It'll be interesting to see how competitive this conference is top to bottom. The conference is certainly top heavy with Louisville, Connecticut, Memphis and Cincinnati as the four best teams. (Note: this conference has an eerily similar feel to the early 2000's conference USA) but squads like Houston, SMU and Central Florida could potentially be decent.
G - Russ Smith, Louisville (2012 stats: 18.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.9 apg, 41% shooting)
G - Shabazz Napier, UCONN (2012 stats: 17.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 4.4 rpg, 44% shooting)
G - Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati (2012 stats: 17 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 apg, 40% 3PT shooting)
F - Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (2012 stats: 5.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 58% shooting)
F - Chane Behanan, Louisville (2012 stats: 9.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.1 apg, 51% shooting)
G - Isaiah Sykes, Central Florida (2012 stats: 16 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 46% shooting)
G - Joe Jackson, Memphis (2012 stats: 13.6 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.3 rpg, 52% shooting)
G - Ryan Boatright, UCONN (2012 stats: 15.4 ppg, 4.4 apg, 2.9 rpg, 43% shooting)
F - TaShawn Thomas, Houston (2012 stats: 16.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, 55% shooting)
F - DeAndre Daniels, UCONN ( 2012 stats: 12.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 57% shooting)
G - Chris Crawford, Memphis (2012 stats: 10.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 43% shooting)
G - Geron Johnson, Memphis (2012 stats: 10.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 44% shooting)
G - Michael Dixon Jr., Memphis (2011 stats (at Missouri): 10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 39% 3pt shooting)
F - Jalen Jones, SMU (2012 stats: 14 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1 apg, 51% shooting)
F - Victor Rudd, South Florida (2012 stats: 12.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 apg, 39% shooting)
G - Luke Hancock, Louisville
G - Chris Jones, Louisville
G - Omar Calhoun, UCONN
G - Myles Mack, Rutgers
G - Keith Frazier, SMU
G - Anthony Collins, South Florida
F - Danuel House, Houston
F - Anthony Lee, Temple
F - Titus Rubles, Cincinnati
F - Tristan Spurlock, Central Florida
Predicted Order of Finish:
5) Central Florida
10) South Florida
Top 5 Newcomers:
1) Michael Dixon Jr., Memphis
2) Chris Jones, Louisville
3) Keith Frazier, SMU
4) Jermaine Lawrence, Cincinnati
5) Kuran Iverson, Memphis
Overlook: The newly formed AAC, not to be confused with the ACC, has a hodgepodge of teams from former conferences including the Big East, Conference USA, and the Atlantic 10. It's a cozy little conference with 10 teams making up the group. There are four good teams, (UConn, Memphis, Louisville, and Cincinnati), with the Cardinals being potentially the best in the nation and 3 teams with potential to surprise us (SMU, Houston, UCF) and 3 teams that will probably finish below .500 (Rutgers, USF, Temple). It should be a very interesting season for the diverse conference which represents teams in the following states: Texas, New Jersey, Kentucky, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee. As you can see - no geographical wherewithal was present during the creation of this conference. The non-revenue sports sure do suffer (Track, swimming, golf, etc.) But as long as football and basketball are happy, who cares right?!
Top Shooter: Luke Hancock, Louisville
Best Playmaker: Russ Smith, Louisville
Most Intriguing: Danuel House, Houston
Most Versatile: Isaiah Sykes, South Florida
Has to carry his team: Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Top NBA Prospect: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
Most Underrated: Chris Crawford, Memphis
Boom or Bust: Shabazz Napier, UCONN
MVP: Russ Smith, Louisville
Top Coach: Rick Pitino, Louisville
Can't wait! It's a heck of a conference this year. One magazine has the AAC as the fourth best conference.
I wish Louisville would have stayed. The conference could have been a perennial power house.
The best newcomer might be Austin Nichols at Memphis, a springy power forward with good hands who can rebound.
Memphis should get to the Sweet 16 this year. If not I will consider it a disappointment. Louisville looks like at least an Elite 8
team even though they lost Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng.
The tournament championship will be in Memphis this year. Wouldn't mind going to that.