The American Today
∙ Both #17/21 SMU and #15/16 Cincinnati have clinched byes into the quarterfinals of the 2017 Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship. The Mustangs have also clinched being no worse than the number 2 seed for the championship.
∙ In then-#18/19 Cincinnati’s 80-60 victory over Tulsa, head coach Mick Cronin collected his 300th career victory. Cronin is the active leader in wins among head coaches under the age of 45.
∙ Rallying for a 76-66 win at Houston, then-#19/23 SMU won its 20th game in its last 21. The Mustangs have sandwiched two 10-game winning streaks around a single loss in that span.
∙ UConn jumped into a tied for third in The American behind a 64-63 win at Temple. Jalen Adams’ layup with 2.9 seconds left sent the Huskies to their seventh win in the last eight games. Tied with Houston, the teams will meet on Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.
∙ UCF’s Matt Williams broke The American’s single-season record for three-pointers, hitting three at East Carolina to move his season total to 98. Williams broke the mark of 96, set by Houston’s Jherrod Stiggers in 2014-15. Also within striking distance of the previous record is Houston’s Damyean Dotson, who has 90 this season.
∙ Two of the nation’s five-longest active home court winning streaks are in The American. #15/16 Cincinnati has won 24 straight games at Fifth Third Arena, second-longest nationally, while #17/21 SMU owns a 20-game win streak at Moody Coliseum, tied for fourth-longest in the country.
∙ Through Feb. 19, six of the nation’s top 30 teams in field-goal percentage defense reside in The American (UCF – 35.9, 1st; Cincinnati – 37.5, 4th; East Carolina – 38.5, 7th; SMU – 38.7, 9th; UConn – 39.4, 14th; Houston – 40.3, 28th).
∙ Three American players were named as award finalists by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Jacob Evans II, Cincinnati (Jerry West Award); Dedric Lawson, Memphis (Karl Malone Award); Tacko Fall (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award).
∙ Fall is just off pace to break the NCAA single-season field-goal percentage record. Fall is currently hitting on 73.9 percent (136-of-184) of his attempts; the Division I record is 74.6 percent, set by Oregon State’s Steve Johnson (235-of-315) in 1980-81.
∙ The American Athletic Conference announced a title sponsor for its upcoming basketball championships. Frontier Communications will be the title sponsor of the American Athletic Conference’s 2017 men’s and women’s basketball championships. The 2017 Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship will be held March 9-12 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
∙ Dedric Lawson’s 34 career double-doubles are sixth among active NCAA Division I athletes and most among sophomores. With 17 double-doubles this season, Lawson is tied for sixth in the NCAA. Together with his brother, K.J., the Lawson’s have a combined 26 double-doubles this season.
∙ Tickets are now on sale to the 2017 Frontier Communications American Men’s Basketball Championship, which will run March 9-12, at XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Tickets are available online at www.xlcenter.com, in person at the XL Center box office, or by telephone at 877-522-8499.
∙ The American is one of the youngest conferences in the country, based upon percentage of returning possession-minutes. With only 47.7 percent of possession minutes back, The American ranks 31st among 32 conferences.
· The American Athletic Conference had five teams reach the 2016 postseason. UConn, Cincinnati, Temple and Tulsa were all NCAA Tournament participants, while Houston was selected for the NIT.
The four bids to the NCAA Tournament were the sixth-most among the 32 Division I conferences.
· Entering the 2016-17 season, the 11 men’s basketball coaches of The American have a combined 61 NCAA Tournament appearances as head coaches. The newest coach in the conference, Memphis’ Tubby Smith, leads the way with 18.
· American head coaches boast a combined five national championships (whether as head coach, assistant or player), 15 Final Fours, 23 Elite Eight appearances and 40 Sweet Sixteen appearances.
ThE SCHEDULE (all times eastern)
Tuesday, Feb. 21
East Carolina at Tulane* (ESPNU), 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 22
UCF at Temple* (ESPNU), 7 p.m.
UConn at Houston* (CBSSN), 9 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 23
Memphis at Cincinnati* (ESPN), 7 p.m.
USF at Tulsa* (ESPNews), 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25
SMU at UConn* (CBS), 12 p.m.
Tulane at Temple* (ESPNU), 12 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 26
#15/16 Cincinnati at UCF* (CBSSN), 3 p.m.
East Carolina at Tulsa* (ESPNU), 4 p.m.
Houston at Memphis* (CBSSN), 5 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 19
UConn 64, Temple 63*
Saturday, Feb. 18
#18/17 Cincinnati 80, Tulsa 60*
Tulane 94, USF 71*
UCF 61, East Carolina 68*
#19/23 SMU 76, Houston 66*
Thursday, Feb. 16
UConn 65, Memphis 62*
Wednesday, Feb. 15
East Carolina 78, Temple 64*
#18/17 Cincinnati 68, USF 54*
#19/23 SMU 80, Tulane 75*
Tuesday, Feb. 14
UCF 71, Tulsa 53*
* – American Athletic Conference game