Here is is. The grand-daddy of the Mid-Majors. Teetering dangerously close to becoming the what gives us the “Power-7”, the American is a multi-bid league year-in and year-out and the only conference I’ll touch on with TWO ranked teams. I did end up betting the AAC a fair amount this season to varying results, although I did end up in the black over the course of 14 wagers. Competition was fierce here last year, with three ranked teams, but Cincy got it done in a tightly contested final with Houston before having their 30-win season ended too early by Nevada.
When and Where: March 14th-17th, at the FedEx Forum in Memphis
Defending Champ: Cincinnati Bearcats
Who’s Good: Houston, Cincinnati
Who’s Sneaky: UCF, Temple
Who Stinks Out Loud: Tulane has lost 20 straight games. Twenty.
Coolest Team Nickname: Tulsa’s Golden Hurricane. This has always sounded slightly dirty to me. Like a pee-storm.
Seeding and rules: All 12 teams participate, with four preliminary matchups to set-up the quarterfinal games. The whole damn thing is neutral site.
Side Note: While in other cases I pointed out that a tournament was played in the same town but a different arena, in this particular case, this IS the home arena for the fifth seeded Memphis Tigers.
Multi-Bid League: Absolutely. Very likely the top four teams get in, with an outside shot of a fifth if things shake out properly and Memphis can make a run in this tourney.
Breakdown: After seeing Gonzaga play last night, I’m wondering if there is something to a “motivation-vaccuum” for teams that know they are guaranteed a spot in and already have a trophy case full of conference titles. I don’t think you’ll find a bracketologist out there who wouldn’t have the top four teams locked in for next week, which creates a problem in trying to fade said teams. There are just too many of them. I’d say the most motivated team has to be Memphis. At home, and clearly on the wrong side of the bubble, not even sure a run to the finals gets it done, they may need to win the whole thing to get in.
My Pick(s): I think Cincy and Houston’s prices should be much nearer each other, and my model backs me up. I show some value on Memphis and that’s without taking the home court into account, but at the same time, my spreadsheet hasn’t seen the draw. Tough cookies for the Tigers having to go through UCF and Houston to reach the final, just don’t think the number is big enough for me there. Finally, while I don’t rank UCF as high as their odds imply, I recommend watching them. It’s always fun to see an eight foot tall human just making a mockery of smaller men.
For the third and hopefully final time in this series, I remind you to shop around. While it takes a few moments, sometimes you stumbled upon a gem. While the first four books I checked had Cincy at offered +250/+225/+255/+260, the final tab I had opened to check had a very sexy +359 waiting for me.
Cincinnati +359 (0.5x) Bookmaker