The 2016 American Athletic Conference Tournament gets underway on Thursday from the Amway Center in Orlando, and figures to be full of entertaining and interesting matchups.
The biggest what-if here is SMU. The Mustangs received a postseason ban in September 2015 over academic misconduct. SMU still finished the season with the best overall record in the American at 25-5, and would've been the No. 2 seed with a 13-5 conference record if they were eligible. However, their absence is a boon to the rest of the field.
Chances are good that the American gets more than one bid, despite SMU's absence from the field this year. The quarterfinal game between Cincinnati and Connecticut is absolutely massive for those two schools' at-large chances. As the regular season champion, Temple is looking good for a bid, and the Owls-- as well as Cincinnati and UConn -- made the field in SB Nation's most recent bracket projections. Tulsa was one of the first four out. Naturally, these things can and will change as other conference tournaments finish and the bubble shrinks.
The four lowest seeded teams have to start in the first round, in this case being No. 8 East Carolina vs. No. 9 South Florida and No. 7 UCF vs. No. 10 Tulane. The winners of those two games advance to the quarterfinals, where the six highest seeds will start. The winner of those two first round games will play the top two seeds, No. 1 Temple and No. 2 Houston.
8. East Carolina
9. South Florida
Schedule and results (all times Eastern)
Thursday, March 10 (First Round)
Game 1: No. 9 South Florida 71, No. 8 East Carolina 66
Game 2: No. 10 Tulane 65, No. 7 UCF 63
Friday, March 11 (Quarterfinals)
Game 3: No. 1 Temple 79, No. 9 South Florida 62
Game 4: No. 5 Connecticut 104, No. 4 Cincinnati 97 (4 OT)
Game 5: No. 10 Tulane 72, No. 2 Houston 69
Game 6: No. 6 Memphis 89, No. 3 Tulsa 67
Saturday, March 12 (Semifinals)
Game 7: No. 5 Connecticut 77, No. 1 Temple 62
Game 8: No. 6 Memphis 74, No. 10 Tulane 51
Sunday, March 13 (Championship)
Game 9: No. 5 Connecticut vs. No. 6 Memphis (3:15 p.m., ESPN)
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