If you haven’t been following college basketball this season, you may overlook the American Athletic Conference. This conference has teams that could go toe to toe with the blue bloods of the major conferences. Houston is a legitimate National Champion contender. They locked up the regular season AAC title and a #1 seed in the conference tournament on Sunday with a win over Cincinnati. Cincy is a top 25 team that ranks 9th in the nation in opponents points per game. UCF is essentially a lock to make the NCAA tourney with 7’6 Center Tacko Fall. Temple beat the UCF Knights over the weekend and helped their chances as a bubble team to receive an at-large bid. Memphis is a scrappy team that has played well and is only going to get better with the top recruit in the nation heading to the Tigers roster next season.
The AAC has NBA talent. They have strong inter-conference competition. They’ve won some games out of conference. They even have the tallest player in the NCAA. This league is legit.
March 14-17 In Memphis, TN @ FedEx Forum
- Houston +140
- Cincinnati +250
- UCF +400
- Memphis +600
- Temple +1000
- Wichita State +2500
- SMU +5000
- South Florida +5000
- Tulsa +6000
- UCONN +6000
- East Carolina +20000
- Tulane +20000
The AAC tournament is one of the few tourneys that crown a champion on Selection Sunday. Since the conference isn’t a one bid league, this doesn’t really have much of an effect on the NCAA bracket. Both teams playing in this game will likely be receiving at-large bids.
Pick: Houston Cougars +140
I realize that +140 isn’t the most enticing number in the pre-tourney market. There are some really good teams in the top half of this conference, but for my money, the Houston Cougars are the pick here. I personally have Houston as a dark horse Final Four team, and the way they put Cincinnati away on Sunday proved that they are in full post season mode.
If they reach the AAC final, they will likely be a favorite against any team in the tourney. Having a ticket at plus money odds on a favorite in the championship game is worth the play here. Senior guards with experience on a team that plays stifling defense and pushes the ball up court is a scary team to face in March.
The play is on Houston for the AAC title, and don’t be shy on their futures in the National Championship market.