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Conference Tournament: AAC

The college basketball regular season is nearly over and that means one thing:
Shaq Goodwin
March Madness is nearly here. But, we still have a week and a half until Selection Sunday and a number of bubble teams need strong conference tournament outputs to sneak into the Field of 68. The new-look American Athletic Conference has been solid this year and has seen a real surprise in Larry Brown's SMU while Louisville, Cincinnati and Memphis still look like the teams to beat.

Bubble Teams: None, every single tournament team appears to be set: SMU, Louisville, Memphis, Cincinnati and UConn to the Big Dance. Houston may be able to see the NIT or another postseason tourney.

First Round:
8 UCF 79
9 South Florida 71
The only hope for the Golden Knights to make a run in this tournament is a huge set of games from do-it-all senior Isaiah Sykes, who leads the team in points, rebounds and assists per game. It should be enough to drown the Bulls who have one of the worst offenses in the entire nation.

7 Rutgers 65
10 Temple 60
Fran Dunphry's Owls are having a terrible year in their first out of the Atlantic 10 and things won't get easier against Myles Mack and the Knights who are a much deeper team.

4 SMU 70
5 Memphis 76
A few years ago it would have been pretty tough to imagine the Mustangs putting together this type of year. Against Joe Jackson, sophomore Shaq Goodwin and old Conference USA foe Memphis they should get a pre-NCAA tournament wake up call.

1 Louisville 82
8 UCF 66
Despite flu problems this whole week Russ Smith dominated SMU last night and the Golden Knights have nothing to counter sophomore Montrezl Harrell with inside.

2 Cincinnati 67
7 Rutgers 59
Outside of Sean Kilpatrick the Bearcats don't have much star power but they win on grit and tough defense. Rutgers gets a lot of garbage points; they shouldn't against Cincy in this one.

3 UConn 74
6 Houston 64
The Cougars have put together a solid year in their first out of the C-USA, thanks in large part to junior forward TaShawn Thomas (15.8 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game). But, a spotty defense will be pounded against Shabazz Napier who looks for a big finale in his last couple conference games with the Huskies.

1 Louisville 76
5 Memphis 80
The Cards were surprisingly swept in the season series of this matchup and will have all they can get from the Tigers. Memphis will need a big day off the bench from Michael Dixon and freshman Austin Nichols to stay out of foul trouble to take down Louisville.

2 Cincinnati 55
3 UConn 60
Mick Cronin's Bearcats played terrible in their last meeting with UConn, failing to show much competition. Unless they can find another shooter with Kilpatrick and stop Napier they could fall here.

5 Memphis 69
3 UConn 74
Could Napier have a Kemba Walker moment here? Lead this Huskies to a big tournament win and dominate while doing so? Maybe, but he needs help from DeAndre Daniels and an inconsistent frontcourt to get the job done.

AAC Winner: UConn
The Huskies have had a pretty consistent year in the AAC but they have yet to really break through. Napier, Daniels, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun, it is there time to make a statement in the AAC's inaugural conference tourney.

Note: All seeds projected none are concrete yet.


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