2019 AAC Tournament Odds: Houston Listed as Favorite

Corey Davis Jr
Keith Williams and the rest of the Cincinnati Bearcats will have their hands full with Corey Davis Jr. and the Houston Cougars. Photo courtesy Twitter (@HoustonUnvrz)
  • The top-seeded Houston Cougars are favored to win the AAC tournament
  • Defending champion Cincinnati Bearcats are the two seed
  • Cincinnati beat Houston in the 2018 AAC tournament championship game

The stage is set to deliver a crowning achievement for the Houston Cougars (29-2, 16-2 AAC).

They’ve been the cream of the crop in the AAC all season long and they will enter the AAC tournament as both the No. 1 seed and the favorites to win it all.

Both MyBookie and BetOnline are backing the Cougars to take the title.

Odds To Win 2019 AAC Men’s Basketball Tournament

Team  2019 AAC Tournament odds at BetOnline  2019 AAC Tournament odds at MyBookie
Houston +125 +110
Cincinnati +250 +260
UCF +475 +490
Temple +700 +770
Memphis +800 +820
Wichita State +1600 +2400
Tulsa +5000 +7000
UConn +5000 +4600
South Florida +5000 +7500
SMU +5000 +4400
Tulane +6600 +16500
East Carolina +20000 +14100

*All odds from March 11.

The 11th-ranked Cougars went 16-2 in AAC play and are 29-2 overall this season.

Last year, Cincinnati defeated Houston 56-55 in the AAC tournament final. If the chalk holds, they’ll meet again in the 2019 title game.

2019 AAC Tournament Bracket

AAC tournament bracket
AAC tournament bracket

Cougars On The Prowl

With the conference regular-season title on the line last weekend at Cincinnati, the Cougars skulked into town and rolled the Bearcats 85-69 right on their home court.

It was the first conference title won by a Houston basketball team since 1991-92, when the Bo Outlaw-led Cougars captured the Southwest Conference title.

Houston’s stars came to the fore in the quest for the school’s latest conference regular-season title. Corey Davis Jr. poured in a career-high 31 points and Nate Hinton pulled down a career-best 11 boards. The Cougars ended a 16-game losing streak at Cincinnati and swept the season series from the Bearcats.

In doing so, the Cougars also went one step better than the best team in school history. Their 29 wins were a new school record, surpassing the 28 wins posted by the 28-0 Elvin Hayes-led Cougars in 1967-68.

The Cougars are one of eight NCAA teams rated among the top 20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency by KenPom. Since 2002, every NCAA champion but one (2014 UConn) has rated in the top 20 in each of these categories during their championship season.

Any Bearcat Love Out There?

Cincinnati (25-6, 14-4 AAC) is the defending AAC tournament champion. The Bearcats have played in the last two AAC tournament finals. But they also closed out the season with consecutive losses.

Houston dealt Cincinnati its most one-sided loss since a 75-59 setback Feb. 10, 2015, at Temple. On their home court, it was the Bearcats’ worst defeat since a 68-47 thumping by VCU on Dec. 20, 2014.

Past AAC Tournament Champions

Year ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions
2014 Louisville
2015 SMU
2016 Connecticut
2017 SMU
2018 Cincinnati

The Bearcats are still No. 24 in the AP poll, but they will head into the AAC tournament off consecutive losses. Cincinnati is also 0-4 this season against ranked teams.

Is UCF A Sleeper?

Central Florida (23-7, 13-5 AAC) sent ripples of shock and awe through the AAC on March 2 when the Knights stunned the Cougars 69-64, getting 21 points from Collin Smith. The win brought a halt to Houston’s 33-game home-court winning streak, which was the longest in the NCAA.

The No. 4 seed, a UCF/Houston rematch in the semifinals would be the destiny for both schools. It might be a better game than the final. But UCF may not get past the quarters thanks to a likely matchup with a Memphis team that will have home-court advantage.

Third-seeded Temple (23-8, 13-5 AAC) needs a strong showing in the tournament in order for the Owls to strengthen their NCAA Tournament bid hopes. Temple was the other team to beat Houston this season (73-66 in Philadelphia).

Another squad to watch is the Wichita State Shockers (17-13, 10-8 AAC). The sixth-seeded Shockers suit up eight freshmen and 10 newcomers.

They’re a team that started the season 1-6 and closed out the season 9-2. They’ve clearly grown as the year has gone on, and figure to be a tough out for any opponent.

As alluded to above, the tournament is being played at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Home cooking could be of assistance to coach Penny Hardaway and the 5th-seeded Tigers.

If Memphis gets past Tulane in the first round, UFC awaits in the quarterfinals. They actually project to be small favorites in that game and they already crushed UCF by 20 on their home court in late January (77-57).

Memphis has only lost two games at home all year: 102-92 to Tennessee and 69-64 to Cincinnati.

Houston Should Have No Problem

Really, unless UCF has another surprise in store for Houston, the Cougars should charge through the AAC tournament and position themselves well to grab a top-three seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson has turned this program back into the powerhouse they once were and is a strong candidate for National Coach of the Year recognition. He’s currently a semifinalist for the award.

In the regular season finale, Houston put up 44 points in the final 13 minutes against Cincinnati, outscoring the Bearcats 44-22, and Cincinnati is supposed to be the second-best team in the conference.

The 25-6 Bearcats have been to the last eight NCAA Tournaments and figure to be going to number nine, but this time, they won’t be doing so as AAC tournament champions.

That honor will be bestowed upon the Cougars.

SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:

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