Wednesday, March 8, 2017

American Athletic Conference tournament preview

This is part 29 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country.  We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.

The standings:
SMU 17-1
Cincinnati 12-6
Houston 12-6
Central Florida 11-7
Memphis 9-9
UConn 9-9
Tulsa 8-10
Temple 7-11
East Carolina 6-12
Tulane 3-15
South Florida 1-17

Tournament format:
All 11 travel to Hartford, because UConn wields might power in this conference because they frankly deserve to.  Thursday March 9 to Sunday March 12.

The matchups:
1) SMU vs. 8/9) Temple/East Carolina
4) Central Florida vs. 5) Memphis
3) Houston vs. 6/11) UConn/South Florida
2) Cincinnati vs. 7/10) Tulsa/Tulane

The stakes:
SMU and Cincy.  Can they get to the 4 line?  I don't like their chances, and it's likely they'll live in 5-7 line purgatory.  This conference tournament is the last one in the clubhouse, which means a potential SMU/Cincy final is meaningless.  Which means neither team can pick up a quality win in this tournament.  Which means they won't move up.

Houston is on the periphery of the bubble, but I'm not even sure a win over Cincy would be enough.  And then, you might as well win the thing once you get by Cincy.

Yes, this is a very boring conference to write up.  Just not a lot of variance in what will happen with these teams.  Memphis and UCF are probably going to miss the NIT bubble, and from what we know, everyone in this conference will skip the CBI/CIT.  This means 3 postseason teams out of 11 here, my God.

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