AAC Tournament Bracket released, WSU earns 6-seed

Feb, 9, 2019; Wichita, Kansas, USA; during the game between Wichita State and Tulane at Koch Arena ©Kelly Ross

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AAC) – With its win at No. 20/19 Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon, No. 12/12 Houston claimed the outright American Athletic Conference regular season title and will be the No. 1 seed in the 2019 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, held March 14-17 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.

No. 1 Houston (29-2, 16-2 American) won its first conference regular-season crown since 1992. The nationally-ranked Cougars are one of only three two-loss teams in the country and are tied with Gonzaga for the best record in the nation. Houston has been a top-three seed in The American Championship in each of the past three seasons and will take on the winner of No. 8 Tulsa and No. 9 UConn on Friday, March 15 at noon ET/11 a.m. CT.

Cincinnati (25-6, 14-4 American) earns the No. 2 seed as the Bearcats have won at least 14 conference games in five of their six years in the league. UC also posted its third-straight season with at least 25 wins and begins tournament play on Friday, March 15 at 2 p.m., ET/1 p.m. CT, against the winner of No. 5 Memphis and No. 12 Tulane.

Temple (23-8, 13-5 American) claimed the No. 3 seed with a win over No. 25/rv UCF in the Owls’ regular-season finale. The Owls have posted their ninth 20-win season in 13 years under head Fran Dunphy are a top-three seed for the second time in The American. Temple awaits the winner of No. 6 Wichita State and No. 11 ECU on Friday, March 15 at 9 p.m. ET/10 p.m. CT.

No. 4 UCF (23-7, 13-5 American) clinched a bye earlier this week with a win over Cincinnati and matches its highest seed in American history as the Knights also were seeded No. 4 in 2017. The No. 25/rv Knights aim to advance to their second-ever semifinal appearance when they take on the winner of No. 5 Memphis and No. 12 Tulane on Friday, March 12 at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT.

No. 5 Memphis (19-12, 10-8 American) earned the fifth spot at the conference championship for the third-straight season, but this season will feature first-year head coach Penny Hardaway as well as the Tigers’ home court in FedExForum. The Tigers have won 19 games in each of the last three years and will look to reach 20 when they face No. 12 Tulane on Thursday, March 14 at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT.

No. 6 Wichita State (17-13, 10-8 American) enters the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the field as the Shockers have won nine of their last 11 games after starting conference play 1-6. Wichita State also has three wins on last second shots after its latest at Tulane in the regular-season finale. The Shockers take on No. 11 ECU in the first round on Thursday, March 14 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.

No. 7 Tulsa (18-13, 8-10 American) had a tune-up game at the FedExForum on Saturday and played the host Memphis Tigers to a three-point contest. The Golden Hurricane makes its return trip as the No. 7 seed against No. 10 SMU in a first-round matchup on Thursday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT.

No. 8 USF (19-11, 8-10 American) boasts one the nation’s best turnarounds with nine more wins overall, five more in conference play compared to last season. The Bulls played their last two games without starting point guard Laquincy Rideau who should be ready to make his return on Thursday, March 14 when USF faces No. 9 UConn in first game of the 2019 Championship at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT.

No. 9 UConn (15-16, 6-12 American) suffered through an injury-plagued season but got a huge boost in the return of Jalen Adams, who dished out 12 assists against ECU Sunday to become just the fourth American player to reach 500 career dimes. With the Huskies’ regular-season finale victory against the Pirates, UConn will take on No. 8 USF in the tip-off game of the tournament on Thursday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT.

No. 10 SMU (13-16, 6-12 American) also battled through injuries this season but with Jarrey Foster in the lineup the Mustangs were 9-4 overall. He made a second return from injury two games ago and helped SMU to a win Sunday in its regular-season finale at USF. The Mustangs take on No. 7 Tulsa on Thursday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT.

No. 11 ECU (10-20, 3-15 American) battled all season long with a young squad under returning head coach Joe Dooley and boasts an early-season conference win over No. 2 Cincinnati. Freshman Jayden Gardner is the only player in The American to rank in the top-10 in scoring and rebounding. The Pirates take on Wichita State in the final first-round matchup on Thursday, March 14 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.

No. 12 Tulane (4-26, 0-18 American) nearly earned its first conference win of the season on Saturday but a corner 3-pointer off an in-bounds play with 0.5 seconds left by Wichita State, spoiled a 36-point performance from sophomore Caleb Daniels. The Green Wave plays No. 5 Memphis on Thursday March 14 at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT.

Tickets for the 2019 championship can be purchased online at www.Ticketmaster.com, in person at the FedExForum box office or by calling 901-205-2525. All session passes are also still available.

Fans may visit [../AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/PSJJ33DY/www.TheAmerican.org/MBB]www.TheAmerican.org/MBB for the latest information on the 2019 championship.

2019 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP – FEDEXFORUM – MEMPHIS, TENN.

Thursday, March 14 - First Round

No. 9 UConn vs. No. 8 USF, 1 p.m. ET/noon CT (ESPNU)

No. 12 Tulane vs. No. 5 Memphis, 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT (ESPNU)

No. 10 SMU vs. No. 7 Tulsa, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT (ESPNU)

No. 11 ECU vs. No. 6 Wichita State, 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT (ESPNU)

Friday, March 15 - Quarterfinals

8/9 winner vs. No. 1 Houston, noon ET/11 a.m. CT (ESPN2)

5/12 winner vs. No. 4 UCF, 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

7/10 winner vs. No. 2 Cincinnati, 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT (ESPNU)

6/11 winner vs. No. 3 Temple, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CT (ESPNU)

Saturday, March 16 - Semifinals

Quarterfinal winners, 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

Quarterfinal winners, 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

Sunday, March 17 - Final

Semifinal winners, 3:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. CT (ESPN)