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AAC College Basketball Betting Odds & Analysis: Breaking Down Fight for League’s No. 2 Seed

AAC College Basketball Betting Odds & Analysis: Breaking Down Fight for League’s No. 2 Seed article feature image
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Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Kendric Davis (SMU)

With just a month remaining in the regular season, the AAC standings have begun to take form.

Houston has proven to be head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. The Cougars are -1200 favorites to win the regular season title despite losing an All-American guard in Marcus Sasser and an All-Conference wing in Tramon Mark.

The next seven teams are all fighting for tournament positions in hopes of extending their seasons to the Big Dance.


Houston’s Reign

Despite the injuries changing the overall landscape of Houston’s season, the cornerstones of the program have remained intact.

Kelvin Sampson’s group is still playing with relentless defensive pressure. The team owns a top-12 defensive efficiency ranking and has held its AAC foes to just 57 points per game.

Only one opponent (Alabama) has surpassed the 70-point mark against the Cougars’ defense in regulation all season.

The offense has also picked up the intensity and is persistent on snatching offensive rebounds at the third-highest rate in the country.

The group shoots 54% from the field, but on the rare miss, it extends the possession 38% of the time.

According to KenPom, four of the five All-Conference players are coming from the Houston program.

  • Josh Carlton (Houston — Senior)
  • Kendric Davis (SMU — Senior)
  • Fabian White Jr. (Houston — Senior)
  • Kyler Edwards (Houston — Senior)
  • Jamal Shead (Houston — Sophomore)

Sampson has had one of the best seasons of any coach in the country. Houston has won 17 of its games by double-digits, while covering in 64% of its 22 games.

It’s Houston’s conference, and everyone else is playing for second place.

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The Fight for the Second Seed

Houston is a virtual lock to win the regular season title and hold the first seed in the American Athletic Tournament.

Avoiding the Cougars until the conference tournament championship is crucial for each program.

Seven teams are currently fighting for the second and third seeds to make that a reality, and help their chances of becoming tournament eligible.

Team Overall Record Conference Record AdjEM % to Make Big Dance (TeamRankings)
Houston 20-2 9-0 28.29 100%
SMU 16-5 7-2 11.62 15%
Tulane 10-10 7-4 6.66 1%
Memphis 12-8 6-4 13.60 45%
Temple 13-8 6-4 3.46 1%
Cincinnati 15-7 5-4 9.91 4%
UCF 14-8 6-6 7.49 3%
Wichita State 12-9 3-6 10.03 5%
East Carolina 12-11 3-8 -1.12 0%
USF 7-14 2-7 -6.10 0%
Tulsa 7-15 1-10 -0.17 0%

SMU has caught fire, winning 14 of 15 during a stretch that has dated back to November. But the program just had a rude awakening against Wichita State, losing by 15 points on the road.

Kendric Davis is one of the top playmakers in the conference, but his supporting cast is the main question mark. The Mustangs face off against Houston on Wednesday, which will tell a lot about the progress the program has made this season.

Question marks continue to surround the Memphis program, as it’s rumored that Emoni Bates may be leaving the team for good.

That may not be the worse thing for the Tigers, as Bates hasn’t lived up to his preseason expectations. He’s averaging 10 points while shooting 39% from the field and turning it over 2.6 times per game.

His production surely wasn’t missed in the Tigers’ last game, as Memphis destroyed UCF, 88-60.

Temple and Tulane have exceeded expectations, and both have been profitable for bettors, going 26-15 against the spread. Both have benefited from a relatively easy conference strength of schedule, though, and will face tough competition down the stretch.

Temple is without Khalif Battle — who averaged over 21 points per game — for the rest of the season.

It’s tough to envision either of these programs making any real noise come AAC Tournament time.


Betting Value: Home/Away Splits

Something to keep your eye on during the final month of the season is home court advantage.

With matchups starting to have a bigger impact on the final standings down the stretch, it’s easy to expect some rowdy crowds from the competitive programs.

Home teams have dominated in the AAC this season. The top nine teams in the league have gone 87-24 SU when playing at home, while the bottom three teams have gone just 2-20 SU when playing in their home arenas.

Team Home Record Away Record
Houston 12-0 7-1
SMU 11-0 5-3
Tulane 7-3 2-5
Memphis 9-2 3-5
Temple 8-3 4-3
Cincinnati 11-3 4-3
UCF 10-3 4-5
Wichita State 9-5 2-3
East Carolina 10-3 1-7
USF 6-5 1-6
Tulsa 6-7 0-7
Overall 99-34 33-48

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