AAC Betting Notes
March 10, 2014
By Marc Lawrence
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AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
March 12-15 -- All games at FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN (home court of Memphis Tigers)
PROJECTED FINAL FOUR: LOUISVILLE, CINCINNATI, SMU, MEMPHIS
THE WAY WE SEE IT:
Made up mostly of members from the defacto Big East, the AAC performed admirably outside the conference in lined games versus on-board squads (57-34 SU and 45-45-1 ATS). Inside conference play the big money was taken down by big favorites (18-10-1 ATS -11.5 or more points) while teams with losing records had a difficult time winning back-to-back conference games, going just 3-6 SUATS off a win.
LOUISVILLE stands head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. The defending national champions won and covered all seven Big East tourney games the previous two campaigns and are 10-0 SU in conference tourney play as a #1 seed since 1993. That’s all you need to know. A wobbly 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS mark in games at Memphis looks scary, but double revenge from a pair of losses to the Tigers this season should serve as plenty of incentive.
CINCINNATI earned the #2 slot in this tourney thanks largely to a tough-as-nails defense (#9 Defensive Field Goal Percentage 39.1). As a result, the Bearcats have chewed up and spit out inferior opposition this season, going 16-0 SU versus sub .700 opponents – and that should find them in or around the title game the final weekend of the season. A glossy 15-4 SU and 13-5-1 ATS mark in conference tourneys versus 1-4 seeds should also serve them well.
Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs were arguably the surprise of the league this season. Behind 5 returning starters from last year’s 15-win unit, the Ponies elevated their play in Year Two behind the nomadic Brown. A 12-5 ATS mark in conference play at press time, coupled with a 6-1 ATS ledger in revenge games this campaign figures to make them a tough out. Granted, a dismal 1-8 SU and 2-6-1 ATS mark in the last nine conference tourneys sours that notion, but owning the nation’s top-ranked Defensive Field Goal percentage defense (36.9) trumps past history. Ironically, the Mustangs will open this event in the same venue where they closed the season last Saturday.
MEMPHIS is likely salivating, serving as the host in this inaugural AAC tourney. That’s because they are 17-0 SU at home in conference tournament play since 2005. Remember, though, they were the #1 seed in 14 of those games and while home teams are a lofty 292-105 SU in conference tourney action since 1991, they are only 25-35 ATS as dogs.
THE SLEEPER: CONNECTICUT
Off a one-year suspension, and after elevating the school’s mandated subpar APR academic marks, the Huskies are eligible for postseason play. Head coach Kevin Ollie, a former UConn point guard, knows the importance of conference games. That’s confirmed by his 21-12-1 ATS mark at press time as the head Husky, including 12-1 SU and 10-3 ATS versus sub .600 foes and 12-2-1 ATS in conference play with 3 or more days of rest. A jaw-dropping 8-0 ATS record in the last eight conference tourney games, and a 7-1 ATS dog log in the same versus foes off a win, makes fading this team virtually impossible. With 5 returning starters back from last year’s 20-win squad, they become dangerous dogs from this point forward.
KEY TOURNAMENT BEST BET: PLAY ON LOUISVILLE VS. MEMPHIS
As tough as Rick Pitino has been in the NCAA tourney, he’s even harder to handle in conference tournament play, going 30-8 SU and 30-15-1 ATS overall since 1991, including 15-1 SU and 10-5-1 ATS as a #1 seed, and 6-0 SUATS the last six games when playing with same-season revenge. The Tigers took the Cardinals out twice this season. Enough said.
EXTRA TOURNEY TRENDS & NOTES
CINCINNATI: 5-1 ATS dogs > 3 pts, 0-4 ATS off DD ATS win vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 1-5 ATS off DD SU win vs opp off DD SU and any ATS win, 1-4 ATS off SU loss vs opp w/revenge, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU loss, 1-4 ATS favs off SU loss
CONNECTICUT: 8-0 ATS as #9 seed, 8-0 ATS L8, 5-0 ATS vs #1 seed, 7-1 ATS dogs vs opp off SU win, 0-7 ATS w/3+ days rest vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 0-4 ATS off 3+ SUATS losses, 1-4 ATS off DD SU loss, 2-6 ATS 1st game
HOUSTON: 0-4 ATS L4 games, 1-6 ATS dogs w/3+ days rest, 1-4 ATS off SUATS loss vs opp off SU win, 1-3 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 2-7 ATS as #9 seed or lower, 2-5 ATS off BB SU losses, 3-7 ATS dogs > 7 pts
LOUISVILLE: 9-1 ATS favs off BB SU wins, 8-1 ATS vs opp off BB SU wins, 7-1 SUATS L8, 5-1 ATS vs #4 seed or higher, 6-1 ATS w/revenge, 9-2 ATS off DD SU win
MEMPHIS: 18-0 SU as #1 seed (7-1 ATS L8), 8-1 SUATS L9, 5-0 SUATS vs #2 seed, 4-0 ATS vs opp off BB SU dog wins, 10-2 ATS vs opp off BB SUATS wins, 2-7 w/3+ rest off BB SU wins
RUTGERS: 5-1 ATS vs #11 seed or lower, 4-1 ATS off DD SU loss, 4-1 w/3+ rest w/ revenge, 0-3 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 1-4 ATS as DD dogs
SMU: 0-6 ATS vs opp off SUATS win, 1-4 ATS dogs 10 < pts, 1-8 SU & 2-6-1 ATS all-time in tourney
UCF: 0-4 ATS off BB SU wins, 0-3 ATS vs #4 seed or higher, 1-4 ATS off DD SU win, 1-4 ATS as dogs, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU win
USF: 0-3 ATS vs #8 seed or higher, 1-4 ATS vs opp off SU win, 1-4 ATS as dogs, 1-4 ATS w/revenge
TEMPLE: 4-0 ATS favs vs opp off BB SU dog wins, 10-2-1 ATS vs opp off SU dog win, 7-2 ATS favs < 4 pts, 0-4 ATS w/same-season double revenge, 2-6 ATS dogs off BB SU wins
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