Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

AAC men's basketball struggles in postseason

Although the Memphis Tigers missed both the NCAA tournament, and the NIT for the second consecutive year, the American Athletic Conference managed to have four teams—UConn, Temple, Cincinnati and Tulsa—selected to represent the conference in the Big Dance, while Houston made it in to the NIT.

Here is a look a look at the how the AAC teams faired in the postseason:


After getting trounced by Memphis 89-67, it was a big surprise the Golden Hurricane’s name was called on Selection Sunday. Tulsa was selected to play as an 11-seed in one of the First Four play-in games.

They drew a very tough matchup against fellow 11-seed, Michigan Wolverines. Despite a stellar 23-point performance from senior guard Shaquille Harrison, Tulsa could not stop Michigan’s spread out attack. Four different Wolverines scored double figures, including 16 apiece for guards Zak Irvine and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rhakman. The Wolverines advanced to the Round of 64 with the 67-62 victory over Tulsa.


The AAC‘s regular season champion entered the tournament as a 10-seed against the 7-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes. Unanimous All-AAC first team selection Quenton DeCosey lived up to the honor, dropping 26 points and eight rebounds on the Hawkeyes. Josh Brown added 16 points and Jaylen Bond finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds for the Owls, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the victory. Temple, who only got five points from its bench, fell in the Round of 64 to Senior forward Jared Uthoff (23 points and five rebounds) and the Hawkeyes, 72-70.


Like it’s AAC counterparts, Cincinnati drew a very tough first matchup in the tournament. The Bearcats, a 9-seed, had to face a talented and underrated St. Joseph’s squad at the 8-seed in the Round of 64.

The Bearcats shot very well against the Hawks, connecting on 50.9 percent of their shots from the field and 41.7 percent from behind the arc. Freshman forward Jacob Evans led all scorers with 26 points and added nine rebounds as well. Forward Coreontae DeBerry finished with 18 points and guard Farad Cobb added 12 points as well for Cincinnati.

The Bearcats were leading the Hawks until senior forward Isaiah Miles hit the go ahead three with only nine seconds left. Cincy had a chance to tie, but their made-dunk attempt was waved off at the buzzer. Miles finished with 19 points and forward DeAndre Bembry led St. Joe’s past the Bearcats with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists.


UConn entered the NCAA Tournament as the hottest AAC team by far, after winning the American Athletic Conference Tournament title over Memphis 72-58. The conference title didn’t gain much praise from the tournament selection committee, though. UConn was slated as the nine seed in the 8-9 matchup in the Round of 64 against Colorado.

The Buffaloes gave UConn all it could handle for the first 25 minutes of action, until the Huskies began to storm back. Athleticism and some deadly three-point shooting late in the game proved too much for the Buffs, as UConn became the sole team from the AAC to advance to the Round of 32 with the 74-67 win. Rodney Purvis led the way for the Huskies with 19 points and five rebounds.

UConn moved on to face the no. 1 overall seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the Round of 32 Saturday. Kansas, who was coming off a 105-79 rout over Austin Peay, was considered the most complete team in the country. Guards Sterling Gibbs (20 points) and Rodney Purvis (17 points) continued their strong play for the Huskies but the UConn front court was taken completely out of the game by Kansas, as Kentan Facey, Amida Brimah, Shonn Miller, Phillip Nolan and Steven Enoch combined for just six points and five rebounds.

The Huskies also struggled defensively, as they allowed the Jayhawks to shoot 49 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from behind the arc. Sophomore guard Wayne Selden Jr. finished with 22 points and seven rebounds and senior forward Perry Ellis added 21 points and eight rebounds for Kansas as well, shutting down any chance for UConn to make a run for the title like it did as a 7-seed in 2014.


Although Houston had a good regular season, its 72-69 loss to Tulane in the first-round of the AAC tournament kept the Cougars out of the Big Dance. Instead Houston was invited to play in the NIT as a 5-seed against 4-seed Georgia Tech.

The Cougars have been a strong offensive team all season long, but haven’t had that same kind of success defensively, which proved to be their weakness once again. The Cougars fell to the Yellow Jackets 81-62, as they allowed Georgia Tech to connect on 52.5 percent of its baskets from the field and 50 percent from three-point land. Three Yellow Jackets finished with double figures, including 20 points from senior guard Adam Smith. Devonta Pollard finished with 21 points on 10-17 shooting for Houston.

Conference Overview

After an up-and-down season, in which there was really no standout team (other than maybe SMU who was banned from postseason play), the American Athletic Conference’s postseason dreams ended early as expected. Although it’s hard to call this season a success for the conference, it was unexpected to have four teams make the NCAA Tournament’s field of 68, so it is certainly a year in which the conference can build on.

Similar Posts