Current AAC Conference Win Odds: Updated 02/25/21
|Wichita State Shockers||+1100||+1200|
|South Florida Bulls||+1500||+2500|
|Tulsa Golden Hurricane||+1500||+4000|
|East Carolina Pirates||+4000||+10000|
|Tulane Green Wave||+10000||+15000|
The Houston Cougars wouldn’t quite be compared to Secretariat or American Pharoah in terms of horses for the AAC Conference Tournament, but they are clearly the best of the bunch as the tournament in Fort Worth looms on the horizon.
The most resistance is likely to come from Memphis or SMU, as the odds correctly show. Memphis has spent time as the top defensive team in the nation per the metrics this season and has been extremely stout with guarding both the two-point shot and the three-point line. Memphis has been in the top five in 3P% defense throughout most of the season and especially here in AAC play.
SMU and Wichita State are better offensive teams than the Tigers, but aren’t as stout defensively, though SMU has been a top-10 defense in 2P% for a long part of the year. Because of that defensive prowess and a little bit of extra offensive punch, it is the Mustangs that are the second favorite in the upcoming conference festivities.
As far as Wichita State goes, the Shockers have won a lot of close games this season and there are not many people convinced that the profile of this team is a good one.
The way things are likely to set up, Wichita State would have to upset Houston before even getting to the Finals because they appear likeliest to draw the #4 seed. You always want to consider seeding in these conference tournament formats. SMU and Memphis will probably be on the bottom of the bracket and play in the semifinals, but wouldn’t run into the unquestioned best team in the conference until the Championship Game.
Long shots are where you can usually make your money with conference futures because hedging opportunities are available in the bracket format, but in this top-heavy conference, it is hard to see any of the teams at 25/1 or higher emerging from the pack.
Cincinnati’s improved play has caught some eyes and you can see that they were more like 9/1 to win the conference at the outset, but the path will be too tough for them.
Houston should win the conference, but Memphis’s stellar defense could be enough to sweep in and take down the auto bid.
AAC Conference History:
The American Athletic Conference, also known simply as the AAC, consists of 12 teams and was created in 2013 after the splitting of the original Big East Conference. Every year, the conference’s men’s basketball teams play out their 20-game regular-season schedule before competing in the AAC Men’s Basketball tournament. Seedings for this single-elimination tournament are determined by the regular season standings. The winner of the AAC tournament earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball tournament.
Being a relatively new conference, the AAC isn’t exactly steeped in history although many of the schools are. The Cincinnati Bearcats have won the past two AAC men’s basketball tournaments. They defeated the Houston Cougars in the finals in 2018 and 2019. SMU won it in 2015 and 2017 while Louisville and Connecticut have also won titles. Coincidentally, UConn and Louisville no longer sponsor men’s basketball teams in the American. After playing the role of bridesmaid for two straight years, Houston is the favorite to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Win Count All-Time in AAC Tournament: