- The AAC Tournament will be held from March 12-15 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas
- Houston opened as the slight favorite after tying Cincinnati and Tulsa for the regular-season title
- See the full field odds and the best bet to earn the automatic NCAA Tournament bid below
The 2020 AAC Tournament looks to be a wide-open affair.
Houston is the favorite after tying top-seeded Cincinnati and Tulsa for the regular-season title. However, four teams opened with odds of +450 or shorter: Houston, Cincinnati, Wichita State, and Memphis.
The tournament begins Thursday (March 12) at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, with four first-round games.
Odds to Win 2020 AAC Tournament
|Team||Odds at BetOnline|
Odds taken March 9, 2020.
The opening round features the following matchups #5 UConn (19-12) vs #12 Tulane (12-18), #6 Memphis (21-10) vs #11 East Carolina (11-20), #7 SMU (19-11) vs #11 Temple (14-17), #8 UCF (16-14) vs #9 South Florida (14-17).
In the quarterfinals on Friday (March 13), it will be #1 Cincinnati (20-10) vs the UCF-South Florida winner, #2Houston (23-8) against the SMU-Temple winner, #3 Tulsa (21-10) facing the Memphis-East Carolina winner, and #4 Wichita State (23-8) meeting the UConn-Tulane winner.
The semifinals will be played Saturday (March 14) and the final on Sunday (March 15).
Tiebreaker Favors Cincinnati
Cincinnati won three of its last four regular-season games and is led by senior guard Jarron Cumberland, who is averaging 15.5 points and 4.9 assists a game.
Jarron Cumberland will play his last home game at fifth third arena tonight. From start to finish, Cumberland’s career at Cincinnati has been filled with grit, toughness, and lethality. 1 AAC POY. 2 AAC Championships. Put simply, Jarron Cumberland was sent here to destroy you. pic.twitter.com/EDh7HriPMP
— Bearcats Mood (@BearcatsMood) March 7, 2020
Cumberland’s backcourt mate Keith Williams is scoring 12.6 per game. Senior forward Tre Scott is averaging a double-double with 11.4 points and 10.5 rebounds.
Houston Has Efficient Offense
Houston has split its last six games but finished the regular season on a good note with a 64-57 victory over visiting Memphis on Sunday (March 8).
The Cougars led the AAC in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 112.8 points per 100 possessions, a mark that ranks 22nd in the nation.
— Houston Men's Hoops 🏀 🐾 (@UHCougarMBK) March 9, 2020
Houston doesn’t have a go-to player on offense, though. Freshman guard Caleb Mills is averaging a team-leading 13.2 points per game and sophomore guard Quentin Grimes is at 12.1 PPG.
Houston is also the conference’s only ranked team as it is No. 22 in the latest Associated Press poll.
The Other Bye Teams
Despite sharing the regular-season AAC title, the oddsmakers don’t particularly like Tulsa’s chances. The Golden Hurricane finished the regular season with a clunker, a 79-57 loss at Wichita State, after winning four games in a row.
Senior forward Martins Igbanu is scoring 13.0 points and pulling down 5.0 rebounds a game. Junior guard Brandon Rachal averages 12.1 points and 5.8 rebounds.
The Golden Hurricane is American Athletic Conference Champions!
— Tulsa Basketball (@TUMBasketball) March 6, 2020
Including its rout of Tulsa, Wichita State has won three of its last four games as it heads to Fort Worth.
Senior center Jaime Echenique is a force inside for the Shockers as he is averaging 11.3 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Sophomore guard Erik Stevenson has an 11.1 scoring average.
Achiuwa leads Memphis
Memphis was the preseason favorite to win the AAC after coach Penny Hardaway brought in the top recruiting class in the nation. However, the Tigers suffered a major blow when freshman center James Wiseman played in just three games before being suspended by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits, and then left school before his suspension even finished.
Freshman forward Precious Achiuwa has been outstanding in Wiseman’s absence, though, scoring 15.8 points and grabbing 10.8 rebounds per game. He is almost certainly a one-and-down.
Two other frosh, forward D.J. Jeffries (10.8) and guard Lester Quinones (10.7), also have double-digit scoring averages and could be short timers at Memphis.
The Tigers lead the conference with an 89.1 adjusted defensive efficiency, which is fifth in the country.
Here Comes UConn
UConn has missed the last three NCAA Tournament, which seems like an eternity for a program that won three national championships in a 15-year span from 1999-2014.
However, the Huskies have come on strong with five straight victories to end the regular season. Coach Dan Hurley’s team might just be a handful in this tournament.
Senior guard Christian Vital is one of the AAC’s top players, averaging 16.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 steals a game. Guard James Bouknight has had a fine freshman season and carries a 13.0 scoring average.
Special team. Special season.
— UConn Men's Basketball (@UConnMBB) March 6, 2020
This tournament is very intriguing and looks like it will be a lot of fun with plenty of close games. Trying to pick a winner kind of feels like a dart throw.
Houston, despite some late-season struggles, is slightly better than the rest of the field with its efficient offense and strong work on the boards.
The pick: Houston (+200)
SBD’s NCAA conference tournament coverage:
- Opening Big East Tournament Odds Project Chaos Filled Week at MSG
- Colgate Team to Beat in Patriot League Tournament Opening Odds
- 2020 NEC Tournament Opening Odds
- 2020 Summit League Tournament Opening Odds
- America East Tournament Opening Odds Favor Vermont by a Huge Margin
- 2020 MEAC Tournament Opening Odds
- SEC Tournament Opening Odds List Kentucky as +150 Favorite; Auburn +275
- Florida State Favored in ACC Tournament Opening Odds; Duke +200, Louisville +275
- Texas State Favored in Sun Belt Conference Tournament Opening Odds
- MAC Tournament Opening Odds Favor Akron at +145; Ball State at +360
Let's have fun and keep it civil.