AAC Conference Tournament Preview

The American Athletic Conference tournament kicks off tonight with a couple of games to find out who makes the 8 quarterfinalists. This has been a top heavy league all season. The top teams have dominated the bottom half of the league. The only wins the bottom has over the top were USF and Temple's wins over SMU and Houston's wins over UConn and Memphis. The top of the American wasn't really close either. Louisville swept Connecticut, who swept Memphis, who was swept by Cincinnati but swept Louisville, who swept SMU, who swept UConn.

This is a weird tournament because while there are 5 good options to win, there is one heavy favorite. That's the 2 seed Louisville. Louisville has crushed the top half of the bracket and look like a lock for the finals. Cincinnati has a potential first round game against a Temple team that played them very well twice, then a potential road game at Memphis or a rubber game against Connecticut.

Before we even get that far, let's look at the conference as a whole.

Points Per Possession – Offense

  1. 1.16 – Louisville
  2. 1.08 – Memphis
  3. 1.07 – Connecticut
  4. 1.06 – Cincinnati
  5. 1.04 – Houston
  6. 1.04- SMU
  7. 1.02 – Temple
  8. 1 – Rutgers
  9. 1 – UCF
  10. 0.95 – USF

Points Per Possession – Defense

  1. 0.91 – Louisville
  2. 0.94 – Cincinnati
  3. 0.96 – SMU
  4. 0.96 – UConn
  5. 1.02 – Memphis
  6. 1.11 – Rutgers
  7. 1.12 – USF
  8. 1.13 – Houston
  9. 1.14 – Temple
  10. 1.14 – UCF

Effective Field Goal % – Offense

  1. 54.9 – Louisville
  2. 54 – Memphis
  3. 52.1 – Houston
  4. 51.6 – SMU
  5. 48.8 – UConn
  6. 48.2 – Cincinnati
  7. 46.7 – UCF
  8. 46.1 – Rutgers
  9. 46.1 – Temple
  10. 44.3 – USF

Effective Field Goal % – Defense

  1. 43.8 – Louisville
  2. 44.6. – SMU
  3. 44.9 – Cincinnati
  4. 45.2 – UConn
  5. 47.6 – Memphis
  6. 50.9 – Houston
  7. 52 – Rutgers
  8. 52.9 – USF
  9. 53.7 – UCF
  10. 55.6 – Temple

Free Throw %

  1. 77 – UConn
  2. 74.4 – Temple
  3. 72 – Cincinnati
  4. 71.3 – Rutgers
  5. 69.5 – SMU
  6. 67.7 – USF
  7. 66.7 – Houston
  8. 65.9 – Memphis
  9. 65.3 – Louisville
  10. 64.3 – UCF

Offensive Rebound %

  1. 38.5 – UCF
  2. 35.5 – Cincinnati
  3. 34.6 – Memphis
  4. 34.2 – Louisville
  5. 33.1 – USF
  6. 33.1 – SMU
  7. 32.3 – Temple
  8. 31.9 – Rutgers
  9. 31.7 – UConn
  10. 29.5 – Houston

Defensive Rebound %

  1. 68.1 – Rutgers
  2. 68 – USF
  3. 67.6 – UConn
  4. 67.5 – Cincinnati
  5. 67.1 – Temple
  6. 66.7 – Memphis
  7. 66.1 – Louisville
  8. 65.9 – SMU
  9. 64.6 – Houston
  10. 64.1 – UCF

Turnover % – Offensive

  1. 16.2 – Temple
  2. 16.3 – Louisville
  3. 16.9 – UConn
  4. 17.8 – Cincinnati
  5. 18 – Rutgers
  6. 19.5 – Houston
  7. 19.6 – USF
  8. 19.9 – Memphis
  9. 20.7 – UCF
  10. 21.1 – SMU

Turnover % – Defensive

  1. 24.6 – Louisville
  2. 21.7 – SMU
  3. 20.7 – Cincinnati
  4. 19.9 – UConn
  5. 18.2 – Memphis
  6. 17.2 – Rutgers
  7. 16.7 – UCF
  8. 16.3 – Temple
  9. 16.2 – USF
  10. 14.7 – Temple

Here are the top 5 players in the categories to watch.

