The 2019 American Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament kicks off on Thursday with four games. Houston is easily the favorite to capture the crown in Memphis as it looks like one of the top teams in the country. The Cougars are currently rank 11th in the Top 25 AP poll and ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects them as a 3 seed in the Big Dance. Like with all top tier teams in the nation, however, the conference tournament is often viewed as a glorified warm-up for the real deal. That opens the door for hungrier teams, who desperately need conference tournament wins to make the field of 68, to take down the big dogs.
Temple is actually a decent bet in this tournament at 10-1 given that they have a first round bye. Memphis, which has higher odds at 6-1, actually has to play on Thursday unlike the Owls – who will start up on Friday night.
The Owls need to at least win on Friday night to shore up a spot in the big tournament as Lunardi currently has them as one of the last four bye teams in the Big Dance and as an 11-seed.
In the ACC tourney, Temple will get the winner of Wichita State and ECU in the quarterfinals. The Owls won at Wichita State in overtime back on Jan. 6 and took down East Carolina on the road on Jan. 16.
Temple is also one of two teams this season to have beaten Houston as Quinton Rose pumped in 22 points in a 73-69 home victory back on Jan. 9.
Here are the AAC tournament odds.
Wichita State: 25-1
South Florida: 50-1
East Carolina: 200-1