Feb. 10, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -
At the first American Athletic Conference men’s basketball media day in October of 2013, the Conference’s ten head basketball coaches were unanimous in their belief that The American would be one of the nation’s top conferences.
The American now has five teams – half of the league’s membership – ranked in the top 25 of this week’s Associated Press poll, including the University of Connecticut at No. 24.
The 10-team American Athletic Conference is tied with the 12-team Big Ten for the most teams from any one conference.
UConn has posted wins over No. 3 Florida, Memphis and Indiana this season.
Cincinnati is the highest-ranked of the American teams as the Bearcats check in at No. 10. Louisville, which has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP poll and No. 2 in the USA Today poll this year, is ranked No. 13. Memphis moved up to No. 20 following a strong nonconference win against then-No. 23 Gonzaga Saturday.
SMU made headlines Monday as the Mustangs cracked the top 25 for the first time since March 12, 1985. Larry Brown’s squad stands at No. 23 this week after SMU handed Cincinnati its first conference loss Saturday, improving the Mustangs to 19-5 on the year.
“Having five top-25 teams from a 10-team league is certainly great news for the American Athletic Conference,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “I congratulate our teams on their accomplishments thus far. This is further evidence of how far we have come as a conference in less than a year and I applaud our coaches and players for the level of competition our conference has enjoyed all season.”
“I’m excited for the league having five teams ranked, but it’s not a surprise to me,” said Memphis coach Josh Pastner. “Since the preseason, I’ve said numerous times that The American is one of the top two to three leagues, top-to-bottom, in the country, and this week’s poll shows the quality of depth the league has.”
“It’s great that our conference is being recognized throughout the country for the terrific season it’s having,” said UConn coach Kevin Ollie
. “We’ve known since the conference games began that there are no easy games in The American, especially on the road. I’m glad people realize how many good teams we have in the league.”
The American has had multiple teams ranked in every AP poll this season and has had at least three top-25 teams in all but one poll. The early success in men’s basketball continues an impressive debut season for The American, which had two football teams (UCF, Louisville) ranked in the top 15 of the AP and USA Today polls and has two teams (UConn, Louisville) in the top four of the AP women’s basketball poll.
AP Top 25 Teams By Conference
Big Ten 5
Big 12 3
Big East 2
Atlantic 10 1
Missouri Valley 1
Mountain West 1