Minutes

  1. 38.2 – Dalton Pepper, Temple
  2. 37.4 – Quenton DeCosey, Temple
  3. 35.9 – Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
  4. 35.1 – Shabazz Napier, UConn
  5. 35 – Isaiah Sykes – UCF

Points

  1. 22.2 – Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
  2. 19.3 – Shabazz Napier, UConn
  3. 18.3 – Dalton Pepper, Temple
  4. 18 – Russ Smith, Louisville
  5. 17.9 – Isaiah Sykes, UCF

Possessions

  1. 32.7 – Isaiah Sykes, UCF
  2. 30.6 – Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
  3. 30 – Russ Smith, Louisville
  4. 28.8 – Shabazz Napier, UConn
  5. 27.7 – Victor Rudd, USF

Rebounding

  1. 8.6 – Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
  2. 8.2 – Isaiah Sykes, UCF
  3. 7.6 – Markus Kennedy, SMU
  4. 7.5 – Anthony Lee, Temple
  5. 7.4 – Titus Rubles, Cincinnati

Offensive Rebounding %

  1. 13.3 – Stephan Van Treese, Louisville
  2. 12.6 – Ben Moore, SMU
  3. 12.2 – Justin Jackson, Cincinnati
  4. 12.2 – Mark Williams, Temple
  5. 11.9 – John Egbunu, USF

Defensive Rebounding %

  1. 22.6 – Markus Kennedy, SMU
  2. 21.6 – Devontae Watson, Temple
  3. 21.2 – Victor Rudd, USF
  4. 18.9 – Titus Rubles, Cincinnati
  5. 18.8 – Kasey Wilson, UCF

Assists

  1. 5.9 – LJ Rose, Houston
  2. 5.1 – Joe Jackson, Memphis
  3. 4.7 – Shabazz Napier, UConn
  4. 4.7 – Nic Moore, SMU
  5. 4.7 – Russ Smith, Louisville

Assist / Turnover

  1. 3.2 – LJ Rose, Houston
  2. 2.5 – Terry Rozier, Louisville
  3. 2.5 – Jerome Seagears, Rutgers
  4. 2.3 – Brandon Morris, Houston
  5. 2.2 – Josh Heath, USF

Steals

  1. 2.3 – Chris Jones, Louisville
  2. 2.3 – Russ Smith, Louisville
  3. 1.8 – Markus Kennedy, SMU
  4. 1.8 – Justin Jackson, Cincinnati
  5. 1.8 – Shabazz Napier, UConn

Blocks

  1. 2.7 – Justin Jackson, Cincinnati
  2. 2.2 – Amida Brimah, UConn
  3. 1.9 – TaShawn Thomas, Houston
  4. 1.8 – Staphon Blair, UCF
  5. 1.6 – Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

Just for fun, here are how the teams fared against their first, and potential first, opponents.

#7 Rutgers 2-0 vs #10 USF (79-69, 74-73)

#9 UCF / #8 Temple 1-1 (78-76 UCF, 86-78 Temple)

#3 SMU 2-0 vs #6 Houston (75-68, 68-64)

#2 Louisville 2-0 vs #7 Rutgers (83-76, 102-54)

#2 Louisville 2-0 vs #10 USF (86-47, 80-54)

#1 Cincinnati 2-0 vs #8 Temple (69-58, 80-76)

#1 Cincinnati 2-0 vs #9 UCF (69-51, 77-49)

#4 UConn 2-0 vs #5 Memphis (83-73, 86-81)

Prediction: Louisville

Dark Horse: Memphis

Memphis is a dark horse in name only. They are playing the tournament at home, but they do play a pair of teams that swept them in the regular season.

Louisville is the heavy favorite in the league. They are one of the heaviest favorites in any league in the country believe it or not. This seems like their tournament to win. With the way they have been playing, it would be surprising if they didn't make the finals easily. A final game against Cincinnati would be great.

Scott

About Scott

I write Bearcats Blog and also on the Student Section.

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