a trendy pick with the Fourth-best odds.
As seen in the odds, there’s no telling what’s going to happen in this Tournament, but that also means there is value to be had.